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In IIS7 there are a buch of things you can do that seem like they restart the website. I am unclear about exactly how they are all related.

  • run iisreset from the command line
  • refresh a website
  • recycle an app pool
  • restart a website

Can someone explain exactly what each one does please?

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up vote 21 down vote accepted

As pointed out, iisreset will stop and start the World Wide Web Publishing Service. This, of course, applies to all of your application pools. I'm sure you noticed a process being created for each application pool. This process will handle requests for all websites associated with it. When you recycle an application pool, IIS will create a new process (keeping the old one) to serve requests. Then it tries to move all requests on the new process. After a timeout the old process will be killed automaticaly. You usualy recycle your application pool to get rid of leaked memory (you might have a problem in your application if this needs to be a regular operation, even though it is recommended to have a scheduled recycle). As for restarting a website, it just stops and restarts serving requests for that particular website. It will continue to serve other websites on the same app pool with no interruptions.

If you have a session oriented application, all of the above will cause loss of session objects.

Refreshing a websites has no effect on the service/process/website and is meerly a UI command to refresh the treeview (maybe you added a directory you don't see in the management console).

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Do you have a source for this information? – Joshua Drake Aug 18 '15 at 14:03

iisreset stops and starts the whole webserver. That's everything - all your users lose their connections while this is happening.

Recycling an application pool stops and started the processes associated with the application(s) that are in that pool. Strictly speaking, it doesn't have anything to do with the website (except for the active content from those applications.)

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What about refresh and restart? – jimconstable Mar 15 '11 at 3:06
Dunno, I haven't used IIS 7 much, and don't even have IIS 6 in front of me. What does Help say that they do? – mfinni Mar 15 '11 at 3:25

To answer your two other questions:

  • Refresh a websites just reloads data from the server
  • Restart a website doesn't do much really. By stopping the web site, it will no longer listen for requests on any of it's bindings. Starting it again makes it start listening again. Processes serving the web site remain unaffected.
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