Application Insights for .NET console applications

Application Insights lets you monitor your web application for availability, performance, and usage.

You need an Azure subscription. Sign in with a Microsoft account, which you might have for Windows, Xbox Live, or other Microsoft cloud services. Your team might have an organizational subscription to Azure. Ask the owner to add you to it by using your Microsoft account.

Note

We recommend using the newer Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.WorkerService package and associated instructions from Application Insights for Worker Service applications (non-HTTP applications) for any console applications. This package is compatible with Long Term Support (LTS) versions of .NET Core and .NET Framework or higher.

Note

On March 31, 2025, support for instrumentation key ingestion will end. Instrumentation key ingestion will continue to work, but we'll no longer provide updates or support for the feature. Transition to connection strings to take advantage of new capabilities.

Get started

  • In the Azure portal, create an Application Insights resource.

  • Take a copy of the connection string. Find the connection string in the Essentials dropdown of the new resource you created.

  • Install the latest Microsoft.ApplicationInsights package.

  • Set the connection string in your code before you track any telemetry (or set the APPLICATIONINSIGHTS_CONNECTION_STRING environment variable). After that, you should be able to manually track telemetry and see it in the Azure portal.

    // You may use different options to create configuration as shown later in this article
    TelemetryConfiguration configuration = TelemetryConfiguration.CreateDefault();
    configuration.ConnectionString = <Copy connection string from Application Insights Resource Overview>;
    var telemetryClient = new TelemetryClient(configuration);
    telemetryClient.TrackTrace("Hello World!");
    

    Note

    Telemetry isn't sent instantly. Items are batched and sent by the ApplicationInsights SDK. Console apps exit after calling Track() methods.

    Telemetry might not be sent unless Flush() and Sleep/Delay are done before the app exits, as shown in the full example later in this article. Sleep isn't required if you're using InMemoryChannel.

  • Install the latest version of the Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.DependencyCollector package. It automatically tracks HTTP, SQL, or some other external dependency calls.

You can initialize and configure Application Insights from the code or by using ApplicationInsights.config file. Make sure initialization happens as early as possible.

Note

ApplicationInsights.config isn't supported by .NET Core applications.

Use the config file

For .NET Framework-based applications, by default, the Application Insights SDK looks for the ApplicationInsights.config file in the working directory when TelemetryConfiguration is being created. Reading the config file isn't supported on .NET Core.

TelemetryConfiguration config = TelemetryConfiguration.Active; // Reads ApplicationInsights.config file if present

You can also specify a path to the config file:

using System.IO;
TelemetryConfiguration configuration = TelemetryConfiguration.CreateFromConfiguration(File.ReadAllText("C:\\ApplicationInsights.config"));
var telemetryClient = new TelemetryClient(configuration);

For more information, see Configuration file reference.

You can get a full example of the config file by installing the latest version of the Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.WindowsServer package. Here's the minimal configuration for dependency collection that's equivalent to the code example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ApplicationInsights xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ApplicationInsights/2013/Settings">
  <ConnectionString>"Copy connection string from Application Insights Resource Overview"</ConnectionString>
  <TelemetryInitializers>
    <Add Type="Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.DependencyCollector.HttpDependenciesParsingTelemetryInitializer, Microsoft.AI.DependencyCollector"/>
  </TelemetryInitializers>
  <TelemetryModules>
    <Add Type="Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.DependencyCollector.DependencyTrackingTelemetryModule, Microsoft.AI.DependencyCollector">
      <ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains>
        <Add>core.windows.net</Add>
        <Add>core.chinacloudapi.cn</Add>
        <Add>core.cloudapi.de</Add>
        <Add>core.usgovcloudapi.net</Add>
        <Add>localhost</Add>
        <Add>127.0.0.1</Add>
      </ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains>
      <IncludeDiagnosticSourceActivities>
        <Add>Microsoft.Azure.ServiceBus</Add>
        <Add>Microsoft.Azure.EventHubs</Add>
      </IncludeDiagnosticSourceActivities>
    </Add>
  </TelemetryModules>
  <TelemetryChannel Type="Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.WindowsServer.TelemetryChannel.ServerTelemetryChannel, Microsoft.AI.ServerTelemetryChannel"/>
</ApplicationInsights>

Configure telemetry collection from code

Note

Reading the config file isn't supported on .NET Core.

