I use .NET cookie based authentication and authorisation on the .NET side of https://osr4rightstools.org/. There is a separate VM running Apache / PHP which runs the /fire-map side.

We need some way of authentication and authorising users on the PHP side.

It is a low traffic site, and here I’d like to show a simple way of accomplishing what we need.


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.NET creates an authentication cookie called .AspNetCore.Cookies which is encrypted using a key on the server side. I store this encryption key in a shared drive on Azure so that rebuilding the VM doesn’t delete the encryption key. Otherwise users would be logged out automatically after every vm rebuild.

Authentication cookie lasts for 2 weeks

The code for setting this cookie is in my login.html.cs file and explained in https://andrewlock.net/exploring-the-cookieauthenticationmiddleware-in-asp-net-core/

Use the DB

Conceptually I can read the cookie from PHP side as I’m on the same domain:

Name: .AspNetCore.Cookies
Value: CfDJ8E3QvFTfjVJMpjdSl5cfjIYBk_vmRLXYID3ozWnMqkjufHMaVBOSfCzJgYgrLCo2XgskrGPdDN3vP_Qk52kTy_ywAsXYOYnoiHVRxxzN8...

If I store this value in my database when I do a login on .NET side, then I can infer what I need to know

DB Table picture

So I’m not decrypting the cookie, but using the CookieValue to lookup in my database.

PHP Side

Install MSSQL Driver

Need PHP 7.4 for latest version of PHP drivers for SQL Server. Ubuntu 20.04 is good, 21.04 and 21.10 (so not the latest 22.04.1 LTS!)

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Require or Include for every page

As we’re not using the inbuilt

// usercode eg 101


The browser deletes it automatically and wont send, so we would just be prompted to login again, which would issue a new cookie which will create/update the Cookie table for that user.

So a

Multiple logins from different browsers

The cookie value remains the same.

Sessions / Idempotency

I’m not using any sort of state between requests. The cookie just proves who is logged in (authenticaton) and what what they are allowed to access (authorisation)

Decrypt Key PHP code

I could decrypt the cookie using PHP as I’ve got the decryption key available on a shared drive. But I couldn’t easily figure this out.

Nginx to check authentication

Essentially using OAuth2 with JWT tokens. OpenID connect etc.. For a larger scale system with heavier load I would use this.

nginx docs