Programmatically register HttpModules at runtime

I’m writing an app where 3rd party vendors can write plugin DLLs and drop them into the web app’s bin directory. I want the ability for these plugins to be able to register their own HttpModules if necessary.

Is there anyway that I can add or remove HttpModules from and to the pipeline at runtime without having a corresponding entry in the Web.Config, or do I have to programmatically edit the Web.Config when adding / removing modules? I know that either way is going to cause an AppDomain restart but I’d rather be able to do it in code than having to fudge the web.config to achieve the same effect.


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Method 1

It has to be done at just the right
time in the HttpApplication life cycle
which is when the HttpApplication
object initializes (multiple times,
once for each instance of
HttpApplication). The only method
where this works correct is
HttpApplication Init().

To hook up a module via code you can
run code like the following instead of
the HttpModule definition in

  public class Global : System.Web.HttpApplication
     // some modules use explicit interface implementation
     // by declaring this static member as the IHttpModule interface
     // we work around that
     public static IHttpModule Module = new xrnsToashxMappingModule();
     public override void Init()

All you do is override the HttpApplication’s Init() method and
then access the static instance’s Init
method. Init() of the module hooks up
the event and off you go.

Via Rick Strahl’s blog

Method 2

Realize this is an old question, but 4 provides some new capabilities that can help here.

Specifically, ASP.NET 4 provides a PreApplicationStartMethod capability that can be used to add HttpModules programmatically.

I just did a blog post on that at

The basic idea is you create a derived HttpApplication that provides ability to add HttpModules dynamically at startup time, and it then initializes them into the pipeline whenever each HttpApplication instance is created within the app-domain.

Method 3

The dll Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure.dll has a method for this inside the class DynamicModuleUtility.
The dll is shipped with WebPages 1.0

public static class PreApplicationStartCode
    private static bool _startWasCalled;

    public static void Start()
        if (_startWasCalled) return;

        _startWasCalled = true;

Method 4

This worked for me for dynamic registration.


public class RequestLoggerModule : IHttpModule
    { ... }

Method 5

In new versions of ASP MVC you can use Package Manager to add a reference to WebActivatorX and then do something like this

using WhateverNameSpacesYouNeed;

[assembly: WebActivatorEx.PreApplicationStartMethod(typeof(YourApp.SomeNameSpace.YourClass), "Initialize")]
namespace YourApp.SomeNameSpace
  public static void Initialize()
    DynamicModuleUtility.RegisterModule( ... the type that implements IHttpModule ... );

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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