HTTP Errors <httpErrors>


The <httpErrors> element allows you to configure custom error messages for your Web site or application. Custom error messages let you provide a friendly or a more informative response by serving a file, returning another resource, or redirecting to a URL when visitors to your site cannot access the content they requested. For example, you might want to customize each of the error message pages for your Web site to have the same look and feel as the rest of your site.

The <httpErrors> element contains a collection of <error> elements, each of which defines an error message that IIS uses to respond to specific HTTP errors. You can add custom error messages to IIS by adding an <error> element to the <httpErrors> element in the Web.config file for your site, application, or URL. Each <error> element uses the responseMode attribute to specify whether IIS serves static content, dynamic content, or redirects to a separate URL in response to an error.

You can use the <remove> element to remove a specific error message from the collection of error messages your site or application inherits from a higher level in the IIS configuration hierarchy. Also, you can use the <clear> element to remove all HTTP error messages from the collection of HTTP error messages that your site or application inherits.

The <httpErrors> element also contains attributes that configure IIS 7 to process requests that cause errors. The existingResponse attribute defines what IIS 7 does to an existing response when the server returns an HTTP error status code. The defaultPath attribute defines the path to a customer error page if you choose specify File for the responseMode attribute in an <error> element.

The detailedMoreInformationLink attribute specifies a link to more information about a particular error.

The <httpErrors> element also can contain an errorMode attribute that you can use to control the level of detail that IIS returns to a browser when an HTTP error occurs. You can set the errorMode attribute to DetailedLocalOnly, which is the default setting, or you can set it to Custom or Detailed. If you specify DetailedLocalOnly, or if you do not specify an errorMode value, IIS returns detailed error information only to the browser on the local server and a custom error message to a browser on an external computer. If you set the errorMode value to Custom, IIS returns only custom error messages to all requesting browsers. If you set the errorMode value to Detailed, IIS returns detailed error information to all requesting browsers. The default DetailedLocalOnly value allows you to troubleshoot HTTP errors on the local server while not exposing sensitive information to external browsers.

By default, IIS serves error messages defined in files stored in the %SystemRoot%\Help\IisHelp\Common folder. You can create a custom error message for users and configure IIS to return this page whenever it encounters a specific HTTP error on your site.


Version Notes
IIS 7.5 The allowAbsolutePathsWhenDelegated attribute was added to the <httpErrors> element in IIS 7.5
IIS 7.0 The <httpErrors> element was introduced in IIS 7.0.
IIS 6.0 The <httpErrors> element replaces the IIS 6.0 HttpErrors property of the IIsWebService metabase object.


The <httpErrors> element is included in the default installation of IIS 7.

How To

How to add a custom error page

  1. Open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager:
    • If you are using Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2:
      • On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
    • If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7:
      • On the taskbar, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
      • Double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
  2. In the Connections pane, expand the server name, expand Sites, and then navigate to the Web site or application that you want to configure custom error pages for.
  3. In the Home pane, double-click Error Pages.

  4. In the Actions pane, click Add...
  5. In the Add Custom Error Page dialog box, under Status code, type the number of the HTTP status code for which you want to create a custom error message.

  6. In the Response Action section, do one of the following:
    • Select Insert content from static file into the error response to serve static content, for example, an .html file, for the custom error.
    • Select Execute a URL on this site to serve dynamic content, for example, an .asp file for the custom error.
    • Select Respond with a 302 redirect to redirect client browsers to a different URL that contains the custom error file.
  7. In the File path text box, type the path of the custom error page if you chose Insert content from static file into the error response or the URL of the custom error page if you use either the Execute a URL on this site or Respond with a 302 redirect, and then click OK.

    Note If you select Execute a URL on this site, the path must be a relative path. If you select Respond with a 302 redirect, the URL must be an absolute URL.


You can configure the <httpErrors> element at the server level in the ApplicationHost.config file and at the site and application level in the appropriate Web.config file.


Attribute Description
allowAbsolutePathsWhenDelegated Optional Boolean attribute.

When set to true, absolute paths are allowed for custom error pages when the <httpErrors> section is delegated. When set to false, only paths that are relative to the site root are allowed.

The default value is false.
defaultPath Optional string attribute.

Specifies the default path of the custom error page. The type of path is determined by the defaultResponseMode attribute. If you choose File, the file path is returned. If you choose either the ExecuteURL or Redirect path type, the URL of the custom error page is returned.
defaultResponseMode Optional enum attribute.

Specifies how custom error content is returned.

The defaultResponseMode attribute can be one of the following possible values; the default is File.
Value Description
File Serves static content, for example, a .html file for the custom error. If responseMode is set to File, the path value has to be a file path.

The numeric value is 0.
ExecuteURL Serves dynamic content, for example, a .asp file for the custom error. If responseMode is set to ExecuteURL, the path value has to be a server relative URL.

The numeric value is 1.
Redirect Redirects client browsers to a different URL that contains the custom error file. If responseMode is set to Redirect, the path value has to be an absolute URL.

The numeric value is 2.
detailedMoreInformationLink Optional string attribute.

Specifies a link, shown at the bottom of the page, to a page with more detailed information about a particular error. You can use this property to point end users to a custom location for error information. The status, sub-status, HRESULT and message ID are sent as part of the query string.

The default value is
errorMode Optional enum attribute.

Specifies whether HTTP errors are enabled.

