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ASP.NET supports three authentication modes through the System.Web.Security namespace. Windows Authentication The windows authentication authenticates users based on their windows accounts. In short, it uses windows network security. It uses IIS to perform authentication. Passport authentication The Passport authentication uses Microsoft's passport service to authenticate users. The new user is directed to the Microsoft site where he can register his identity. This facilitates user to access multiple sites using single user name and password. You need to install the Passport SDK to enable the Passport classes in the System.Web.Security namespace. Form authentication The Form authentication collects user's credential and lets the application use own logic to authenticate users. The collected user's credential is validated using the list maintained by the application. The application maintains its own user list either using <credential>element in the web.config file or using database. The advantage of using form authentication is that the users don't need to be the member of windows network to have access to the application.