Self-Hosting a WCF Data Service

I’ve seen several customers looking for an example of how to directly host a WCF Data Service in a WCF application rather than using traditional ASP.NET hosting. While we discuss self-hosting WCF services in the topic Hosting the Data Service (WCF Data Services), there is current no example of this kind of hosting. I do have a working code example that I have shared out on the forums, but I’m not sure that I want to put it in the core documentation because a) it’s overly simplistic, running in a console application, and b) it doesn’t address crucial issues of security and reliability, which is one of the main reasons to use ASP.NET and IIS for hosting. In fact, whenever you self host a data service (either directly in WCF or in some other application), you need to make sure to consider the twin security requirements of authentication and authorization (unless it’s OK to run with wide-open access to your data).

Anyway, here’s sample code for a Northwind-based data service that is self-hosted in a console application:

using System;
using System.Data.Services;

namespace CustomHostedDataService
    // Self-hosted data service definition based on the Northwind
    // and using the Entity Framework provider.
    public class ConsoleService : DataService<NorthwindEntities>
        public static void InitializeService(
           IDataServiceConfiguration config)
            // Provide read-only access to all entries and feeds.
               "*", EntitySetRights.AllRead);

    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            Type serviceType = typeof(ConsoleService);
            Uri baseAddress = new Uri("
            Uri[] baseAddresses = new Uri[] { baseAddress };

            // Create a new hosting instance for the Northwind
            // data service at the specified address.
            DataServiceHost host = new DataServiceHost(

            // Keep the data service host open while the console is open.
              "Navigate to the following URI to see the service.");
            Console.WriteLine("Press any key to exit...");

            // Close the host.

Note: You need to run the application as an administrator to be able to create the host instance.

If you think that this example should be added to the hosting topic, please leave a comment.


Glenn Gailey
WCF Data Services
User Education

Comments (5)

  1. What about the app.config file, with all the endpoints, bindings and behaviors, etc., is it still applicable? Is it taken into consideration by OData services? I want to host multiple services, including an OData (or probably more) service, but somehow I can't seem to set base URIs right for data service, it seems I need different start URI from the other services and it also can't be relative URI.

    Can 'net.tcp' binding be used for OData services?

    Anyway, great example and I think that this topic should be added on the hosting topic, since it's a very simple example but it works and it proves the point. It works without a configuration file.

  2. Paul says:

    Hi All

    1) Couple of things when ever I try the above it still loads a casinii hosted session.

    2) Also we are deploying this with a windows form app, and the comment about being an administer to create the host seems to limit its scope is this correct.

    Many thanks


  3. Lavkesh says:

    I think you don't have proper knowledge on that, i didn't get anything from your post.

  4. Jack says:

    Nice guy this Lavkesh person. The world needs more friendly people like you.

  5. Alexandre says:

    Very good, thank you

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