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IIS “Gotchas” When Installing DNN

I recently got a replacement laptop when my battery stopped holding a charge. This brought on nearly a whole day of downloading and installing new software. Of course I wanted to install DNN, but I didn’t have much time on this specific day. In my rush to get things configured and set up I made a few mistakes and got snagged by a couple IIS “gotchas”.

These are simple problems to fix, but if you don’t know where to look when you’re in these situations it can be frustrating. I’m posting this blog in hopes of helping someone who may encounter these issues at some point in time.

Minimum DNN Requirements Met
The new laptop is a Surface Book running Windows 10 so I’m definitely in the Microsoft environment and running a Windows operating system. After downloading SQL Server and nvQuickSite I wanted to do a test install of DNN just to make sure everything lined up correctly. I knew I also needed to ensure that some settings in IIS were turned on so that I could host websites on my local machine.

Turning IIS On
I went to “Turn Windows Features on or off” as you would imagine and I started checking the boxes that are needed for a DNN site. Windows told me it was making the updates and in a few seconds the updates were complete.

Screen Capture - Turning Windows Features On or Off

I then fired up nvQuickSite and started the process of installing DNN. As always, nvQuickSite worked like a charm. I clicked the “View Your Website” button.

This is when something odd happened…

nvQuickSite took me to the correct URL for my site, but the screen was completely white

Screen Capture - A blank white DNN install page

I was puzzled and thought I’d recycle my app pool. Maybe making changes to IIS caused something to need to be refreshed. I recycled the app pool, but still - no dice. I then restarted the website in IIS and it was still stuck on the white page. I screenshotted the page and sent it to a group chat I’m on and the instant response was to check IIS. I went back into IIS and sure enough I’d forgotten to include the .NET Extensibility 4.7 checkbox.

Screen Capture - Turning on .NET 4.5.7 in IIS

Once I clicked the .NET Extensibility 4.7 checkbox and the updates were made I refreshed the website and it started spinning (compiling) for a longer amount of time. I knew we were cooking with grease then! My site took a minute and then loaded up, but it seemed to load without any CSS. It looked very odd - all the appropriate content was there, but yet it wasn’t rendering properly. It seemed like a plain text version of the content.

Screen Capture - My DNN Install without styles

After more consultation with my group chat I then went back into IIS and investigated more. In my haste to get things done quickly I had omitted yet a few more needed options related to static content and static content compression.

Screen Capture - Turning on static content in IIS

I checked those options, recycled my app pool, and then refreshed the site and then I was good to go… the installer screen loaded as you would expect.

Screen Capture - The DNN Installer

A few seconds later I was up and running in my new DNN site. If you’ve been stuck in this situation, I hope this blog was helpful for you and thanks to David Poindexter for his assistance along the way!


Tony Henrich
Maybe a new version of nvQuickSite can go through a checklist and make sure Windows and IIS have stuff installed and properly set up?
Tony Henrich Friday, January 12, 2018 9:13 PM (link)
David Poindexter
Tony, that's a great idea! Would you or anyone you know be willing to create a pull request for those nice features? Worst case scenario, I would recommend creating an issue so it will at least be on the radar.
David Poindexter Friday, January 12, 2018 9:23 PM (link)
David Poindexter
Oh, and great blog post by the way Clint! :)
David Poindexter Friday, January 12, 2018 9:23 PM (link)
Tony Henrich
David, can you make the solution just compile and run in Visual Studio once opened? Whenever I open an open source solution, hit rebuild solution and get a ton of errors, I cringe, get tense and lose interest in 2 seconds. At least make the solution restore the missing references automatically.
Tony Henrich Sunday, January 14, 2018 3:02 AM (link)
David Poindexter
Tony, I am sorry to hear the solution makes you cringe. :) Unfortunately, that is just the way it works because everyone’s environment is unique and NuGet is usually the culprit. If you have specific issues to work through, please post them on GitHub rather than using this awesome blog post for nvQuickSite support. Thanks for the participation sur - much appreciated!
David Poindexter Sunday, January 14, 2018 5:34 PM (link)
Clint Patterson
I don't believe Tony created this issue on GitHub so I have added it
Clint Patterson Tuesday, January 16, 2018 5:25 PM (link)
David Poindexter
Thank you Clint!
David Poindexter Tuesday, January 16, 2018 5:27 PM (link)

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