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IIS Error “Access to the path is denied”

This is a common error seen when setting up websites or doing upgrades, especially when the website root folder is placed outside of the /inetpub/ folder hive.

Access to the path '<insert path>' is denied.

The main cause is the application pool account does not have ACL permissions to the files and directories. You need to figure out which account is being used. The default account differ between window versions, typically they are:

  • Network Service account for Windows 2008 and Vista, or later versions
  • IUSR for Windows 2003 and XP, or earlier versions

It is also possible to select other local and domain accounts. You can look up the custom account for the specific application pool in the IIS manager > Application Pools view.

How to fix IIS file permissions

  1. Login into the server
  2. Open Windows Explorer
  3. Verify the file is there
  4. If it is, Right click on the root directory for the IIS website
  5. Click on the properties
  6. In the new dialog box select the Security tab
  7. Look for the Network Service account
    1. If it is missing, click edit and a new dialog box appears
    2. Click Add and the search dialog box appears
    3. Find and add the Network Service account
  8. Verify it has these four permissions checked.
    1. Read & Execute
    2. List
    3. Read
    4. Write
  9. Click OK to close

You might have to reset all file permission for the subfolders too

  1. Click Advanced
  2. Click Edit and a new dialog box appears
  3. Check Change Permissions and a new dialog box appears
  4. Check the box to “Replace all child object permissions…”
  5. Click Ok to close
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