Product Reviews

Keep an Eye on Your Web Site in Real Time

IISTracer helps spot questionable activity fast.

If you'd like to monitor your Web site in real time, take a look at PSTRUH Software's IISTracer (see Figure). IISTracer is an ISAPI (Internet Services API) library that you load directly on your IIS server. If you're not familiar with ISAPI, this is a technology that gives you a chance to "hook" requests to your server before IIS processes them. An ISAPI DLL can either modify the HTTP requests (or even throw them away if they're deemed too dangerous to process) or pass them on intact to the rest of IIS.

IISTracer only looks at requests, without changing them. It sits unobtrusively in the background, monitoring traffic and displaying the current activity on screen. You can configure a variety of options, including a threshold for long-running requests so that the monitoring screen will show only files that are taking a long time to deliver. This can be an excellent way to find files on your site that are causing a performance problem. You can also log problem activity for future analysis.

In addition to giving you a feel for the patterns of activity on your server, IISTracer can be an effective way to spot an attack in progress. Spotting the pattern of unusual URLs sent by Code Red or a bunch of long-running connections in a denial-of-service attack may let you take immediate corrective action. Screentips on the IISTracer display even show you the HTTP headers sent to your server, so you can see which browsers your customers are using or which sites are sending traffic your way.

IISTracer provides real-time Web site monitoring, including a look at recently delivered pages and the HTTP headers that retrieved them. (Click image to view larger version.)

In my tests, IISTracer worked well and did exactly what it was advertised to do. I ran it on a live Web server, and from the outside you couldn't tell that anything was different. But from the inside, I suddenly had much more diagnostic information at my fingertips.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.


  • Surface and ARM: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Follow Apple's Lead and Dump Intel

    Microsoft's current Surface flagship, the Surface Pro X, already runs on ARM. But as the ill-fated Surface RT showed, going all-in on ARM never did Microsoft many favors.

  • IT Security Isn't Supposed To Be Easy

    Joey explains why it's worth it to endure a little inconvenience for the long-term benefits of a password manager and multifactor authentication.

  • Microsoft Makes It Easier To Self-Provision PCs via Windows Autopilot When VPNs Are Used

    Microsoft announced this week that the Windows Autopilot service used with Microsoft Intune now supports enrolling devices, even in cases where virtual private networks (VPNs) might get in the way.

  • Most Microsoft Retail Locations To Shut Down

    Microsoft is pivoting its retail operations to focus more on online sales, a plan that would mean the closing of most physical Microsoft Store locations.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.