  • During application startup, create and configure a DependencyTrackingTelemetryModule instance. It must be singleton and must be preserved for the application lifetime.

    var module = new DependencyTrackingTelemetryModule();
    
    // prevent Correlation Id to be sent to certain endpoints. You may add other domains as needed.
    module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("core.windows.net");
    //...
    
    // enable known dependency tracking, note that in future versions, we will extend this list. 
    // please check default settings in https://github.com/Microsoft/ApplicationInsights-dotnet-server/blob/develop/Src/DependencyCollector/DependencyCollector/ApplicationInsights.config.install.xdt
    
    module.IncludeDiagnosticSourceActivities.Add("Microsoft.Azure.ServiceBus");
    module.IncludeDiagnosticSourceActivities.Add("Microsoft.Azure.EventHubs");
    //....
    
    // initialize the module
    module.Initialize(configuration);
    
  • Add common telemetry initializers:

    // ensures proper DependencyTelemetry.Type is set for Azure RESTful API calls
    configuration.TelemetryInitializers.Add(new HttpDependenciesParsingTelemetryInitializer());
    

    If you created configuration with a plain TelemetryConfiguration() constructor, you need to enable correlation support additionally. It isn't needed if you read configuration from a file or used TelemetryConfiguration.CreateDefault() or TelemetryConfiguration.Active.

    configuration.TelemetryInitializers.Add(new OperationCorrelationTelemetryInitializer());
    
  • You might also want to install and initialize the Performance Counter collector module as described at this website.

Full example

using Microsoft.ApplicationInsights;
using Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.DependencyCollector;
using Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.Extensibility;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ConsoleApp
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            TelemetryConfiguration configuration = TelemetryConfiguration.CreateDefault();

            configuration.ConnectionString = "removed";
            configuration.TelemetryInitializers.Add(new HttpDependenciesParsingTelemetryInitializer());

            var telemetryClient = new TelemetryClient(configuration);
            using (InitializeDependencyTracking(configuration))
            {
                // run app...

                telemetryClient.TrackTrace("Hello World!");

                using (var httpClient = new HttpClient())
                {
                    // Http dependency is automatically tracked!
                    httpClient.GetAsync("https://microsoft.com").Wait();
                }

            }

            // before exit, flush the remaining data
            telemetryClient.Flush();

            // Console apps should use the WorkerService package.
            // This uses ServerTelemetryChannel which does not have synchronous flushing.
            // For this reason we add a short 5s delay in this sample.
            
            Task.Delay(5000).Wait();

            // If you're using InMemoryChannel, Flush() is synchronous and the short delay is not required.

        }

        static DependencyTrackingTelemetryModule InitializeDependencyTracking(TelemetryConfiguration configuration)
        {
            var module = new DependencyTrackingTelemetryModule();

            // prevent Correlation Id to be sent to certain endpoints. You may add other domains as needed.
            module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("core.windows.net");
            module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("core.chinacloudapi.cn");
            module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("core.cloudapi.de");
            module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("core.usgovcloudapi.net");
            module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("localhost");
            module.ExcludeComponentCorrelationHttpHeadersOnDomains.Add("127.0.0.1");

            // enable known dependency tracking, note that in future versions, we will extend this list. 
            // please check default settings in https://github.com/microsoft/ApplicationInsights-dotnet-server/blob/develop/WEB/Src/DependencyCollector/DependencyCollector/ApplicationInsights.config.install.xdt

            module.IncludeDiagnosticSourceActivities.Add("Microsoft.Azure.ServiceBus");
            module.IncludeDiagnosticSourceActivities.Add("Microsoft.Azure.EventHubs");

            // initialize the module
            module.Initialize(configuration);

            return module;
        }
    }
}

Next steps

  • Monitor dependencies to see if REST, SQL, or other external resources are slowing you down.
  • Use the API to send your own events and metrics for a more detailed view of your app's performance and usage.