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In Depth Information
The differences between the kinds of SharePoint installations are not the stuff of rocket
science. However, if you intend to do more than run everything on one server or if you don’t want
to end up with the SQL Express database engine, you really need to understand those
differences before you install SharePoint.
SharePoint Sites and Databases
This section briefly outlines the IIS Web Sites and the databases that SharePoint will create
during installation.
SharePoint needs at least two different IIS Web Sites (otherwise known as SharePoint web
applications) to function. Most of the web applications contain the web pages that you will access to
either administer SharePoint or actually use SharePoint’s lists, subsites, and libraries. In
addition, SharePoint Foundation adds another IIS Web Site during installation to support web
services, such as Business Data Connectivity, Security Token Service, and Topology.
At the minimum, say for a simple Standalone installation, you will have these three IIS Web
Sites available on the SharePoint server:
The Central Administration V4 This web application is used to control the configuration and
administration of all servers on the server farm, as well as all web applications. This site is set
up on a unique port, completely different from the standard one for HTTP. If you do a Server
Farm installation, you can specify the port or use the one suggested. If you do a Standalone
installation, the port will be chosen at random for you during installation and configuration (or
you can specify your own). The range is somewhere between 1023 and 32767. The unique port
helps obscure this site from anyone surfing the standard ports on the server.
The SharePoint Site The default name for the first SharePoint web application (that isn’t
dedicated to Central Administration) is usually SharePoint-80. SharePoint tends to want to
name its web applications with SharePoint, a dash, and the web application’s port number
(or host header and port number). It will contain the first top-level site for SharePoint, just to
get you started (or in a Server Farm installation, you can create it yourself—or have the
configuration wizard do it). Web applications were meant to contain site collections, which are
collections of sites. Each one starts with a top-level site, but they can also include additional
subsites. Web applications can contain as few as one site collection with one top-level site, or
many site collections, each with multiple subsites. Because a web application is essentially a
container for your SharePoint sites, when you configure settings at the web application level,
they can affect all sites contained therein.
SharePoint Web Services This web application, on a random port for both HTTP and
HTTPS, is the one that does not contain any web pages to be used for any standard reason.
This web application is used exclusively by SharePoint web services to use all of the nifty
features and components available for SharePoint. It allows them to make external
connections to data not stored in SharePoint’s databases, handle security token for claims-based
authentication, or manage the farm’s topology.
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