Windows Authentication For Asp.Net Web App Security

You must have an email account and if you remember, there is two-step verification authentication process in which you need to add your mobile number to get verification code. Then this code is entered by you to login to the account. The main goal of this process is to verify if you actually login to account no one else. Authentication is a simple process to check “who is the person”. It is done with the help of a valid user ID and password on internet or intranet system. After completion of authentication process, system confirms that ID matching.

Windows Authentication

You can think about form authentication if you are using your own process of windows authentication with backend database and a custom page. However, if you are building a web app with limited users who are working in your network domain, you can consider Windows Authentication.

All apps are available in IIS (Internet Information Server). When any user enters web request, it goes directly to the IIS server and offers the authentication process under Windows-based authentication model. This authentication process is helpful in an intranet environment where users are request to login to a network. In this scenario, you can use credentials that you have apply for authorization and authentication process. This is done with the help of IIS. IIS accepts the credentials from the domain login and if the login fails, IIS shows error message and asks to login again.

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How to configure web application for windows authentication?

Here, we are sharing a step-by-step guide to configure web app for windows authentication:

1) Create web app with ASPNETWinAuth name. You will see theWebForm1.aspx file on screen.

2) Go to HTML view of WebForm1.aspx file and replace the existing code with this:


3) Tap on Start. Navigate to Programs>Administrative tools>Internet Information Services.

4) The IIS MMC appears. Go to computer and then expand a web site which uses Windows Authentication.

5) Select ASPNETWinAuth website application.

6) Go to Action and click on Properties.

7) Under Properties, select Directory Security tab.

8) When you select Directory Security, you will see an option of Anonymous access and authentication control, click on Edit.

9) In Authentication methods, select Integrated Windows Authentication.

10) Tap on OK.

11) Go to Properties and tap OK.

ASPNETWinAuth web app is finally configured and it can now accept valid user accounts.

How Windows Authentication is helpful for web development? Is there any limitation of using Windows Authentication?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of Windows Authentication. Let’s highlight each of the benefits first:

  • It depends on users and let them use existing Windows Accounts.
  • Builds the base for a Uniform Authentication model for different types of applications
  • It is easy to implement for developers
  • It allows you to apply impersonation and Windows security

While you are thinking that if Windows Authentication is advantageous for use, let us share a few disadvantages as well:

  • You should know that Windows Authentication is applicable to Microsoft platforms only
  • There is no custom control on this platform offered authentication process
  • It doesn’t offer flexibility

There are five types of Windows Authentication:

  • Basic authentication – It is supported by all browsers. When there is authentication request made by a website using Basic authentication, the web browser shows a login dialog box having user name and password section which will be filled by the user.
  • Digest authentication – This also requires the account information of the user. It uses a login dialog box that is displayed by the browser. However, the user name and password are cryptographically secured with hash. You can implement this authentication by enabling Digest Authentication in IIS setting.
  • UNC- Universal Naming Convention authentication enables you to configure IIS in order to access specified user account while getting into resources on a remote share.
  • Integrated – This is the ultimate mechanism for LAN-WAN-based application. If you and the server are on the same network, you can successfully use this authentication.
  • Anonymous – There is no such need to provide credentials for a remote user to access a file when Anonymous Authentication is enabled.