ASP.NET configuration files are XML-based text files for application-level settings and are saved with the name web.config. These files are present in multiple directories on an ASP.NET Web application server. The web.config file sets the configuration settings to the directory it is placed in and to all the virtual sub folders under it. The settings in sub directories can optionally override or change the settings specified in the base directory. The difference between the web.config and machine.config files is given as follows: \Microsoft.NET\Framework\\config\machine.config provides default configuration settings for the entire machine. ASP.NET configures IIS to prohibit the browser directly from accessing the web.config files to make sure that their values cannot be public. Attempts to access those files cause ASP.NET to return the 403: Access Forbidden error. ASP.NET uses these web.config configuration files at runtime to compute hierarchically a sole collection of settings for every URL target request. These settings compute only once and cached across further requests. ASP.NET automatically checks for changing file settings and do not validate the cache if any of the configuration changes made.