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📓 Introduction to Authentication, Authorization, and Identity

In this lesson we'll introduce authentication in general as well as Identity, the authentication tool built into ASP.NET Core.


Authentication is the process of identifying users by matching sign-in credentials with user account data in the application. Whenever you log into an account through a website, that site or application is authenticating you.


Keep in mind authentication differs from authorization. While authentication is the process of determining who you are, authorization is the process of managing what you are allowed to do. For example, an admin would have different permissions than a moderator or a basic user.

Introduction to Identity

To support user accounts and authentication in our .NET applications, we'll use a popular tool called Identity. As explained in the Microsoft Article Introduction to Identity on ASP.NET Core:

ASP.NET Core Identity is a membership system which allows you to add login functionality to your application. Users can create an account and login with a user name and password or they can use an external login provider such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft Account, Twitter or others.

It's considered the recommended approach for managing user accounts in ASP.NET Core applications. In the next lesson, we'll begin walking through how to integrate Identity into our own ASP.NET MVC applications.

Don't Confuse "ASP.NET Core Identity" with "Microsoft Identity Platform"!

The last thing to note here is that ASP.NET Core Identity is a separate tool from the Microsoft identity platform, which is an authentication service through Microsoft's cloud platform called Azure.