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Posted 28 Dec 2009

Handling Cookies with Redirects and HttpWebRequest

, 28 Dec 2009
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The HttpWebRequest handles redirects automatically. That's usually a nice feature but it can actually get in the way when the web server is setting cookies in the same response in which it is sending a redirect.

The HttpWebRequest handles redirects automatically. That's usually a nice feature but it can actually get in the way when the web server is setting cookies in the same response in which it is sending a redirect. For some odd reason the HttpWebRequest object will totally discard cookies that are set with a redirect response. I ran into a problem with this when I was working in some code that interfaced to Google Voice and it was driving me crazy since I didn't know where the problem was coming from.

Once I figured out what was happening, the solution to the problem was simple. The first step is to disable the class's automatic response to redirect request. When a response is returned from the class, it's necessary to check the response to see if it includes a redirect and if so create a new request. Since a redirect could occur more than once, it is necessary to do this in a loop. With each new WebRequest that is created, it is necessary to set the CookiesContainer member.

A simplified version of my code looks like the following:

HttpWebRequest GetNewRequest(string targetUrl)
     HttpWebRequest request = (HttpWebRequest)HttpWebRequest.Create(targetUrl);
     request.CookieContainer = SessionCookieContainer;
     request.AllowAutoRedirect = false;
     return request;

HttpWebRequest request = GetNewRequest(targetUrl);
HttpWebResponse response= (HttpWebResponse)request.GetResponse();

while (response.StatusCode == HttpStatusCode.Found)
     request = GetNewRequest(response.Headers["Location"]);
     response= (HttpWebResponse)request.GetResponse();

//--At this point the redirected response is ready to be used

Trying to perform this same thing on the .NET Compact Framework is a little more challenging since it doesn't support cookies at all. I'll discuss the solution I used in another post within the next few days.


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


About the Author

Joel Ivory Johnson
Software Developer Razorfish
United States United States
I attended Southern Polytechnic State University and earned a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and later returned to earn a Masters of Science in Software Engineering.

For the past few years I've been providing solutions to clients using Microsoft technologies for web and Windows applications.

While most of my articles are centered around Windows Phone it is only one of the areas in which I work and one of my interests. I also have interest in mobile development on Android and iPhone. Professionally I work with several Microsoft technologies including SQL Server technologies, Silverlight/WPF, ASP.Net and others. My recreational development interest are centered around Artificial Inteligence especially in the area of machine vision.


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Comments and Discussions

QuestionSimplest way Pin
Jols10016-May-14 12:30
memberJols10016-May-14 12:30 
QuestionManaged to handle this with less code Pin
Ido Flatow12-May-13 4:01
memberIdo Flatow12-May-13 4:01 
AnswerRe: Managed to handle this with less code Pin
johan wettstrom11-Jul-13 12:11
memberjohan wettstrom11-Jul-13 12:11 
QuestionCompact Framework Pin
amura.cxg23-Apr-13 15:53
memberamura.cxg23-Apr-13 15:53 
Hi therem
In your article you mention that you had a solution for this in CF and that you would post it at some point. As far as I can tell you never did post that article. Would you be willing to send me your solution? I am currently having issues with this exact problem and any help would greatly be appreciated.
SuggestionHad to manually add the response cookie Pin
xbertx16-Apr-12 23:46
memberxbertx16-Apr-12 23:46 
QuestionThx man! It was drving me crazy... Pin
yuval123428-Jun-11 7:28
memberyuval123428-Jun-11 7:28 
GeneralNice finding! Pin
Sohel_Rana28-Dec-09 3:57
memberSohel_Rana28-Dec-09 3:57 

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