Internet Explorer rendering the same page differently each time

osah_asmith used Ask the Experts™
So this is a rather difficult problem.  I have a site running off of IIS 5 on a Windows 2000 server.  This site incorporates both ASP and PHP and both of those aspects of it seem to be working fine.  The problem is that Internet Explorer renders pages from this site differently every time a page is refreshed, and most of the time it renders it wrong.  This only happens with Internet Explorer and it happens with IE 6, 7, and 8.  I have tested the same site using Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome and the pages in the site render perfectly every time without fail.  I have tried visiting the site with internet explorer on multiple machines, each of which have no problems rendering a page.

To be more specific, when the page is rendered, sometimes the external javascript files that are necessary do not load (like the one for Dreamweaver's "Spry" menus).  Also, certain images do not load at times.  If you refresh the page, then they may come up, and they may not, it seems to be completely at random.  

Other sites on the IIS server seem to run fine without any problems on any browsers.  The only difference is that this site uses ASP.Net 2.0 (the others use ASP 1.1) and it is the only site with PHP enabled.  PHP is configured via ISAPI and the version is 5.2.10.  I have tried taking the exact same site and putting it on my desktop computer (Running Windows XP SP3) and setting it up on my local IIS instance and everything works just fine whether it is through Firefox or Internet Explorer so I believe it has something to do with IIS on the server.  I have been tried searching around for other people that have similar problems but I have had no success thus far.  If you have any idea what might be going on I would greatly appreciate any insight to this that anyone may have.
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Rob HutchinsonTech Lead, Desktop Support
Is this only happening on one computer visiting a specific website?
"I have tried visiting the site with internet explorer on multiple machines, each of which have no problems rendering a page."


Whoops.  I think that was a typo.  The problem occurs with internet explorer no matter what computer I am on.  If it's IE, it will have a problem with the site no matter what computer it's running from.  Or at least so it seems.  I have tested it on 3 separate pieces of hardware and two VMs and each has the same problem.
Is the page aspx, php, html?
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The site as a whole incorporates ASP, PHP, and HTML pages.  The problem seems to be limited to ASP and PHP pages though.  HTML pages don't seem to have the same problems.  It would seem to me at this point that the problems start occurring once a PHP page is viewed and then for some time afterwards, the length of which I have not yet determined.  I say this because I just tried going to the default.aspx page for the site, then a .php page, then refreshed the PHP page several times, then the problems began.  I went back to the default.aspx page, and it started having problems.  After this I checked an HTML page and it rendered fine every time I refreshed it.  Also, these problems seem to be related to this one site on the server.  We have several other sites running off the server and none of them seem to be affected once the offending one starts having problems.
OK, so I found a solution to the problem.  Apparently there is some sort of a permissions problem on the server that needed to be changed around as the IUSR account could not access some of the necessary assets of the page.  In order to fix this, I explicitly enabled IUSR to read (not read and execute) all of the files within the site's root directory.  After this, the site works fine with all versions of Internet explorer.  I still think that this behavior is odd though.  Also, it seems obvious to me that IE has a different way of pulling pages that must have messed up IIS.  Is this a common thing to come across?  Anyway, Thanks anyway for everyone's help.
That is weird,
Unless specifically denied, the IUSR account is granted read permissions to every folder in the site when its created.

But what is weirder is that this affects IE only, as this is an issue at the server and not a browser problem.


I agree.  That's why I was completely baffled by the problem to begin with.  I think there also may simply be some issues between PHP and ASP on IIS 5.0, and that may be what has caused this odd situation to begin with.

The fact that the problem was isolated to IE is indeed the weirdest part and I still don't quite understand what could so much different about how IE requests the pages.  Maybe it is something related to being on the same intranet?  Either way it beats me.  I'm just glad I have a working site now.

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