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Authenticate .NET Web Service with Custom SOAP Header

, 29 Jun 2008 CPOL
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How to authenticate .NET web service with custom SOAP Header


Many of us want to secure the calls to our web services, right?

There are so many ways to do this, one of them is to use custom SOAP header.

Using this method we simply add a required SOAP header to our web services calls.

We embed the SOAP header into our message and validate its contents on the server.

If the SOAP header validation done successfully, the web server sends the web service response to the consumer.

Pretty simple, right?

Using the Code

Now let’s see how to do this in visual studio:

/// <summary>
/// Summary description for SOAPHeaderService
/// </summary>
[WebService(Namespace = "")]
[WebServiceBinding(Name = "TestService",ConformsTo = WsiProfiles.BasicProfile1_1)]
public class SOAPHeaderService : System.Web.Services.WebService
    public SOAPHeaderService()
        //Uncomment the following line if using designed components 

Notice that the “WebServiceBinding” attribute has the “Name” argument set to “TestService”, I’ll explain this later.

Now, I write the custom SOAP header that I want to include in the SOAP message.
To do this I’ll create a class inherited from “System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHeader” , and I’ll but the required properties in it.

public class UserCredentials : System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHeader
    public string userName;
    public string password;

Let’s add instance from that header in our service:

public class SOAPHeaderService : System.Web.Services.WebService
    // Visual studio will append a "UserCredentialsValue" property to the proxy class
    public UserCredentials consumer;

Note that the Visual Studio will create a property in web service proxy called “UserCredentialsValue” which will map the “consumerpublic property in the web service.

Now we had to write a “Web Method” that uses that header in messaging.

    [SoapDocumentMethod(Binding = "TestService")]
    public string GetBalance()
        if (checkConsumer())
            return consumer.userName + " had 10000000 credit";
            return "Error in authentication";

    private bool checkConsumer()
        // In this method you can check the username and password 
        // with your database or something
        // You could also encrypt the password for more security
        if (consumer != null)
            if (consumer.userName == "Ahmed" && consumer.password == "1234")
                return true;
                return false;
            return false;

Note that I have added the “Binding” value to that I had used in declaring my service.

Also I declared the SOAP header that method will require when called, as long as declaring it with required.

Now, the only thing is remaining is to call the service with the SOAP header:

SOAPHeaderService.SOAPHeaderService service = new SOAPHeaderService.SOAPHeaderService();
SOAPHeaderService.UserCredentials user = new SOAPHeaderService.UserCredentials();

  user.userName = "Ahmed";
  user.password = "1234";

 service.UserCredentialsValue = user;


We just get reference to the service and the SOAP header, assign the SOAP header properties, attach it with the SOAP message and then make our call to the web method.

This is the console result after calling the service with username = “Ahmed” and password = “1234


This one with other data:


Points of Interest

Securing their web services is a thing that many developers ignore while they are working; they relay that on that is a difficult and nasty task.

In the fact securing web service is all about understand the messaging layer and the protocols, you just need to go a little more deep and then you will find it is a very simple task.

I’ll post ISA about the other techniques to secure web services.


  • 30th June, 2008: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Ahmed Shokr
Architect INC Technologies
Kuwait Kuwait
+7 years of experience in designing and implementing Microsoft Based Solutions.
+5 years of experience in SharePoint implementations from MCMS 2002 to the latest version.
+3 years of experience as presales and technology advisory.
Strong analytic, design and client facing skills.
Strong record in consultation and presales with associated Gulf business understanding and market analysis.
Worked closely with Microsoft Kuwait & Qatar Offices SSPs, PTAs, PAMs and SAMs.
Extensive experience in BizTalk Server 2009, SSAS, PerformancePoint Services and Excel Services.
Active member in the Virtual Technology Specialist and Customer Immersion Experience programs.
Strong record in team leading and projects supervision.

Comments and Discussions

Questionuseful PinmemberOscarw22-Apr-14 5:33 
QuestionThis is driving me nuts. PinmemberCodes With Wolves2-Apr-14 5:22 
QuestionWeb services in PowerBuilder Pinmemberdeise_3020-Feb-13 8:01 
Questionhow to add soap headers to the xml generated from webservice Pinmemberanandsurya13-Apr-12 4:33 
Questionsoap headers are not added Pinmemberanandsurya13-Apr-12 4:28 
QuestionMyVote of 4 PinmemberAlireza_136212-Apr-12 3:05 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pinmemberquadirsaifee11-Oct-10 10:18 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pinmembermuhammadsaad1-Jul-10 8:51 
QuestionAuthentication web service client and PHP nusoap web service Server. Pinmembernik0072612-Nov-09 23:33 
QuestionInserting a single node custom SOAP Header in auto generated Proxy services. Pinmemberselvasenthil10-Sep-08 11:05 
Generalinteroperability Issues [modified] Pinmembermtbbiker18-Aug-08 10:00 
QuestionAdvantages for using custom soap headers Pinmembervchauhan_me10-Aug-08 20:10 
AnswerRe: Advantages for using custom soap headers PinmemberAhmed Shokr10-Aug-08 23:45 
Dear Vinayak,
You can force your web services callers to use a custom SOAP headers that contains information you need to identify them, such as Application key, user name and password or any data that makes you know who they are.
That's just a simple idea about using SOAP headers.
You are most welcomed Smile | :)
Ahmed M. Shokr
Senior Software Engineer | Safat Enterprise Solutions

GeneralRe: Advantages for using custom soap headers Pinmembervchauhan_me11-Aug-08 0:01 
Generalشغل حلو PinmemberBuaziz7-Jul-08 22:20 
GeneralRe: شغل حلو PinmemberAhmed Shokr9-Jul-08 13:24 
GeneralComments PinmemberRavenet30-Jun-08 17:10 
GeneralRe: Comments PinmemberAhmed Shokr30-Jun-08 19:49 
GeneralRe: Comments PinmemberRavenet30-Jun-08 20:35 
QuestionGRIDVIEW Operations PinmemberPradeep Kulkarni30-Jun-08 6:32 
AnswerRe: GRIDVIEW Operations PinmemberAhmed Shokr30-Jun-08 22:17 
GeneralUsing Spring.NET and AOP Pinmembermrxl30-Jun-08 5:14 

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