KB0031: Changing the application timeout

Summary

By default IIS is configured with a timeout to kill a user’s session after 20 minutes of inactivity. Note that this is inactivity from the server’s perspective – you could be actively using Qualoupe, but unless you do something that causes a request to be sent to the server within 20 minutes your session could still be killed.

It is possible to extend this timeout by changing the setting on the server, which may be necessary if you are experiencing issues with users being logged out of Qualoupe after about 20 minutes of inactivity.

Too many choices!

Unfortunately the timeout can be set in various places within the IIS configuration, and it’s not always clear which settings override each other. You may need a little trial and error to find the setting that’s affecting your Qualoupe installation, especially if you have other web sites or applications being served from the same machine.

To further confuse matters, the user interface has changed significantly with IIS version 7.0. The rest of this document details the possible locations of the relevant timeout setting, first for IIS 7.0 and later, and then for earlier versions.

IIS 7.0 and later

Note: The screenshots below have been taken on an IIS 8.5 installation, and may differ a little from the dialogs you see on your own server.

Application Pool settings

A default timeout can be set for all application pools. Furthermore, this default value can be overridden on a per-pool basis. In the image below the first outlined link opens the default settings, whereas the second one opens the settings for the currently selected pool.

IIS_8_application_pool_1

Either link opens a similar looking dialog. The “Idle time-out (minutes)” setting is the one that needs to be changed.

IIS_8_application_pool_2

Site-level settings

In addition to the Application Pool settings, it’s also possible to set the timeout as a default for all web sites or applications, and also as an override for a specific site or application.

First you must expand the Sites list on the left of the IIS settings. To configure the default value for all sites, select the Default Web Site entry. To configure the setting for a specific site, expand the Default Web Site section and then select the site you wish to configure. If your Qualoupe installation is not in the Default Web Site group you will need to adjust the preceding steps accordingly.

With either Default Web Site or your specific Qualoupe installation selected, double-click on the Session State icon to open the configuration screen.

IIS_8_site_settings_1

Within the configuration screen you need to change the “Time-out (in minutes)” setting within the “Cookie Settings” section. You may need to scroll the content in order to find this setting.

IIS_8_site_settings_2

Now skip to the “Applying your changes” section, below.

IIS 6.5 and earlier

Old versions of IIS offer even more places that the timeout can be set, with even more confusion as to which setting will apply for any given website. The following are known to be settings that may need to be changed in order to alter the timeouts that affect Qualoupe.

Site-specific settings

The timeout setting can be modified as a default for all sites, for a specific site (a default for all its virtual directories), or for an individual virtual directory or application. Furthermore at each level there are two places that the timeout can be set, plus a global default that can be modified from the site and virtual directory levels!

Right-click on the Web Sites entry at the left to set the defaults for all sites. Alternatively, expand this and then right-click on a specific site to set the values at the site level. Alternatively, drill down further and right-click on a specific virtual directory or application to set the values at that level. Whichever you choose, click the “Properties” menu entry.

IIS_6_site_settings_1

In the dialog that opens, select the “ASP.NET” tab. There will be a button labelled “Edit Configuration…” to modify the settings at this specific level. Depending on the level you selected, there may also be a button labelled “Edit Global Configuration…”. In most cases you should not need to modify the global configuration, unless you want to set a default across all the ASP.NET applications on the server.

IIS_6_site_settings_2

Whichever button you click, you’ll see a dialog open. Select the “State Management” tab, then change the “Session timeout (minutes)” value.

IIS_6_site_settings_3

In addition to the ASP.NET settings, there’s also another location at which session timeouts are set. You may need to modify either (or both) of these in order to achieve the desired effect. With the main properties dialog still open, click on the “Home Directory” tab, then on the “Configuration…” button.

IIS_6_site_settings_4

This will open another dialog. Select the “Options” tab, then modify the “Session timeout” value.

IIS_6_site_settings_5

As noted previously, these values can be set at various levels. If you are setting them for the first time, we recommend doing so at the lowest level (i.e. on the specific virtual directory or application) as these values should override the others.

Application Pool settings

If your IIS installation uses application pools then you may need to alter a timeout at this level. This is not the same as the usual session timeout setting, but rather it dictates the amount of time before IIS worker processes are terminated. As this also defaults to 20 minutes, it could be the cause of timeouts in Qualoupe, and should be considered if you the normal site-level settings above appear to have no effect.

Right-click on the Application Pools entry at the left of the IIS manager window to modify the default value. Alternatively you can expand this entry, then right click on a specific Application Pool to modify the value for that pool only. In either case, select the “Properties” menu entry.

IIS_6_application_pool_1

In the dialog that opens, select the Performance tab, then change the “Shutdown worker processes….” value.

IIS_6_application_pool_2

Applying your changes

We recommend at least restarting the Qualoupe application when you have made a modification to the timeout settings. It may even be necessary to restart IIS for changes to take effect – it seems that older versions of IIS in particular may require this.

markc

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