What is an ASPX file?

We look at what this web file does and how it can be viewed...

Web URLs

Websites are complicated, and involve a large number of configuration files to operate. One type of configuration file is ASPX files, which stands for Active Server Pages. They're used by web servers running Microsoft's ASP.NET server-side web application framework, and essentially tell the browser which elements (including text, images, Javascript and other assets) to fetch from the server.

Using a server-side server as opposed to a client-side framework (such as Javascript-based frameworks like Angular, React and Ember) means that the performance of a web page is not dependant on the processing power of the user's device, and allow pages to be programmed in languages other than Javascript.

ASPX files are entirely used for back-end configurations - unless they're using them to configure a web server, users shouldn't be seeing or interacting with the ASPX files themselves. If they are, it likely means that something has gone wrong with the server of the web page they're trying to access.

ASPX files, and the ASP.NET framework used to create and run them, are open source, and thus freely available to use. They were developed by Microsoft and the most common method of working with them is via Microsoft's Visual Code Studio software, which is also free and open source, although commercial programmes like Adobe Dreamweaver also support ASP.NET development.

The Common Language Runtime (CLR) lays the foundation for ASP.NET frameworks. This allows developers and programmers to write ASP.NET code using any supported .NET language, ensuring this is an extremely adaptable system.

How to open an ASPX file

ASPX is an uncommon file extension to open in Windows. Often, if such a file is downloaded, it may be another type of file (such as a PDF). In which case, to open it, you could simply rename the file with the correct file name extension. If you were expecting an image, then you can try to rename it with a .jpg file extension.

This problem of this misnaming could be down to a browser plug-in or the browser itself. If this problem keeps happening, it may be best to try the same website but with a different browser (preferably one with a different rendering engine). If you are using Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, try using one of the other three.

Other types of ASPX files (and what to do with them)

If you see in a browser bar a URL with .aspx at the end, this means that the page itself is being run as part of an ASP.NET framework, and there is no need to open it yourself as the browser should do this automatically. The code inside the file is processed by the web server running ASP.NET.

If you need to open and edit a .aspx file, then you can use Microsoft's free Visual Studio to do so. You could also open up such a file using a normal text editor. 

How to convert an ASPX file to PDF

There are few converters that can convert ASPX to PDF, but it can easier be done using a browser such as Chrome. Simply drag the .aspx file onto the browser bar where you enter a URL. This will open up the file in the browser window. Then press ctrl+P to print. In the destination part of the printing window, click on "Change" and select Save as PDF. You can now click on the save button, this will convert the file from .apsx to .pdf.

Image: Shutterstock

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