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The AuthFeature (plugin) already enables the SessionFeature, but if you want to make use of sessions and don’t want to enable the built-in Authentication, you will need to register it manually in your AppHost with:

public override void Configure(Container container)
    Plugins.Add(new SessionFeature());

When the SessionFeature is enabled, a Global RequestFilter is added to ServiceStack to ensure that all requests have a Temporary ss-id and a Permanent ss-pid session cookies set. These Session Cookies contain a unique Random Base64-encoded Id. The ss-opt cookie stores the users preference on whether they want their current session to be temporary (ss-opt=temp) or permanent (ss-opt=perm) - i.e. to RememberMe or not - The Default is Temporary.

Permanent and Temporary Session Ids

The Permanent session cookie ss-pid is always created even if ss-opt is Temporary - this allows you to link and track subsequent requests together which can be helpful for user request analyzing. In contrast the temporary Session Id ss-id uses a temporary cookie that does not persist across a users browser sessions.

If you’re interested in the implementation, all the source code for ServiceStack’s Sessions are kept in the ISession, SessionFeature, SessionFactory, SessionExtensions and ServiceExtensions classes.

Can be used with any ICacheClient

ServiceStack’s implementation of Sessions are clean, in that they work with all of ServiceStack’s Caching Providers and are simply pointers to POCOs in your Cache. An example of getting ServiceStack to use an in-memory cache:

container.Register<ICacheClient>(new MemoryCacheClient());

Formatting of Keys used in Cache Providers

For typed or Custom AuthSession the key is:


When using un-typed Session Bag the key is:


The general recommendation is to use typed sessions, which will give you type-safety benefits as well as being able to fetch your entire users session with a single cache call. If you use the dynamic/session bag then it will be a network call for each key accessed - although as caches are designed for fast-access, this isn’t too much of a concern.

Using Typed Sessions in ServiceStack

An example of using Typed Sessions is in the Social Bootstrap Api demo where a CustomUserSession is defined as:

public class CustomUserSession : AuthUserSession 
    public string CustomId { get; set; }

By inheriting AuthUserSession you’re able to keep all the users session together in 1 POCO, which allows you to access everything in 1 cache read or write.

When inheriting from AuthUserSession you will need to annotate your properties with [DataMember] as AuthUserSession is a DataContract class.

To tell ServiceStack to use your Custom Typed Session instead, register it in the AuthFeature plugin:

Plugins.Add(new AuthFeature(() => new CustomUserSession(), ...));

Session events

Inheriting from the AuthUserSession also lets you add custom logic for different events in the User Session life-cycle:

virtual void OnCreated(IRequest httpReq) {}
virtual void OnRegistered(IServiceBase registrationService) {}
virtual void OnAuthenticated(IServiceBase authService, IAuthSession session, 
    IAuthTokens tokens, Dictionary<string, string> authInfo) {}
virtual void OnLogout(IServiceBase authService) {}

Auth Events

The same authentication hooks that are available in the Custom UserSession above are also available in IAuthEvents API:

public interface IAuthEvents
    void OnRegistered(IRequest req, IAuthSession session, IServiceBase registerService);
    void OnAuthenticated(IRequest req, IAuthSession session, IServiceBase authService, 
        IAuthTokens tokens, Dictionary<string, string> authInfo);
    void OnLogout(IRequest req, IAuthSession session, IServiceBase authService);
    void OnCreated(IRequest req, IAuthSession session);

The new AuthEvents API provide a loose-typed way where plugins can tap into the same hooks by registering it with AuthFeature.AuthEvents, e.g:

public class WebSudoFeature : IPlugin, IAuthEvents
    public void Register(IAppHost appHost)
        var authFeature = appHost.GetPlugin<AuthFeature>();

    // Add implementations of all `IAuthEvents` handlers
    public void OnCreated(IRequest httpReq, IAuthSession session) { ... }

