Microsoft IIS: Configuring a Domain SSL Certificate

In a previous article, I explained how to host a second web site within IIS and how to configure the server bindings so that both sites (the new site and the default site) were able to listen on “Port 80”.

I would like to expand upon this by adding a Domain SSL Certificate to the server, so that traffic between our newly created web site and the client is encrypted.

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves that the address of the web site we created in the previous article is “http://8g7yf4j-www2” and the default web site is “http://8g7yf4j-win7” (yours may be different of course).


By the end of this exercise, we will have a secure site with an address of “https://8g7yf4j-www2” (note that the “http” prefix is now “https”).

The process is basically two stages:

  1. Create a new Domain SSL Certificate within IIS Manager
  2. Create a new “SSL” binding within IIS Manager

So, let’s get on with creating a new Domain Certificate that will be used to encrypt the traffic.


From within IIS Manager, select the server hosting the web site, and then click “Server Certificates”, and then “Create Domain Certificate”. It is important to select “Domain Certificate”, as it will automatically be trusted by all of the computers within the Domain Network.


Type the host name of the Web Site (8G7YF4J-WWW2) in the Common Name box, and pad out the remaining fields as necessary before hitting “Next”. Remember, this is the host name you entered in the the binding in the previous exercise (not the actual host name of your server).


On the “Certification Authority” screen, The Certificate Authority (in most cases) will be your Domain Controller, and the friendly name will again be your Host Name (8G7YF4J-WWW2). Click “Finish” to create the certificate. It is important that the Host Name stored within the Certificate matches the Web Address, otherwise you will receive a Certificate Error when you visit the Web Page.

The final step is to add a new Binding on Port 443 for the Web Site. You should be familiar with this process from the previous exercise.

IIS Bindings 009

The Details you need to enter into the Binding are shown in the table below.

Type https
Host Name 8G7YF4J-WWW2
SSL Certificate 8G7YF4J-WWW2


Make sure you select “https” as the type (and not “http”). Click “OK” when you are done, and note that you now have two bindings for your Web Site:

  1. Port 80 (Unencryped)
  2. Port 443 (Encrypted)


At this point, you can restart your web server (for good measure), and test the new certificate from a workstation by typing “https://8G7YF4J-WWW2” into a Web Browser.


After the page has loaded, you can click on the padlock icon and view the details of the certificate.


Microsoft IIS Bindings and Hosting Multiple Web Sites

This article covers the configuration of multiple web sites within a single installation of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). In order to do this, we need to establish an understanding of how “Bindings” work.

An “out of the box” installation of IIS will create a “Default Web Site” that listens on Port 80. This is the standard “listening” port on which web sites are hosted. In technical terms, we “Bind” the Default Site to Port 80.

IIS Bindings 001

If IIS is running on your network server, you can test the site from any workstation on the network by typing the “IP Address” or the “Host Name” of the Server into Internet Explorer. In my case, this is “” or “http://8g7yf4j-2012r2”.

IIS Bindings 002

This is all pretty straight forward so far. The situation becomes a little more complicated if you decide to host a second web site within IIS. Since the default Web Site is already “listening” on Port 80, it isn’t entirely obvious how we can run two web sites on the same server without moving one of the sites to a different port (such as 8080). This is where we need a little more knowledge of how to properly configure the bindings when we are running multiple sites.

To demonstrate this, we will go through the process of adding a second Web Site within IIS.

The first step is to create a new folder within “C:\inetpub\” to hold our Web Site assets. For convenience, I have named mine “www2root” (the default site is named “wwwroot”).

IIS Bindings 003

Now that we have created the (empty) folder, we can go ahead and choose “Add Website” from within IIS Manager. I used the following settings:

Site Name www2root
Physical Path c:\inetpub\www2root
Host Name Leave this blank!

IIS Bindings 005

Click “OK”, and you will receive a warning to the effect that you are trying to bind two web sites to the same port.

IIS Bindings 006

For the time being, we will accept this warning.

IIS Bindings 008

You can immediately see that our new web site is not running, and it cannot be started without first stopping the default web site. So, we need some mechanism by which IIS can differentiate between the two sites, and allow them to exist in harmony. The way that we do this is by utilising the “Host Name” field within the binding settings. You will hopefully recall that we left this entry blank in the previous step.

IIS Bindings 009

Choose “Edit Bindings” for the “www2root” web site and set the host name field to something other than the host name of your server. For example, the hostname of my server is “8g7yf4j-2012r2”, so I have set the value of the field within the bindings to “8g7yf4j-www2”. Click “OK” and “Close” when you are done.

Site Name www2root
Physical Path c:\inetpub\www2root
Host Name 8g7yf4j-www2

If you got everything correct, you should now be able to start both Web Sites.

IIS Bindings 011

There is now just one more task to perform. If we are going to use the “http://8g7yf4j-www2” host name to connect to the new site, we need to add this information to our LOCAL DNS Server as an Alias “CNAME” record. I’m not going to describe how to do this in detail (as it is beyond the scope of the article), but the information I entered in the DNS settings is shown below.

IIS Bindings 012

Alias Name www2root
FQDN (Target)

We should now be able to access both Web Sites from a Workstation Web Browser as follows:

IIS Bindings 002

IIS Bindings 013

You will most likely receive a “403: Access Forbidden” page when you try to load the new web site. This is purely because the web directory we created is empty, and so there is no content to display. If you wish, you can create a basic “index.html” file and place it within “c:\inetpub\www2root” to satisfy yourself that everything is working properly.

To summarise, if you wish to have multiple sites running within IIS, each site must have a unique binding (and appropriate CNAME entry within DNS).