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Difference between Web.Config and Machine.Config File

Posted by Ravi Varma Thumati on May 4, 2009


            Machine.Config file is used to set the configuration setting that are global to a particular machine, in simple terms Machine.Config file is used to set the common configuration setting for all the ASP.NET applications running in a particular machine. That is, configuration done in machine.config file is affected on any application that runs on a particular machine

Machine.Config file is located at the following path:

 \WINNT\Microsoft.NET\Framework\[Framework Version]\CONFIG\machine.config

  • This is automatically installed when you install Visual Studio.NET
  • Machine.Config file is also called machine level configuration file
  • Only one machine.config file exists on a server.
  • This file is at the highest level in the configuration hierarchy


            Web.Config file is used to set the configuration setting for a specific ASP.NET application. We can override settings in the Machine.Config file for all the applications in a particular Web site by placing a Web.Config file in the root directory of the Web site.

  • This is automatically created when you create an ASP.Net web application project.
  • This is also called application level configuration file.
  • This file inherits the setting from the machine.config file.
  • One application can have any no of Web.Config files.

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