Returning binary file from controller in ASP.NET Web API

Returning binary file from controller in ASP.NET Web API

Try using a simple HttpResponseMessage with its Content property set to a StreamContent:

// using System.IO;
// using System.Net.Http;
// using System.Net.Http.Headers;

public HttpResponseMessage Post(string version, string environment,
    string filetype)
{
    var path = @"C:\Temp\test.exe";
    HttpResponseMessage result = new HttpResponseMessage(HttpStatusCode.OK);
    var stream = new FileStream(path, FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    result.Content = new StreamContent(stream);
    result.Content.Headers.ContentType = 
        new MediaTypeHeaderValue("application/octet-stream");
    return result;
}

A few things to note about the stream used:

  • You must not call stream.Dispose(), since Web API still needs to be able to access it when it processes the controller method’s result to send data back to the client. Therefore, do not use a using (var stream = …) block. Web API will dispose the stream for you.
  • Make sure that the stream has its current position set to 0 (i.e. the beginning of the stream’s data). In the above example, this is a given since you’ve only just opened the file. However, in other scenarios (such as when you first write some binary data to a MemoryStream), make sure to stream.Seek(0, SeekOrigin.Begin); or set stream.Position = 0;
  • With file streams, explicitly specifying FileAccess.Read permission can help prevent access rights issues on web servers; IIS application pool accounts are often given only read / list / execute access rights to the wwwroot.

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