Managed identities for Azure Web PubSub Service

This article shows you how to create a managed identity for Azure Web PubSub Service and how to use it.


Azure Web PubSub Service can support only one managed identity. That means you can add either a system-assigned identity or a user-assigned identity.

Add a system-assigned identity

To set up a managed identity in the Azure portal, you'll first create an Azure Web PubSub Service instance and then enable the feature.

  1. Create an Azure Web PubSub Service instance in the portal as you normally would. Browse to it in the portal.

  2. Select Identity.

  3. On the System assigned tab, switch Status to On. Select Save.

    Add a system-assigned identity in the portal

Add a user-assigned identity

Creating an Azure Web PubSub Service instance with a user-assigned identity requires that you create the identity and then add its resource identifier to your service.

  1. Create a user-assigned managed identity resource according to these instructions.

  2. Create an Azure Web PubSub Service instance in the portal as you normally would. Browse to it in the portal.

  3. Select Identity.

  4. On the User assigned tab, select Add.

  5. Search for the identity that you created earlier and selects it. Select Add.

    Add a user-assigned identity in the portal

Use a managed identity in client events scenarios

Azure Web PubSub Service is a fully managed service, so you can't use a managed identity to get tokens manually. Instead, when Azure Web PubSub Service sends events to event handler, it will use the managed identity to obtain an access token. The service then sets the access token into the Authorization header in the http request.

Enable managed identity authentication in event handler settings

  1. Add a system-assigned identity or user-assigned identity.

  2. Navigate to Configure Hub Settings and add or edit an event handler upstream.


  3. In the Authentication section, select Use Authentication and check Specify the issued token audience. The audience will become the aud claim in the obtained access token, which can be used as a part of validation in your event handler. You can choose one of the following:

    • Select from existing Microsoft Entra applications. The application ID of the one you choose will be used.
    • The Application ID URI of the service principal.


    Using empty resource actully acquire a token targets to Microsoft Graph. As today, Microsoft Graph enables token encryption so it's not available for application to authenticate the token other than Microsoft Graph. In common practice, you should always create a service principal to represent your upstream target. And set the Application ID or Application ID URI of the service principal you've created.

Authentication in a function app

You can easily set access validation for a function app without code changes by using the Azure portal:

  1. In the Azure portal, go to the function app.

  2. Select Authentication from the menu.

  3. Select Add identity provider.

  4. On the Basics tab, in the Identity provider dropdown list, select Microsoft.

  5. In Action to take when request is not authenticated, select Log in with Microsoft Entra ID.

  6. The option to create a new registration is selected by default. You can change the name of the registration. For more information on enabling a Microsoft Entra provider, see Configure your App Service or Azure Functions app to use a Microsoft Entra ID sign-in.

    Screenshot that shows basic information for adding an identity provider.

  7. Go to Azure SignalR Service and follow the steps to add a system-assigned identity or user-assigned identity.

  8. In Azure SignalR Service, go to Upstream settings, and then select Use Managed Identity and Select from existing Applications. Select the application that you created previously.

After you configure these settings, the function app will reject requests without an access token in the header.

Validate access tokens

If you're not using WebApp or Azure Function, you can also validate the token.

The token in the Authorization header is a Microsoft identity platform access token.

To validate access tokens, your app should also validate the audience and the signing tokens. These need to be validated against the values in the OpenID discovery document. For example, see the tenant-independent version of the document.

The Microsoft Entra middleware has built-in capabilities for validating access tokens. You can browse through our samples to find one in the language of your choice.

We provide libraries and code samples that show how to handle token validation. There are also several open-source partner libraries available for JSON Web Token (JWT) validation. There's at least one option for almost every platform and language out there. For more information about Microsoft Entra authorization libraries and code samples, see Microsoft identity platform authentication libraries.

Specially, if the event handler hosts in Azure Function or Web Apps, an easy way is to Configure Microsoft Entra login.

Use a managed identity for Key Vault reference

Web PubSub Service can access Key Vault to get secret using the managed identity.

  1. Add a system-assigned identity or user-assigned identity for Azure Web PubSub Service.

  2. Grant secret read permission for the managed identity in the Access policies in the Key Vault. See Assign a Key Vault access policy using the Azure portal

Currently, this feature can be used in the following scenarios:

  • Use syntax {@Microsoft.KeyVault(SecretUri=<secret-identity>)} to get secrets from KeyVault in the event handler url template setting.

Next steps