The errorMode attribute can be one of the following values; the default is DetailedLocalOnly.
Value Description
DetailedLocalOnly Returns detailed error information if the request is from the local computer, and returns a custom error message if the request is from an external computer.

The numeric value is 0.
Custom Replaces the error that the module or server generates with a custom page that you specify. This mode is useful in providing friendlier error messages to end users.

Note: This setting turns off detailed errors, even for local requests.

The numeric value is 1.
Detailed Sends detailed error information back to the client. This mode is useful for testing and debugging Web sites and applications.

The numeric value is 2.
existingResponse Optional enum attribute.

Specifies what happens to an existing response when the HTTP status code is an error, i.e. response codes >= 400.

The existingResponse attribute can be one of the following values; the default is Auto.
Value Description
Auto Leaves the response untouched only if the SetStatus flag is set.

The numeric value is 0.
Replace Replaces the existing response even if the SetStatus flag is set.

The numeric value is 1.
PassThrough Leaves the response untouched if an existing response exists.

The numeric value is 2.

Child Elements

Element Description
error Optional element.

Adds an HTTP error to the collection of HTTP errors.
remove Optional element.

Removes a reference to an HTTP error from the HTTP error collection.
clear Optional element.

Removes all references to HTTP errors from the HTTP error collection.

Configuration Sample

The following configuration example, when included in the Web.config file for a Web site or application, uses the errorMode attribute to only allow detailed error messages to appear on the local computer. It also uses the defaultResponseMode attribute to set the response mode for the site or application. The sample then removes the inherited error message for the 500 status code. Next, it sets the prefixLanguageFilePath attribute to the directory where IIS should search of a new custom error page, and sets the path attribute to 500.htm, the file that contains the custom error message.

      <httpErrors errorMode="DetailedLocalOnly" defaultResponseMode="File" >
         <remove statusCode="500" />
         <error statusCode="500"
            path="500.htm" />

Sample Code

The following examples adds a new file for all status code 404 errors with a substatus of 5, which IIS returns for "URL Sequence Denied" errors. In these examples, the prefix path is set to "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\custerr", and the file name is specified as "404.5.htm".


appcmd.exe set config -section:system.webServer/httpErrors /+"[statusCode='404',subStatusCode='5',prefixLanguageFilePath='%SystemDrive%\inetpub\custerr',path='404.5.htm']" /commit:apphost

Note: You must be sure to set the commit parameter to apphost when you use AppCmd.exe to configure these settings. This commits the configuration settings to the appropriate location section in the ApplicationHost.config file.


using System;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Web.Administration;

internal static class Sample
   private static void Main()
      using (ServerManager serverManager = new ServerManager())
         Configuration config = serverManager.GetApplicationHostConfiguration();
         ConfigurationSection httpErrorsSection = config.GetSection("system.webServer/httpErrors");
         ConfigurationElementCollection httpErrorsCollection = httpErrorsSection.GetCollection();

         ConfigurationElement errorElement = httpErrorsCollection.CreateElement("error");
         errorElement["statusCode"] = 404;
         errorElement["subStatusCode"] = 5;
         errorElement["prefixLanguageFilePath"] = @"%SystemDrive%\inetpub\custerr";
         errorElement["path"] = @"404.5.htm";



Imports System
Imports System.Text
Imports Microsoft.Web.Administration

Module Sample
   Sub Main()
      Dim serverManager As ServerManager = New ServerManager
      Dim config As Configuration = serverManager.GetApplicationHostConfiguration
      Dim httpErrorsSection As ConfigurationSection = config.GetSection("system.webServer/httpErrors")
      Dim httpErrorsCollection As ConfigurationElementCollection = httpErrorsSection.GetCollection

      Dim errorElement As ConfigurationElement = httpErrorsCollection.CreateElement("error")
      errorElement("statusCode") = 404
      errorElement("subStatusCode") = 5
      errorElement("prefixLanguageFilePath") = "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\custerr"
      errorElement("path") = "404.5.htm"

   End Sub
End Module


var adminManager = new ActiveXObject('Microsoft.ApplicationHost.WritableAdminManager');
adminManager.CommitPath = "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST";
var httpErrorsSection = adminManager.GetAdminSection("system.webServer/httpErrors", "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST");
var httpErrorsCollection = httpErrorsSection.Collection;

var errorElement = httpErrorsCollection.CreateNewElement("error");
errorElement.Properties.Item("statusCode").Value = 404;
errorElement.Properties.Item("subStatusCode").Value = 5;
errorElement.Properties.Item("prefixLanguageFilePath").Value = "%SystemDrive%\\inetpub\\custerr";
errorElement.Properties.Item("path").Value = "404.5.htm";



Set adminManager = createObject("Microsoft.ApplicationHost.WritableAdminManager")
adminManager.CommitPath = "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST"
Set httpErrorsSection = adminManager.GetAdminSection("system.webServer/httpErrors", "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST")
Set httpErrorsCollection = httpErrorsSection.Collection

Set errorElement = httpErrorsCollection.CreateNewElement("error")
errorElement.Properties.Item("statusCode").Value = 404
errorElement.Properties.Item("subStatusCode").Value = 5
errorElement.Properties.Item("prefixLanguageFilePath").Value = "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\custerr"
errorElement.Properties.Item("path").Value = "404.5.htm"
httpErrorsCollection.AddElement errorElement

Deprecated Elements