What is Web Deploy?

Web Deploy is an extensible client-server tool for syncing content and configuration to IIS. Web Deploy is used primarily in two scenarios:

  1. Developers use it to sync (aka ‘publish’) a compiled web applications (ASP .Net, PHP etc) from developer tools (Visual Studio, WebMatrix, etc) to IIS
  2. IT professionals use it to migrate websites & applications from an operating system running an older version of IIS such as IIS6 to an operating system running a newer version of IIS such as IIS 7.5.

Comparison between WebDeploy and FTP

Web Deploy is often compared to technologies like FTP, XCOPY or RoboCopy. While these technologies are useful, Web Deploy offers several benefits.

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Here is a comparison of Web Deploy to FTP:

  1. Web Deploy is faster than FTP. Web Deploy does not issue a different command for each operation. Instead, it does a comparison at the start of the sync and only transfers changes.
  2. Web Deploy is secure. Web Deploy supports transfer over HTTPS. Note that variants of FTP such as SFTP and FTPS are also secure.
  3. Web Deploy can set security descriptors (ACLs) on destination files and directories. For example, you can use Web Deploy to give a Windows user specific access to your application’s ‘Downloads’ folder during deployment.
  4. Web Deploy can publish databases. Web Deploy has out-of-box support for scripting out SQL Server, MySQL Server, Sqlite and SQL Server Compact databases and applying the resulting script during the sync. This can be very handy if your app needs a database to function.
  5. Web Deploy can apply transforms during deployment. You can use Web Deploy to change a connection string or application setting during a sync. Web Deploy supports a large range of transforms, including transforming IIS settings.
  6. Web Deploy integrates with Visual Studio 2010 and WebMatrix.
  7. Web Deploy is extensible. Web Deploy has a rich, publicly-accessible extensibility model which lets you author new scenarios.