Integrate Ws-Federation into Asp.Net Core

By | Sep 18, 2018

To Integrate Ws-Federation into .Net Core is straight forward although the documentation of this topic is really lacking. In the article below I have some code snippets showing how to do the integration.

Add the following NuGet packages. At the time of writing this article this Nuget packages required .net core 2.1.0.

  • Microsoft.AspNetCore.Authentication.Cookies
  • Microsoft.AspNetCore.Authentication.WsFederation

The following code needs to be added to the ConfigureServices method within the Startup.cs file. You can obviously break it out into its own method / class to keep the code cleaner but for example sake I am showing as part of the ConfigureServices method.

To Integrate with a IP-STS you need the following:

  • Realm
  • Issuer of the IP-STS certificate
  • Metadata address to the IP-STS

Examples of IP-STS:

  • Azure Active Directory
  • ADFS
  • Federated Ping
  • Okta
  • Site Minder

The implementation

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
services.Configure(options =>
// This lambda determines whether user consent for non-essential cookies is needed for a given request.
options.CheckConsentNeeded = context => true;
options.MinimumSameSitePolicy = SameSiteMode.None;

services.AddAuthentication(sharedOptions =>
sharedOptions.DefaultScheme = CookieAuthenticationDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
sharedOptions.DefaultSignInScheme = CookieAuthenticationDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
sharedOptions.DefaultChallengeScheme = WsFederationDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
}).AddWsFederation(wsFedOptions =>
//RP realm - normally this is the client FQDN unless a realm is given to the RP by the STS
wsFedOptions.Wtrealm = "";
//certificate issuer something like 'CN = COMODO RSA Domain Validation Secure Server CA O = COMODO CA Limited L = Salford S = Greater Manchester C = GB'
wsFedOptions.TokenValidationParameters.ValidIssuer = "";
//url to sts metadata
wsFedOptions.MetadataAddress = "https://server/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml";
}).AddCookie(cookieOptions =>
cookieOptions.Cookie.Name = "FedAuth"; //the name of the cookie you wish to use
cookieOptions.Cookie.HttpOnly = true; //indicates the cookie can not be accessed by client scripts

cookieOptions.Events = new CookieAuthenticationEvents
// event where you can hook in if you need to do aditional validation after the principal has been retrieved from the cookie.
OnValidatePrincipal = AdditionalValidation


The method below is where you can add validation or extend the principal once its received.

public static async Task AdditionalValidation(CookieValidatePrincipalContext context)
if (context != null && context.Request != null)
ClaimsPrincipal userPrincipal = context.Principal;

// Add additional validation here or extend the identity of the claims principal here.

The WS-federation authentication handler will only kick in once access control has been implemented. As an example I added the authorize attribute to the home controller to force a redirect to the IP-STS.

public class HomeController : Controller

Once authenticated the user details can be accessed via the ClaimsPrincipal class or via the HttpContext. Below is just some code as a example.

await WriteHtmlAsync(context.Response, async response =>
await response.WriteAsync($"Hello Authenticated User {HtmlEncode(user.Identity.Name)}
await response.WriteAsync("<a class="\"btn" href="\"/restricted\"">Restricted</a>");
await response.WriteAsync("<a class="\"btn" href="\"/signout\"">Sign Out</a>");
await response.WriteAsync("<a class="\"btn" href="\"/signout-remote\"">Sign Out Remote</a>");
await response.WriteAsync("
await WriteTableHeader(response, new string[] { "Claim Type", "Value" }, context.User.Claims.Select(c => new string[] { c.Type, c.Value }));


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10 months ago

This helped me a fair amount in getting started with ws-federation with dotnet core. However, I don’t have a federation metadata file and I defined the token endpoint, wrealm, etc. After the security token from my federation provider gets validated, the updated claimsprincipal are not applied to my httpcontext. This causes a circular loop of having my client not be authenticated, requiring the federation server to send an updated security token, which gets validated, then lost. I see that a cookie is getting generated, but it doesn’t appear to get attached to the HttpContext. Any ideas what might be missing

10 months ago
Reply to  bogertron

The problem was not in the WS-Federation configuration, it was with the dotnet core Configure call. This link [] pointed me in the right direction.