Sending an HTTP request with basic authentication

Sending an HTTP request with basic authentication

How to:

To make this happen on an Arduino, you first need to include the necessary libraries – typically <ESP8266WiFi.h> for ESP8266 or <WiFi.h> for ESP32, and <Base64.h> for encoding authentication details. Here’s a bare-bones snippet to get you started:

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <Base64.h>

const char* ssid = "yourSSID";
const char* password = "yourPassword";
const char* server = "";
const char* authUser = "user";
const char* authPass = "pass";

void setup() {
  WiFi.begin(ssid, password);

  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {
  String auth = "Basic " + base64::encode(String(authUser) + ":" + String(authPass));

  WiFiClient client;
  if (client.connect(server, 80)) {
    client.println("GET /route HTTP/1.1");
    client.print("Host: ");
    client.println("Authorization: " + auth);
    client.println("Connection: close");

void loop() {
  // Your regular code here

Upon running, the Arduino will connect to the specified server with the credentials and fetch the protected content.

Deep Dive

HTTP Basic Authentication has been around since the early days of the web, defined in 1996 by RFC 2617. It’s simple: encode username and password in base64 and slap it onto an HTTP header. It’s not the most secure method (because base64 is easily reversible), but it’s straightforward for low-stakes or internal tools.

There are alternatives, like Digest Access Authentication or OAuth, which are more secure, but they’re also heavier on resources – something to consider on a tiny Arduino.

For implementation, keep in mind that base64 encoding increases the size of the creds by about 33%, and Arduino’s memory is limited. Also, ensure your server uses SSL/TLS (HTTPS) if you’re sending creds over the internet to avoid exposure.

See Also