How to Use C# to Properly Follow OAuth Authentication Flows

OAuth (Open Authorization) is a widely adopted standard for access delegation, allowing third-party applications to obtain limited access to a web service on behalf of a user. Understanding and implementing OAuth flows properly is crucial for ensuring secure and effective authentication and authorization in your applications. In this article, we will guide you through the process of using C# to follow OAuth authentication flows properly.

Understanding OAuth Flows

OAuth provides several flows, each designed for different use cases. The most common flows include:

  1. Authorization Code Flow: Suitable for server-side applications.
  2. Implicit Flow: Used for client-side applications, although it’s now discouraged in favor of more secure methods.
  3. Resource Owner Password Credentials Flow: Useful in highly trusted applications but not recommended for public clients.
  4. Client Credentials Flow: Ideal for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

For this article, we will focus on the Authorization Code Flow, as it is the most secure and widely used method for web applications.


Before we dive into the implementation, ensure you have the following:

  • A registered application with your OAuth provider (e.g., Google, Microsoft, etc.).
  • Client ID and Client Secret provided by your OAuth provider.
  • Redirect URI set up in your OAuth provider settings.

Step-by-Step Implementation in C

1. Setting Up Your Project

First, create a new C# project. You can use .NET Core or .NET Framework based on your preference. For this example, we will use a .NET Core console application.

dotnet new console -n OAuthDemo
cd OAuthDemo

2. Install Required Packages

To handle OAuth in C#, we will use the IdentityModel library, which provides useful methods for OAuth and OpenID Connect (OIDC).

dotnet add package IdentityModel

3. Define OAuth Configuration

Create a configuration class to store your OAuth settings.

public class OAuthConfig
    public string ClientId { get; set; }
    public string ClientSecret { get; set; }
    public string AuthorizationEndpoint { get; set; }
    public string TokenEndpoint { get; set; }
    public string RedirectUri { get; set; }
    public string Scope { get; set; }

4. Implement Authorization Code Flow

  1. Request Authorization Code

The first step is to direct the user to the authorization endpoint to obtain an authorization code.

public static void RequestAuthorizationCode(OAuthConfig config)
    var authorizationRequest = new RequestUrl(config.AuthorizationEndpoint).CreateAuthorizeUrl(
        clientId: config.ClientId,
        responseType: "code",
        scope: config.Scope,
        redirectUri: config.RedirectUri,
        state: Guid.NewGuid().ToString("N"));

    Console.WriteLine("Please navigate to the following URL and authorize the application:");
  1. Exchange Authorization Code for Access Token

After the user authorizes the application, they will be redirected to the specified redirect URI with an authorization code. You need to exchange this code for an access token.

public static async Task<string> ExchangeCodeForTokenAsync(OAuthConfig config, string code)
    var client = new HttpClient();

    var tokenResponse = await client.RequestAuthorizationCodeTokenAsync(new AuthorizationCodeTokenRequest
        Address = config.TokenEndpoint,
        ClientId = config.ClientId,
        ClientSecret = config.ClientSecret,
        Code = code,
        RedirectUri = config.RedirectUri

    if (tokenResponse.IsError)
        return null;

    return tokenResponse.AccessToken;
  1. Use the Access Token

With the access token, you can now access protected resources on behalf of the user.

public static async Task AccessProtectedResourceAsync(string accessToken, string resourceUrl)
    var client = new HttpClient();

    var response = await client.GetAsync(resourceUrl);

    if (!response.IsSuccessStatusCode)
        Console.WriteLine($"Error: {response.StatusCode}");

    var content = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
    Console.WriteLine("Protected resource content:");

5. Putting It All Together

Here’s how you can tie everything together in your Main method.

public static async Task Main(string[] args)
    var config = new OAuthConfig
        ClientId = "your-client-id",
        ClientSecret = "your-client-secret",
        AuthorizationEndpoint = "",
        TokenEndpoint = "",
        RedirectUri = "",
        Scope = "your-scope"


    Console.WriteLine("Enter the authorization code:");
    var code = Console.ReadLine();

    var accessToken = await ExchangeCodeForTokenAsync(config, code);

    if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(accessToken))
        await AccessProtectedResourceAsync(accessToken, "");


Following OAuth flows correctly in C# ensures secure and efficient authentication and authorization in your applications. By understanding the steps involved in the Authorization Code Flow and using the IdentityModel library, you can implement OAuth securely in your C# projects. Always ensure to follow best practices, such as storing secrets securely and handling tokens properly to maintain the security of your application.

2 thoughts on “How to Use C# to Properly Follow OAuth Authentication Flows

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