I have a number of customer who have asked me this, so i thought i would blog it in case anyone else wanted to know.
If you want to create top level sites in the root of one of your WSS Virtual Servers E.g. /TopLevelSite1″>http://<servername>/TopLevelSite1, /TopLevelSite2″>http://<servername>/TopLevelSite2 etc… here are the steps you need to follow:
Starting with an un-extended virtual server.
Extend the virtual server using the STSAdm.exe tool using the -donotcreatesite switch.
E.g. stsadm -o extendvs -url http://servername –donotcreatesite
This will extend the virtual server and not create a root top level site. This is really important.
Go into the configuration settings for the newly extended virtual server in the central administration pages. Go into Managed Paths and add ‘/’ as a managed path.
Now you can go back into the central administration pages and create a new top level site under the path ‘/’.
The key to all this is to extend the VS using the STSAdm tool … not the central administration pages. You dont get the choice of not creating the root site when you extend if you use the HTML admin pages … and that will stop you from adding the ‘/’ root managed path.