Fun with IIS http compression

Ah the wonderful world of System Administration. My first task of the day was test a site using HTTP compression. So I followed the instructions to turn on http compression in IIS6. What a wonderful mix of UI, XML file fiddling and vbs scripts that was…<good grief>. Finally I managed to start seeing the production of compressed files in IIS’ folder. "Hurray, it’s working", I foolishly thought. My specific test site just kept failing, nothing would render a page. So, like all "good" developers I set compression to global, i.e. all the sites and went to the default iisstart.htm to see if that was ok. Sure enough the compressed version of it appeared in the IIS folders and IE7 rendered it without any fuss. "Hurray, it’s working"…I foolishly thought. Firefox 3 just stubbonly says, ‘The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression’. However, it looks like that happening on a number of sites with FF3. So I tried Safari. What a joke, doesn’t seem to want to see the page at all, moaning about a domain error. Opera 9.5, to the rescue, it acutally rendered both my test page and the iisstart.htm. Well I say rendered, it just showed me the contents of compressed file, i.e. it hasn’t bothered to uncompress it! Chocolate fire-guard anyone? So time to admit defeat and go off to the TechNet forum. Oh it just keeps giving. I tried to login, complained that my account hasn’t been verifyed, even though I used it about 1 year ago now. So I thought I’d register again. Every character I typed threw up a javascript error with IE asking if I wanted to debug it. What a waste of time.
So all in all my first professional brush with IIS6 compression has been…less than satisfactory.
I’ve since tried download ZipEnable from Port80 which didn’t help, but then I copied the settings from and finally it started to work, all the browsers too.

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