iis-7 {"message":"an occurred."} - WebApi's {“message”:“an error has occurred”} on IIS7, not in IIS Express

3 Answers


Use IncludeErrorDetailPolicy instead if CustomErrors doesn't solve it for you (e.g. if you're ASP.NET stack is >2012):

= IncludeErrorDetailPolicy.Always;

Note: Be careful returning detailed error info can reveal sensitive information to 'hackers'. See Simon's comment on this answer below.

TL;DR version

For me CustomErrors didn't really help. It was already set to Off, but I still only got a measly an error has occurred message. I guess the accepted answer is from 3 years ago which is a long time in the web word nowadays. I'm using Web API 2 and ASP.NET 5 (MVC 5) and Microsoft has moved away from an IIS-only strategy, while CustomErrors is old skool IIS ;).

Anyway, I had an issue on production that I didn't have locally. And then found I couldn't see the errors in Chrome's Network tab like I could on my dev machine. In the end I managed to solve it by installing Chrome on my production server and then browsing to the app there on the server itself (e.g. on 'localhost'). Then more detailed errors appeared with stack traces and all.

Only afterwards I found this article from Jimmy Bogard (Note: Jimmy is mr. AutoMapper!). The funny thing is that his article is also from 2012, but in it he already explains that CustomErrors doesn't help for this anymore, but that you CAN change the 'Error detail' by setting a different IncludeErrorDetailPolicy in the global WebApi configuration (e.g. WebApiConfig.cs):

= IncludeErrorDetailPolicy.Always;

Luckily he also explains how to set it up that webapi (2) DOES listen to your CustomErrors settings. That's a pretty sensible approach, and this allows you to go back to 2012 :P.

Note: The default value is 'LocalOnly', which explains why I was able to solve the problem the way I described, before finding this post. But I understand that not everybody can just remote to production and startup a browser (I know I mostly couldn't until I decided to go freelance AND DevOps).

azure 500 swagger

I'm working with ASP.NET MVC 4 WebApi and am having a lot of fun with it running it on my local computer on IIS Express. I've configured IIS Express to serve remote machines too, and so other's in my company are using my computer as our webserver.

After deciding this was a less-than-optimal solution, we decided to put the WebApi on a remote server after installing .NET 4.5. When I use fiddler and sent a POST to a controller on my local machine it returns the correct response, yet when I change the domain to the webserver running IIS7 the same POST returns a cryptic

{"message":"an error has occurred"}

message. Anyone have any idea what could be going on?

I had a similar problem when posting to the WebAPI endpoint. By turning the CustomErrors=Off, i was able to see the actual error which is one of the dlls was missing.

I always come to this question when I hit an error in the test environment and remember, "I've done this before, but I can do it straight in the web.config without having to modify code and re-deploy to the test environment, but it takes 2 changes... what was it again?"

For future reference

   <customErrors mode="Off"></customErrors>


  <httpErrors errorMode="Detailed" existingResponse="PassThrough"></httpErrors>