Add CORS to ASP.NET Core

Overview of how to add CORS to an ASP.NET Core API Controller

What is CORS

CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) is a mechanism implemented in web browsers that allows web applications running in one domain to make requests to resources (such as APIs) hosted in another domain. It is a security feature implemented by browsers to enforce the Same-Origin Policy, which restricts cross-origin requests by default.

The Same-Origin Policy states that web pages can only make requests to resources within the same origin, where an origin consists of the combination of the protocol (e.g., HTTP, HTTPS), domain, and port. For example, a web page loaded from can only make requests to resources within but not to resources on

CORS provides a way to relax the Same-Origin Policy and allow cross-origin requests under controlled conditions. When a web application makes a cross-origin request, the browser sends an additional HTTP header called Origin to the server, indicating the origin from which the request is being made. The server then responds with a set of CORS headers that instruct the browser whether the request is allowed or denied.

CORS Headers

The CORS headers include:

  • Access-Control-Allow-Origin: Specifies which origins are allowed to access the resource. The server can respond with a specific origin, such as, or with * to allow requests from any origin.
  • Access-Control-Allow-Methods: Indicates the HTTP methods (e.g., GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) that are allowed for the requested resource.
  • Access-Control-Allow-Headers: Lists the headers that are allowed to be included in the request.
  • Access-Control-Allow-Credentials: Specifies whether the browser should include credentials (e.g., cookies, HTTP authentication) in the cross-origin request.
  • Access-Control-Max-Age: Indicates how long the CORS preflight response can be cached by the browser.

To enable CORS in an API, the server needs to respond with the appropriate CORS headers that allow cross-origin requests from specific origins or all origins. Additionally, the client-side code making the request needs to handle any CORS-related errors or restrictions imposed by the browser.

Enabling CORS is necessary when building web applications that interact with APIs hosted on different domains, allowing for the secure sharing of resources between different origins while maintaining the browser's security safeguards.

Enable CORS in ASP.NET Core

To enable CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) in an ASP.NET Core API Controller, you can follow these steps:

  1. Install the Microsoft.AspNetCore.Cors package: Open the NuGet Package Manager Console, and run the following command:

    Install-Package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Cors
  2. In your API project, open the Startup.cs file.

  3. In the ConfigureServices method, add the CORS service by calling AddCors:

  4. In the Configure method, add the CORS middleware by calling UseCors:

  5. In your API Controller class, decorate the controller or specific actions with the [EnableCors] attribute. This attribute allows you to specify the CORS policy name or specify CORS settings directly on the attribute:

    using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Cors;
    // Apply CORS to the entire controller
    public class MyController : ControllerBase
        // Controller actions...
  6. Alternatively, you can also specify CORS settings directly on individual actions using the [EnableCors] attribute:

    using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Cors;
    public class MyController : ControllerBase
        // Apply CORS to a specific action
        public IActionResult MyAction()
            // Action logic...
  7. In the ConfigureServices method of Startup.cs, configure the CORS policy by adding AddCors with the desired policy:

    services.AddCors(options =>
            builder =>

    You can modify the policy settings as per your requirements. For example, you can allow specific origins, methods, or headers instead of allowing everything using AllowAnyOrigin(), AllowAnyMethod(), and AllowAnyHeader().

That's it! With these steps, you've enabled CORS in your ASP.NET Core API Controller. Remember to customize the CORS policy settings based on your specific needs.

What are the security implications?

Enabling CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) can introduce potential security risks if not properly configured. Here are some security considerations when enabling CORS:

  1. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): CORS can potentially allow cross-origin requests to be made with the user's credentials if the server responds to requests from unauthorized origins. If the API server is not properly protected against CSRF attacks, enabling CORS without proper configuration can increase the risk of CSRF vulnerabilities.

  2. Information Disclosure: If the CORS policy allows requests from any origin (AllowAnyOrigin()), sensitive information may be exposed to unauthorized domains. This can result in data leakage or unauthorized access to resources.

  3. Cross-Origin Scripting Attacks: Enabling overly permissive CORS settings, such as allowing all methods (AllowAnyMethod()) and all headers (AllowAnyHeader()), can potentially open doors to cross-origin scripting attacks. Attackers may inject malicious scripts and exploit vulnerabilities in client applications.

  4. Authorization Bypass: If CORS is not properly configured to check for authorized origins, attackers can bypass access controls by sending requests from unauthorized domains. This can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive resources or functionality.

Mitigate Risks

To mitigate these security risks, it is crucial to follow recommended practices when enabling CORS:

  • Carefully define and restrict the allowed origins, methods, and headers based on your application's requirements.
  • Use a specific whitelist of trusted domains (WithOrigins) instead of allowing any origin.
  • Implement CSRF protection mechanisms such as anti-forgery tokens in your API.
  • Validate and sanitize input on the server-side to prevent cross-site scripting attacks.
  • Regularly update and patch your server and frameworks to address any security vulnerabilities.

By configuring CORS correctly and applying appropriate security measures, you can mitigate potential risks and ensure the safe and controlled sharing of resources across different origins.