Single Sign on (SSO) using Cookie in ASP.Net

I would like to give a brief overview of how to use cookie to implement Single Sign on(SSO) in asp.net web application.


There are various ways to use Single Sign On (SSO) in asp.net web application. We can use cookies, session (state server), SAML and web services etc. Now we would like to give a brief overview of how to use cookie to implement Single Sign on(SSO) in asp.net web application.

Assume that we have two web application hosted on different virtual directory but under same domain. As for example, our root domain is:

http://www.cookietest.com and

Other two virtual directory hosted under this domain are

http://www.cookietest.com/cookiesite1/Login.aspx
http://www.cookietest.com/cookiesite2/Default.aspx

If we login successfully in cookiesite1 then it writes the login information in cookie and now opens another tab or a new window in same browser (IE, FF whatever you like). Place this address http://www.cookietest.com/cookiesite2/Default.aspx in address bar logged in automatically in cookiesite2. When we try to access in cookiesite2 -> Default.aspx it checks the login information from cookie. If desired value found in cookie then you logged in automatically. Remember you need to enable cookie in your browser for all of these activities. 

Configuration:

1. Web.Config

Before coding we need to some configure in our web.config file. Though cookiesite1 and cookiesite2 are in different virtual directory their web.config file must contains the same machine validationKey, decryptionKey and validation.

Like this,

<machineKey validationKey="282487E295028E59B8F411ACB689CCD6F39DDD21E6055A3EE480424315994760A
DF21B580D8587DB675FA02F79167413044E25309CCCDB647174D5B3D0DD9141
"
decryptionKey="8B6697227CBCA902B1A0925D40FAA00B353F2DF4359D2099"
validation="SHA1" />

2. IIS

In IIS->Directory security tab add the "ASPNET Machine Account" user and set the full rights. 

Coding:

Write cookie after login complete:

Place this code in cookiesite1->Login.aspx.cs

if (login_Successful)
{
    //Create a new cookie, passing the name into the constructor
    HttpCookie cookie = new HttpCookie("strCookieName");
    //Set the cookies value
    cookie.Value ="set_cookie_value";
    //Set the cookie to expire in 5 minute
    DateTime dtNow = DateTime.Now;
    TimeSpan tsMinute = new TimeSpan(0, 0, 5, 0);
    cookie.Expires = dtNow + tsMinute;
    //Add the cookie
    Response.Cookies.Add(cookie);
    Response.Write("Cookie written. ");
}

Check cookie exist or not on page_load

Place this code in cookiesite2->Default.aspx.cs

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
    //Grab the cookie
    HttpCookie cookie = Request.Cookies["strCookieName"];
    //Check to make sure the cookie exists
    if (cookie != null)
    {
        ReadCookie();
    }
    else
    {
        lblCookie.Text = "Cookie not found. ";
    }
}

Read cookie when page load:

Add this method in cookiesite2->Default.aspx.cs

protected void ReadCookie()
{
    //Get the cookie name the user entered
    //Grab the cookie
    HttpCookie cookie = Request.Cookies["strCookieName"];
    //Check to make sure the cookie exists
    if (cookie == null)
    {
        lblCookie.Text = "Cookie not found. ";
    }
    else
    {
        //Write the cookie value
        String strCookieValue = cookie.Value.ToString();
        lblCookie.Text = "The cookie contains: " + strCookieValue + "";
    }
}

Test the application under localhost/or under your domain..