Recently, we purchased Project Server 2003 with the view to improve the various project management tasks and activities that we have at the non-profit organization where I work.  Two weeks ago, I slated some time to install it on one of our servers running Windows 2K3.  We chose also to install Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) with Project Server in order to take advantage of the document collaboration and the issue tracking features that WSS has to offer.  Overall, the installation process was pretty straightforward.  The Project Server 2003 Installation Guide and this Project 2003 book that we have both give very detailed step-by-step instructions for the installation.  After completing the installation however, we soon discovered that with the Sharepoint Services installed, we had a difficult time running other web applications and web pages that were already on the server before the installation.  We kept getting the 404 File not found error (and sometimes also the 403 access forbidden error).  After some research on the web, we found out that WSS has some custom HttpHandlers that intercept all the browser requests through its ISAPI filter (I just found an excellent blog post explaining this behavior and this knowledge base article also addresses this issue)  In order to allow the pre-existing web applications to work, you have to tell WSS to exclude the paths to the IIS virtual directories hosting your other web applications when it’s handling all the incoming URLs.  You can configure the excluded paths in the Sharepoint Central Administration under Administration Tools (the detailed steps are outlined in the KB article and also mentioned in Maxim’s article).  However, I was not able to add the root directory of the web server in the excluded path.  Even though in Sharepoint Central’s Administration tool, under the “Add a new path” section, it says “Note: To indicate the root path for this virtual server, type a slash (/).”, it kept throwing an error when I tried adding the root path.  So if you need to have a web application/web site running at the root directory of your wwwroot, you may be pulling your hair out at this point.  We also found that we were not able to install/run Vault server on the same machine when Sharepoint Services is installed (even after we excluded the paths in WSS to Vault’s virtual directories).  After a few hours of trying different configurations in IIS (application pools, permissions…etc), we finally gave up.  I then came across this article where Robert advised to install WSS on a separate DNS Sub-domain (e.g. http://sharepoint.mydomain.com) to avoid all the problems that I just mentioned (see Tip#2 under Configuration in Robert’s article).  We gave that a try with the following steps (sorry for the verboseness for those who already know how to do this like the back of their hand): 

  1. In the DNS management console running on the domain controller (or wherever you are running the DNS Server), expand the Forward Lookup Zones folder, right click on the desired domain and select “New Host (A)”. 
  2. In the “New Host” window, put “sharepoint” as the new host name and also the IP address of the server where WSS is to be installed.  Click “Add Host”.
  3. From IIS 6 manager on the server where you plan to install Sharepoint Services, expand the server (local computer) tree, then right click on the “Web Sites” folder.  Select “New” and then “Web Site…”. 
  4. When the website creation wizard comes up, put “Sharepoint Services” for description, clicked “Next”.  Under “Host header for this Web site (Default None):”, put the sub-domain name for the WSS (in this example: sharepoint.mydomain.com).  Leave IP address as “(All Unassigned)” and TCP port as “80”, click “Next”.  Under “Enter the path to your home directory”, provide a path (e.g. C:\Inetpub\wss  If the directory hasn’t been created, create it now) to where the Sharepoint files will be stored when you extend the virtual server in WSS.  Click “Next” and then “Next” again.  Then you are done preparing the DNS and IIS. 

If you are running IIS 5 on a Windows 2000 Server, you can refer to this article on how to set up subdomains.  If you don’t have a DNS server, you can add an entry in the hosts file in your \winnt(or windows)\system32\drivers\etc directory:  127.0.0.1   Sharepoint.mydomain.com

(Note: instead of 127.0.0.1, you can also use the actual LAN IP address of the server where WSS is to be installed).

If you are running IIS 5 on Windows XP Professional, you could find some help in this article (also here).

 

In order to avoid making this too long-winded (I think it’s too late 🙂  ), in part II of this blog, we’ll go over the detailed steps of installing Windows Sharepoint Services with the DNS and IIS configurations that we just made.

 

Hope someone will find this helpful. 

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