Web Tab, Project Properties


The Web tab of the project Properties page enables you to specify start behavior, server settings, and debugging properties for Web pages. Using this tab, you can specify how Visual Studio interprets the command to test a Web page when you select Start Debugging or Start Without Debugging on the Debug menu (or when you press F5 or CTRL+F5). Options on the Web tab are local settings for the current user and are not shared with other users.

The Web tab properties can be applied only to projects that were created by using the ASP.NET Web application project template. A project created by using this template is also known as a Web application project.

For website projects, you can find some equivalent settings on the Start Options tab of the Property Pages dialog box. For more information about the differences between Web application projects and website projects, see NIB: Web Application Projects versus Web Site Projects in Visual Studio.


The options on this page apply only when you are testing a Web application in Visual Studio; they do not apply when you are deploying a Web application to a production server. For more information about deployment, see Web Deployment Content Map for Visual Studio and ASP.NET.

To access the Web tab

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the name of a Web application project and then click Properties.

    The Properties window appears.

  2. Click the Web tab.

UI Elements

Start Action

The Start Action group enables you to specify which page or process Visual Studio starts when you run the Start command (or press F5 or CTRL+F5).

  • Current Page
    Specifies that Visual Studio will use the default browser to display the page that currently is open in the editor.

  • Specific Page
    Specifies that Visual Studio will run the specified page when you test the website, even if you are currently editing another page.


    You can also set this value by right-clicking a page in Solution Explorer and then selecting Set As Start Page.

  • Start external program
    Specifies the full path of an alternative program that Visual Studio will run instead of starting the browser. The alternative program must have an .exe file-name extension.

    • Command line arguments

      Specifies command-line options that will be passed to the external program.

    • Working directory

      Specifies the full path of a working directory in which the external program will start. The path must exist.

  • Start URL
    Specifies a starting URL to open. This option is typically used by Web service projects so that you can start a different website that will call your Web service.

  • Don't open a page. Wait for a request from an external application.
    Specifies that Visual Studio should start your project in a Web server and wait for another application to make a request. This is useful for debugging Web service applications.


The Servers group contains a drop-down menu that lists the various Web servers that are configured for use with Visual Studio 2013, which enables you to specify which Web server will be used when you test your Web applications:

  • IIS Express
    Specifies that Visual Studio will use IIS Express to test serve Web pages. This is the default. For more information, see Web Servers in Visual Studio for ASP.NET Web Projects.

  • Local IIS
    Specifies that Visual Studio will test your application on the local IIS Web server.

  • External Host
    Specifies that Visual Studio will test your application by using an external Web server.

  • [Custom Web Servers]
    Visual Studio 2013 allows you to add additional Web servers to the built-in Web servers that are displayed by default in the drop-down list. For more information about adding custom Web servers, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=324006.

The Servers group contains additional settings that you can specify, and different settings are available depending on the Web server that you choose in the drop-down menu:

  • If you are using IIS Express or Local IIS:

    • Project URL

      Specifies the URL that points to this Web application.

    • Create Virtual Directory

      Creates an IIS virtual directory for the Web application.

    • Override application root URL

      Specifies an alternative path for the application root URL. Use this option if the Web application root is not the root of your project.

  • If you are using External Host:

    • Project URL

      Specifies the URL that points to this Web application.

  • If you are using a custom Web server:

    • Project URL

      Specifies the URL that points to this Web application.

    • Path to Exe

      Specifies the physical path to the executable for the custom Web server.

    • Command Line

      Specifies any command-line parameters that need to be passed to the custom Web server.

    • Working directory

      Specifies the working directory for the custom Web server.


The Debuggers group enables you to specify which debuggers will be available when you test pages. When a debugger is loaded, it can include debugging engines for different types of code. The options that you select in the Debuggers group determine which debugging engines are loaded.


Each debugging engine that you load requires memory and affects the performance of debugging overall. In general, you should specify only the debugging engines that you need.

    Specifies that the ASP.NET debugger is loaded whenever you start the debugger. Use this debugger to debug the server code or client script in your pages and in any .NET Framework components that are called from your page.


    Processes to be debugged must be compiled with debugging information.

    If you clear this check box, Visual Studio starts the debugger but does not try to retrieve process information from IIS and make it available to the debugger. However, you can still debug client script in the page.

    For more information, see Debugging Web Pages Overview.

  • Native Code
    Specifies that the debugger for native (unmanaged) code is loaded whenever you start the debugger. This option is useful if your website calls a component (for example, a COM component) that is written in an unmanaged language, such as C++.

    If you clear this check box, you can debug managed code, but the debugger will skip any calls to unmanaged code.

    For more information, see Debugging Native Code.

  • SQL Server
    Specifies that the debugger for SQL Server stored procedures is loaded whenever you start the debugger.

  • Silverlight
    Specifies that the debugger for Silverlight is loaded whenever you start the debugger.

  • Enable Edit and Continue
    Edit and Continue allows you to change your source code while your program is in break mode and applies those changes without having to end the debug session and build your program again. You can use Edit and Continue in code-behind class files and stand-alone class files. However, editing inline code in an .aspx page or an .ascx file is not allowed. If you edit the Web.config file while debugging, Visual Studio displays a warning message. Saving changes to the Web.config file stops the debugger from loading old assemblies during an application-domain reset.

    For more information, see Edit and Continue, Debugging, Options Dialog Box and How to: Create and Edit Configurations.

See Also

Project Properties Reference
ASP.NET Web Application Projects