An alternative way for accessing IAuthEvents is to register it like a normal dependency, e.g:


To simplify custom implementations you can inherit from the empty concrete AuthEvents and choose to only implement the callbacks you’re interested in, e.g:

public class LogAuthEvents : AuthEvents
    public static ILog Log = LogManager.GetLogger(typeof(LogAuthEvents));

    public override void OnLogout(IRequest httpReq, IAuthSession session, IServiceBase authService) 
        Log.DebugFormat("User #{0} {1} has logged out", session.UserAuthId, session.UserName);

Accessing Typed Session

You can access your custom UserAuth session inside your service using the SesssionAs<T>() extension method, e.g:

public abstract class MyService : Service 
    public object Get(MyRequest request)
        var typedSession = this.SessionAs<CustomUserSession>();

Adding a Convenience wrapper

To provide a typed, Convenient API for your service you can add the following to a base class, here’s SocialBootstrapApi’s AppServiceBase example:

public abstract class AppServiceBase : Service {
    private CustomUserSession userSession;
    protected CustomUserSession UserSession {
        get {
            return base.SessionAs<CustomUserSession>();

This will then enable you to access your users Session in your ServiceStack services with base.UserSession.

Sharing ServiceStack’s Typed Sessions in MVC and ASP.NET

ASP.NET’s Session Provider model still maintains its old legacy .NET 1.0 roots with it’s heavy XML-encumbered config model, it’s coupled and un-testable API, and its degrading performance limitations by design makes it difficult for any web service framework to share the same User Sessions with the base ASP.NET Web Forms or MVC web host.

ServiceStack gets around these limitations by providing its own de-coupled, testable and dependency-free ICacheClient and ISession APIs - which all work simply together as they’re just plain Guid Session Keys stored in Caches pointing to POCOs.

The method SessionFeature.GetSessionKey allows you to get a Session Key for a current request if you are trying to access it in ASP.NET Web Forms or MVC web host. Using a Session Key you can have a full control over Session object:

// CacheClient is instance of ICacheClient

var sessionKey = SessionFeature.GetSessionKey();

// geting an existing User Session or create a new one 
var userSession = SessionFeature.GetOrCreateSession<AuthUserSession>(CacheClient); 
// or SessionFeature.GetOrCreateSession<CustomUserSession>(CacheClient); 

// modifying User Session
userSession.UserAuthId = model.UserName;

// saving User Session
CacheClient.CacheSet(sessionKey , userSession);

Saving in Service

As a typed session is just a disconnected POCO, it needs to explicitly saved to be persisted - which you can do with the base.SaveSession() Extension method.

public object Any(Request request)
    var session = base.SessionAs<AuthUserSession>();

    // modify session


Saving outside a Service

If your logic is outside a ServiceStack service you can save your typed session by getting access to the ServiceStack IRequest which you can create from ASP.NET Request objects:

IHttpRequest httpReq = aspCtx.ToRequest(); //HttpContext
IHttpRequest httpReq = aspReq.ToRequest(); //MVC HttpRequestBase
IHttpRequest httpReq = listenerCtx.ToRequest(); //HttpListenerContext

//In ASP.NET hosts via the singleton
IHttpRequest httpReq = HostContext.AppHost.TryGetCurrentRequest(); 

Once you have access to the current IRequest you can save your typed session using the SaveSession() extension method:


This API is also available in MVC Controllers that inherit ServiceStackController or ASP.NET Pages that inherit ServiceStackPage:


Sliding Sessions

You can extend existing User Sessions in ServiceStack by just re-saving the Users Session. This can be done anywhere in ServiceStack’s Request Pipeline, E.g. in a Request or Response Filter Attribute or Global Request or Response Filter:

E.g. here’s a Sliding Sessions example using a custom [SlideExpiration] Response Filter Attribute:

public class SlidingSessionAttribute : ResponseFilterAttribute
    public TimeSpan? Expiry { get; set; }

	public SlidingSessionAttribute(int expirySecs=0)
		this.Expiry = expirySecs <= 0
            ? (TimeSpan?)null 
            : TimeSpan.FromSeconds(expirySecs);

    public override void Execute(IRequest req, IResponse res, object responseDto)
        var session = req.GetSession();
        if (session != null) 
            req.SaveSession(session, this.Expiry);

Which can be applied to any protected User Services, e.g:

[SlidingSession(10 * 60)] //= 10 minutes
public class UserServices : Service
    public object Any(MyUserRequest request) => ...;

Which just re-saves the Session in order to extend it with a new Session Expiry, this can instead be done in a Global Response Filter with:

GlobalResponseFilters.Add((req, res, dto) =>
    var session = req.GetSession();
    if (session != null)
        req.SaveSession(session, TimeSpan.FromMinutes(10));

Find the remaining time left before a Session expires

For Cache Clients that implement you can retrieve the ICacheClientExtended.GetTimeToLive() returns a TimeSpan? which will return:

  • null if no key exists
  • TimeSpan.MaxValue if there is no expiry set on the key
  • or a TimeSpan value with the time remaining before the key is set to expire

So you can determine the remaining time on a Session by querying the Time To Live remaining on the Session Key in the Cache which you could use to extend the Users Session by 10 minutes if they have less than 10 minutes remaining:

var sessionId = req.GetSessionId(); 
var sessionKey = SessionFeature.GetSessionKey(sessionId);
var ttl = req.GetCacheClient().GetTimeToLive(sessionKey);

if (ttl != null && ttl <= TimeSpan.FromMinutes(10)) 
    var session = req.GetSession();
    req.SaveSession(session, TimeSpan.FromMinutes(10));

Typed Sessions in MVC

To make use of it in MVC, you effectively do the same thing, although this time you can simply inherit the existing ServiceStackController which has the above templated code in a generic MVC Controller Template:

public class ControllerBase : ServiceStackController<CustomUserSession> {}

From there it’s just a basic property which you can use in your Controller or assign to your views like this:

public partial class HomeController : ControllerBase 
    public virtual ActionResult Index() 
        ViewBag.Message = "MVC + ServiceStack PowerPack!";
        ViewBag.UserSession = base.UserSession;
        return View();

Typed Sessions in ASP.NET Web Forms

It’s the same thing in ASP.NET Web Forms although this comes in the form of a base ASP.NET Web Page which you get for free when you install ServiceStack via the ServiceStack.Host.AspNet NuGet package.

Using Dynamic / Untyped Sessions in ServiceStack

You can access the dynamic UserSession Bag in ServiceStack services via the base.Session property already built-in ServiceStack’s ServiceBase base class, e.g:

base.SessionBag["cart"] = new Cart { ... };
var cart = base.SessionBag.Get<Cart>("cart");

Use HTTP Headers to Send Session Cookies

You can now make a Session-enabled request with HTTP Headers instead of Cookies. The Session HTTP Headers have a X- prefix before the Session Id, i.e: X-ss-id, X-ss-pid and X-ss-opts.

Inspecting persisted User Sessions

ServiceStack Sessions are just serialized POCO’s stored in the Registered ICacheClient at the following key:


Where {SessionId} is either the users ss-id or ss-pid cookie depending on whether the user was authenticated with RememberMe=true which instructs ServiceStack to save the session against the ss-pid permanent cookie - this preference is stored in the ss-opt=perm cookie.

Since they’re just plain POCO’s stored at a predictable key format, we can easily iterate through all user sessions by using the ICacheClient API’s directly, e.g:

var sessionPattern = IdUtils.CreateUrn<IAuthSession>(""); //= urn:iauthsession:
var sessionKeys = Cache.GetKeysStartingWith(sessionPattern).ToList();

var allSessions = Cache.GetAll<IAuthSession>(sessionKeys);

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