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How to configure SSL in ASP.NET

How to configure SSL in ASP.NET
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How to configure SSL in ASP.NET

In this article, we will learn how to configure SSL in ASP.NET step-by-step. Securing your website with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is crucial for protecting sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card information. In this article, we will go over the steps to configure SSL in an ASP.NET Core website.

How to setup HTTPS in ASP.NET applications

1- Obtain an SSL certificate

The first step in configuring SSL is to obtain a certificate from a trusted certificate authority (CA). This certificate will be used to encrypt the connection between the client and server.

There are several ways to obtain an SSL certificate, including:

  • Purchase from a Certificate Authority (CA): One of the most common ways to obtain an SSL certificate is to purchase one from a reputable CA. Some popular CAs include DigiCert, GlobalSign, and Comodo. When purchasing a certificate, you will need to provide your domain name and some information about your organization. The CA will then verify your identity and issue the certificate.
  • Generate a self-signed certificate: Another option is to generate a self-signed certificate. This is useful for testing purposes, but not recommended for production use as a self-signed certificate is not trusted by browsers.
  • Use a free SSL service like Let’s Encrypt: Another option is to obtain a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, which is a free, automated, and open certificate authority that provides SSL/TLS certificates to enable HTTPS on the web.
  • Use Cloud Providers: Some cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP have their own certificate manager that allows you to generate and manage SSL certificates for your applications.

I’ll create a new web application and choose to generate a self-signed certificate for this article to enable you to follow along without purchasing CAs. So run the following command to generate a certificate file for you.

dotnet dev-certs https -ep certificate.pfx -p password

You can replace the certificate.pfx with a custom path and use a different password.

To avoid privacy errors like this:

How to configure SSL in ASP.NET

You can run the following command afterward: 

dotnet dev-certs https --trust

This command only works for Windows if you are a Linux user, visit this link.

Once you have obtained an SSL certificate, you will need to install it on your server and configure your website to use it. By the way, did you know that we offer a unique and powerful online course that boosts your C# career? Check it out here!

 

2- Configure your website to use SSL

In the Program.cs file of your ASP.NET Core project, you will need to configure the app to use SSL. You can do this by adding the following code in the Configure method:

app.UseHttpsRedirection();

This will automatically redirect all HTTP requests to HTTPS.

3- Provide the SSL certificate

In the same Program.cs file, you will need to provide the SSL certificate to the app. This can be done by adding the following code after var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args); and before var app = builder.Build();:

 

Make sure to replace the placeholder ./certificate.pfx with the actual path to your SSL certificate and password with the certificate’s password.

4- Test your SSL configuration

After configuring your website to use SSL, it is important to test the configuration to ensure that it is working properly. You can do this by accessing your website using the https:// protocol and checking for the padlock icon in the browser’s address bar.

How to configure SSL in ASP.NET

5- Keep your SSL certificate up to date

SSL certificates have expiration dates; make sure to renew the certificate before it expires to avoid any interruption in service.

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How Does HTTPS Work?

HTTPS (HTTP Secure) protocol establishes a secure connection between a web server and a web browser. HTTPS is built on top of the standard HTTP protocol and uses SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) to encrypt the data that is being transmitted between the server and browser.

Here’s a brief overview of the HTTPS process:

  • The web browser (client) sends a request to the webserver to establish a secure connection.
  • The web server sends back its SSL/TLS certificate, which includes the server’s public key.
  • The web browser verifies the authenticity of the SSL/TLS certificate by checking it against a list of trusted certificate authorities (CA).
  • Once the certificate is verified, the web browser and server initiate the SSL/TLS handshake process.
  • The web browser and server agree on a set of encryption methods and then create a unique symmetric key that will be used to encrypt all data transmitted between them.
  • Once the SSL/TLS session is established, the web browser will send an HTTP request over the secure SSL/TLS connection.
  • The web server will process the request and send back an HTTP response, which is also encrypted using the symmetric key.
  • The web browser will then decrypt the response and display the content to the user.

Conclusion

By following these steps, you can configure SSL on your ASP.NET Core website and ensure that sensitive information is protected while in transit. It is important to keep in mind that maintaining the security of your website is an ongoing process and requires regular monitoring and updates.

With HTTPS, all data transmitted between the browser and server is encrypted, ensuring that it cannot be intercepted or read by any third party, making it much more secure than regular HTTP. Websites that use HTTPS are also identified by a padlock icon in the browser’s address bar and the prefix “https” in the URL.

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