asp.net – Avoid web.config inheritance in child web application using inheritInChildApplications

The Question :

156 people think this question is useful

I am trying to add

<location inheritInChildApplications="false">

to my parent web application’s web.config but it doesn’t seem to be working.

My parent’s web.config has:

<configuration>
    <configSections>
    </configSections>

    // 10 or so custom config sections like log4net, hibernate,

    <connectionStrings>
    </connectionStrings>

    <appSettings>
    </appSettings>

    <system.diagnostics>
    </system.diagnostics>

    <system.web>
         <webParts>
         </webParts>
         <membership>
         </membership>

         <compilation>
         </compilation>
    </system.web>

    <location ..>
    <system.web>
        </system.web>
    </location>

    <system.webServer>
    </system.webServer>

My child web application is setup as an application in IIS, and is inheriting from the parent’s web.config which is causing problems.

Where exactly should I place the

<location inheritInChildApplications="false">

so it ignores all the various web.config settings?

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

206 people think this answer is useful

As the commenters for the previous answer mentioned, you cannot simply add the line…

<location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false">

…just below <configuration>. Instead, you need to wrap the individual web.config sections for which you want to disable inheritance. For example:

<!-- disable inheritance for the connectionStrings section -->
<location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false">
   <connectionStrings>
   </connectionStrings>
</location>

<!-- leave inheritance enabled for appSettings -->
<appSettings>
</appSettings>

<!-- disable inheritance for the system.web section -->
<location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false">
   <system.web>
        <webParts>
        </webParts>
        <membership>
        </membership>

        <compilation>
        </compilation>
      </system.web>
 </location>

While <clear /> may work for some configuration sections, there are some that instead require a <remove name="..."> directive, and still others don’t seem to support either. In these situations, it’s probably appropriate to set inheritInChildApplications="false".

The Answer 2

66 people think this answer is useful

It needs to go directly under the root <configuration> node and you need to set a path like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<configuration>
    <location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false"> 
        <!-- Stuff that shouldn't be inherited goes in here -->
    </location>
</configuration>

A better way to handle configuration inheritance is to use a <clear/> in the child config wherever you don’t want to inherit. So if you didn’t want to inherit the parent config’s connection strings you would do something like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<configuration>
    <connectionStrings>
        <clear/>
        <!-- Child config's connection strings -->
    </connectionStrings>
</configuration>

The Answer 3

23 people think this answer is useful

I put everything into:

<location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false">
....
</location>

except: <configSections/>, <connectionStrings/> and <runtime/>.

There are some cases when we don’t want to inherit some secions from <configSections />, but we can’t put <section/> tag into <location/>, so we have to create a <secionGroup /> and put our unwanted sections into that group. Section groups can be later inserted into a location tag.

So we have to change this:

<configSections>
  <section name="unwantedSection" />
</configSections>

Into:

<configSections>
  <sectionGroup name="myNotInheritedSections">
    <section name="unwantedSection" />
  </sectionGroup>
</configSections>

<location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false">
    <myNotInheritedSections>
        <unwantedSection />
    </myNotInheritedSections>
</location>

The Answer 4

9 people think this answer is useful

We were getting an error related to this after a recent release of code to one of our development environments. We have an application that is a child of another application. This relationship has been working fine for YEARS until yesterday.

The problem:
We were getting a yellow stack trace error due to duplicate keys being entered. This is because both the web.config for the child and parent applications had this key. But this existed for many years like this without change. Why all of sudden its an issue now?

The solution:
The reason this was never a problem is because the keys AND values were always the same. Yesterday we updated our SQL connection strings to include the Application Name in the connection string. This made the string unique and all of sudden started to fail.

Without doing any research on the exact reason for this, I have to assume that when the child application inherits the parents web.config values, it ignores identical key/value pairs.

We were able to solve it by wrapping the connection string like this

    <location path="." inheritInChildApplications="false">
        <connectionStrings>
            <!-- Updated connection strings go here -->
        </connectionStrings>
    </location>

Edit: I forgot to mention that I added this in the PARENTS web.config. I didn’t have to modify the child’s web.config.

Thanks for everyones help on this, saved our butts.

The Answer 5

6 people think this answer is useful

If (as I understand) you’re trying to completely block inheritance in the web config of your child application, I suggest you to avoid using the tag in web.config. Instead create a new apppool and edit the applicationHost.config file (located in %WINDIR%\System32\inetsrv\Config and %WINDIR%\SysWOW64\inetsrv\config). You just have to find the entry for your apppool and add the attribute enableConfigurationOverride="false" like in the following example:

<add name="MyAppPool" autoStart="true" managedRuntimeVersion="v4.0" managedPipelineMode="Integrated" enableConfigurationOverride="false">
    <processModel identityType="NetworkService" />
</add>

This will avoid configuration inheritance in the applications served by MyAppPool.

Matteo

The Answer 6

2 people think this answer is useful

This is microsoft’s page on the location tag: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/b6x6shw7%28v=vs.100%29.aspx

It may be helpful to some folks.

The Answer 7

1 people think this answer is useful

We’re getting errors about duplicate configuration directives on the one of our apps. After investigation it looks like it’s because of this issue.

In brief, our root website is ASP.NET 3.5 (which is 2.0 with specific libraries added), and we have a subapplication that is ASP.NET 4.0.

web.config inheritance causes the ASP.NET 4.0 sub-application to inherit the web.config file of the parent ASP.NET 3.5 application.

However, the ASP.NET 4.0 application’s global (or “root”) web.config, which resides at C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\Config\web.config and C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\Config\web.config (depending on your bitness), already contains these config sections.

The ASP.NET 4.0 app then tries to merge together the root ASP.NET 4.0 web.config, and the parent web.config (the one for an ASP.NET 3.5 app), and runs into duplicates in the node.

The only solution I’ve been able to find is to remove the config sections from the parent web.config, and then either

  1. Determine that you didn’t need them in your root application, or if you do
  2. Upgrade the parent app to ASP.NET 4.0 (so it gains access to the root web.config’s configSections)

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