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AuthenticationSection Class

Configures the authentication for a Web application. This class cannot be inherited.

Namespace:  System.Web.Configuration
Assembly:  System.Web (in System.Web.dll)

public sealed class AuthenticationSection : ConfigurationSection

The AuthenticationSection class provides a way to programmatically access and modify the authentication section of a configuration file.


The AuthenticationSection can write information into the related section of the configuration file according to the restrictions defined by the section property AllowDefinition whose value is MachineToApplication. Any attempt to write in a configuration file at a level not allowed in the hierarchy will result in an error message generated by the parser. However, you can use this class to read configuration information at any level in the hierarchy. For safety and scalability, it is recommended that you use an external repository, such as a database, to keep the users' credentials.

This section provides two code examples. The first demonstrates how to specify values declaratively for several attributes of the authentication section, which can also be accessed as members of the AuthenticationSection class. The second demonstrates how to use the AuthenticationSection class.

The following configuration file example shows how to specify values declaratively for the authentication section.


If you use the credentials section, be sure to follow the guidelines explained at ASP.NET Authentication. For scalability and better security, it is recommended the use of an external database to store the users' credentials. For more information about building secure ASP.NET applications search the Microsoft MSDN Web site ( for "Securing Your ASP.NET Application", and "Building Secure ASP.NET Applications: Authentication, Authorization, and Secure Communication".

<authentication mode="Forms">
  <forms name="MyAppCookieName" loginUrl="login.aspx">
    <credentials passwordFormat="SHA1">
      <user name="Kim"
      <user name="John"

The following code example demonstrates how to use the AuthenticationSection class.

// Get the Web application configuration.
System.Configuration.Configuration configuration =

// Get the section.
AuthenticationSection authenticationSection =

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0