“System” process bound to port 80 in Windows: “Can not obtain ownership information”

I have a port forwarded from another host to my local port 80. Of course this is occasionally problematic as I have other things that also want to use port 80. Unfortunately, I have some projects that embed some URLs to point to port 80. So, I simply stop and start the various port 80 services as required. Unfortunately, sometimes everything is fine and other times I end-up with port 80 being bound by an unidentifiable running process seemingly no matter how often I restart, even when I’ve made sure that there are no port-80 sites in my IIS. I inexplicably don’t often run into this problem (it seems like I should).

netstat indicates that a process with PID 4 is bound to it but can’t give me its name (this is an elevated prompt):


TCPView says that it’s actual “System” (read: Windows):


However, it turns out that it’s the “World Wide Web Publishing Service”. Turn it off (or disable it, sue Microsoft for damages, etc..):



You’ll be all set. Why does this service want port 80 when none of my sites are configured to use port 80? We’ll file it under “$!?!!%” for now.