This article describes how to create a permanent user login session in ASP.NET. The sample code includes an ASP.NET MVC4 project to control the user registration and login process. But you can use this technique in any type of ASP.NET project.
Before getting into the depth of this article, you must be familiar with forms authentication in ASP.NET. The configuration of form authentication resides in web.config file which has the following configuration-file fragment with the assigned values.
The default values are described below:
loginUrl points to your application's custom logon page. You should place the logon page in a folder that requires Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This helps ensure the integrity of the credentials when they are passed from the browser to the Web server.
protection is set to
All to specify privacy and integrity for the forms authentication ticket. This causes the authentication ticket to be encrypted using the algorithm specified on the
machineKey element, and to be signed using the hashing algorithm that is also specified on the
timeout is used to specify a limited lifetime for the forms authentication session. The default value is 30 minutes. If a persistent forms authentication cookie is issued, the
timeout attribute is also used to set the lifetime of the persistent cookie.
path are set to the values defined in the application's configuration file.
requireSSL is set to
false. This configuration means that authentication cookies can be transmitted over channels that are not SSL-encrypted. If you are concerned about session hijacking, you should consider setting
slidingExpiration is set to
true to enforce a sliding session lifetime. This means that the session timeout is periodically reset as long as a user stays active on the site.
defaultUrl is set to the Default.aspx page for the application.
cookieless is set to
enableCrossAppRedirects is set to
false to indicate that forms authentication does not support automatic processing of tickets that are passed between applications on the query string or as part of a form
This method creates an authentication ticket for the supplied user name and adds it to the cookies collection of the response, or to the URL if you are using cookieless authentication. The first overload of this function has two parameters:
userName: The name of the authenticated user
True to create a persistent cookie (one that is saved across browser sessions); otherwise,
This method add a cookie or persistent cookie to the browser with an expire time set in "
timeOut" parameter with the name and path set in "
name" and "
path" parameter. The user will be automatically logged out once the cookie is expired. So the user login session depends on the expire of forms authentication ticket saved in browser cookie. Here, I will create a permanent user login session using this technique.
The functionality of this class is to add a form authentication ticket to the browser cookie collection with a life time expiry.
public sealed class CookieHelper
private HttpRequestBase _request;
private HttpResponseBase _response;
public CookieHelper(HttpRequestBase request,
_request = request;
_response = response;
public void SetLoginCookie(string userName,string password,bool isPermanentCookie)
if (_response != null)
FormsAuthenticationTicket userAuthTicket =
new FormsAuthenticationTicket(1, userName, DateTime.Now,
DateTime.MaxValue, true, password, FormsAuthentication.FormsCookiePath);
string encUserAuthTicket = FormsAuthentication.Encrypt(userAuthTicket);
HttpCookie userAuthCookie = new HttpCookie
if (userAuthTicket.IsPersistent) userAuthCookie.Expires =
userAuthCookie.Path = FormsAuthentication.FormsCookiePath;
This function is used in login page or control on the click of login button. In the attached sample project, the following function is written in
AccountController class. This function validates the login of the user and then add a permanent form authentication ticket to the browser.
private bool Login(string userName, string password,bool rememberMe)
if (Membership.ValidateUser(userName, password))
CookieHelper newCookieHelper =
newCookieHelper.SetLoginCookie(userName, password, rememberMe);
Points of Interest
So in this way, you can control the forms authentication ticket to control the login session of a user.
- 9th October, 2011: Initial post