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IdentityServer – pros and cons


Oct 31, 2019 - 2 minute read

Paweł Wichary
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TL;DR: IdentityServer is a set of services and middleware which incorporated into an ASP.NET Core app creates an authentication server. A good practice is to host this server as a separate entity. All in all, IdentityServer is a very good tool – within minutes/hours you can have a server up and running that agrees with OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect. You get an SSO for various apps.

IdentityServer Pros

  • OAuth 2.0 support (access tokens to resources, namely the sites where a user can allow an app to access the resources using the user’s credentials)
  • Support for all the OAuth 2.0 Flows, i.e. you can easily authorise users in apps such as:
    • websites
    • mobile apps
    • standalone apps
    • IoT devices
    • Gaming consoles like Xbox
  • OpenID Connect support (user authentication tokens)
  • Server configuration via a code (configuration as a code)
  • Smooth integration with .NET Core, plus you get to code everything using C#
  • Very useful documentation (with examples)
  • Implements many specifications
  • C# developers proficient in using OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect will be very effective
  • It has templates that form the basis of a code (using CLI)
  • The template code is a great base for a server that grants SSO to users in-memory (hardcode). Alternatively, you can get a user pool from a database, but you have to develop this feature
  • Perfect for situations when you have various apps that can use one authentication server
  • Easily extendable if you need to have:
    • Ability to log-in from another service
    • ‘Remind password based on XYZ’ functionality
    • Some other feature because in the end all is based on .NET Core

IdentityServer Cons

  • The server’s code template lacks:
    • user registration
    • ‘forgot password’ functionality
    • MFA
    • Google Recaptcha
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Paweł Wichary
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