Thursday 5 July 2012

Self-hosted WCF service, using Windows Authentication, running under a user account

So here is the summary.

If you have a self-hosted WCF service, running under a user account, authenticating clients using Windows Authentication, which is coded manually (not using configuration) you must follow the rules in order to avoid the dreaded 401 Unauthorized errors.

1. The service endpoint must specify a UPN

  var endpointAddress = new EndpointAddress(
                new Uri(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["WebServiceUrl"]),

2. The client needs to connect using the same UPN. In other words it needs to pass the user account name that the server is running under.

var channelFactory = new ChannelFactory<IVolumeService>(
                new EndpointAddress(new Uri(connection.Url) 
EndpointIdentity.CreateUpnIdentity("the user account name that the server is running under")));

If you generated a normal service with a Metadata endpoint, you would see this in the WSDL:

<Identity xmlns="">

And if you generated a client from the WSDL you'd see this hidden somewhere in the client proxy.

The UPN would be the user name of the domain account under which the server was running. The server validates what the client sends to ensure they can both trust each other before it tries to raise a Kerberos ticket.

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