How to use the Site Workspace in WebMatrix

The Site workspace helps you monitor web requests and configure website settings. To access this workspace, select Site in the workspace selector in the lower left corner of WebMatrix. When WebMatrix is first installed, the Site Workspace is the default workspace. You can change the starting workspace in the Options dialog of the File menu.

Site Dashboard View



UI Elements


Ribbon and its Contextual Tabs

Provides access to site controls, publishing settings, and WebMatrix features

Navigation Pane

Provides links to the Requests and Settings Views

Workspace Selector

Allows you to switch between workspaces


Provides links to launch your site, view its files, and to learning, administration, and support resources

Site Home Ribbon


The site Home ribbon provides basic commands to control your site. Here is a description of the UI elements you will find in it:

UI Element



Use this split button to launch your site in the default browser, or in any browser in the drop down menu, including device emulators that you can install by using the Extension Gallery. WebMatrix will detect all the browsers you have installed and will make them available in this button.


This button allows you to start the publishing process and provides access to publishing settings if none have been set. The Publish button also provides access to the Web Hosting Gallery to help you find a place to host your site.


Starts IIS Express, the web software that hosts your site locally on your computer.


Stops IIS Express.


Stops IIS Express and releases resources, and then restarts IIS Express.


Displays the requests processed locally by IIS Express when your site is running.

Extension Gallery

Gives you access to a collection of extensions that add new features and service to WebMatrix.


All installed extensions that create buttons in the ribbon are displayed here. Example: ColorThemeManager.

Site Remote Ribbon


The Remote tab on the ribbon lets you publish, download, and access your site remotely. Here is a description of its UI elements:

UI Element



Allows you to start the publishing process.


Lets you download your site from the remote hosting server

Open Remote view

Lets you access files directly on the remote hosting server

Check Compatibility

Test that the target server has a minimum set of compatibility features


Allows you to load a provider's publishing settings profile, or to manually set the publishing settings.

Site Requests View

This view allows you to capture the requests processed by IIS Express. It is handy for debugging issues or for fine tuning performance.



UI Element


Requests Ribbon

1. Clear All: clears the list of requests.

2. Only Errors: displays only the requests that resulted in errors.

3. Ignore Images: removes requests from the listing that get only images

4. Capture Requests: Turns request monitoring on or off.

Request List

Displays every request and error that occurred during the local execution of your site. If the list is large, you can filter the results by using the search box.

Site Request Tasks



View requests

Click Requests in the View group in the ribbon. In the content pane, select an individual request to see details. The status of requests is indicated by the following values:

  • 2xx = Success.
  • 3xx = Informational (for example, the request has been redirected to a different page).
  • 4xx = Error on the client (for example, a request to non-existent page or a request for a protected resource).
  • 5xx = Error on the server.

For more information, see Analyze Requests to your Website.

Search for a specific request

At the top of the content pane, enter the text to find. You can search for any characters that appear in the report, such as "304.0".

View errors

Click Only Errors in the ribbon. To see details and recommendations about how to resolve an individual error, select the error in the content pane.

Clear existing requests

Click Clear All in the ribbon.

Stop capturing requests (or restart)

Click Capture Requests in the ribbon.

Site Settings View

This view allows you to set site configuration settings: SSL, .Net Framework version, ASP.NET Web Pages version, PHP Framework, and default page management.


Site Setting Tasks



View site settings

Click Settings in the navigation pane.

Set the URL and port number (binding) for testing your site

Enter a URL and optionally, a port number. This setting is preconfigured by WebMatrix and you typically do not have to change it. If you change the URL to something other than "localhost", you must ensure that the domain is registered in the hosts file or DNS server.

Note: Incorrectly changing this setting can prevent your site from working correctly.

You might change the port number if the default port conflicts with another process or if you need to test a process that requires a fixed port number.

These settings are applied globally to WebMatrix. They are not included when you publish the site.

Enable encrypted connections using SSL for testing locally

Select Enable SSL. This lets you test SSL (the https:// protocol) in WebMatrix by using a self-signed certificate with IIS Express. SSL provides confidentiality (encryption) for sensitive information sent between the browser and your website.

This setting is applied globally and is not included when you publish the site. For more information see, Securing Web Communications: Certificates, SSL, and https://.

Set the .NET Framework version for your site

Select a version from the list. You typically run your site using the latest .NET Framework version. However, if you need to make your site backwardly compatible, you can choose an earlier version. The available versions are:

  • .NET 4 (Integrated). Use with IIS 7.0 to provide improved performance for .NET Framework 4 applications.
  • .NET 4 (Classic). Use for backward compatibility with IIS 6.0 and earlier versions when you run a web application that uses the .NET Framework 4. This option usually requires few or no modifications to existing applications.
  • .NET 2 (Integrated). Use with IIS 7.0 to provide improved performance for .NET Framework 2.0 applications.
  • .NET 2 (Classic). Use for backward compatibility with IIS 6.0 and earlier versions when you run a web application that uses the .NET Framework 2.0.

If you choose to run a PHP application, set the .NET Framework version to none.

This setting is applied globally. When you publish the site, WebMatrix includes this setting if your hosting provider allows it. You can apply this setting to your remote site by running a compatibility check. To do this, click Publish, and then click Check Compatibility in the ribbon.

Enable PHP support

Under PHP Settings, select the Enable PHP check box. You must select an available PHP version. If it is not already installed, WebMatrix guides you through the installation steps.

This setting is applied globally and is not included when you publish the site.

Manage default pages

The pages listed in the content pane are those that IIS or IIS Express will try to run when the request URL does not point to a specific page.

You can reorder and delete default pages by using the arrows and delete button. To add a default page, click Add.

This setting is stored in the Web.config file and is included when you publish the site.


The Site workspace is a central part of managing your site. You can use the Site workspace to set platform configurations, perform request debugging and performance tuning, and access additional resources relevant to your particular site or application.

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