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Elton Stoneman
This is the *old* blog. The new one is at blog.sixeyed.com

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If you're debugging Web service calls, you may want to capture incoming requests so you can see exactly what's reaching the service. If BizTalk's hosting the Web service, it's a simple process of adding a FILE send port filtered on the receive port name to copy all incoming messages. If this isn't an option, or if you want the full SOAP envelope together with metadata about the call, you can use a packet sniffer.

Packet sniffers monitor traffic over a machine NIC, and show you exactly what was sent or received over the wire. An excellent, free tool is WireShark (previously "Ethereal"), which has an rich suite of functionality, but has a bit of a learning curve. To use it exclusively for SOAP debugging is a matter of correctly configuring filters.

Run WireShark on the machine hosting your Web service. Open Capture…Options (screenshots below are from version 1.0.5). You'll be shown all the NICs on your machine, select one (it may be trial-and-error to pick the right NIC if you have multiple cards on a server) and configure it as shown:

The key options to set are:

  • Enable network name resolution (makes identifying traffic much easier)
  • Capture Filter = tcp port http (this captures TCP packets over default port 80).

Specifying a Capture Filter limits the amount of traffic logged, but isn't necessary if you're not using the default port, as you can also filter results. Click Start and send some calls in to your Web service. Note the capture only operates over the selected NIC, so calls to localhost won't be recorded – you'll need to make requests from a separate machine. You'll see the network traffic building up in the results pane:

Source and Destination will show the names of the communicating machines if WireShark has been able to resolve them, IP addresses if not. Enter a filter of xml and only packets representing XML exchanges over HTTP will be shown. It's simple to identify the service calls as they will be listed as POSTs to the service endpoint. Note that these are individual TCP packets. WireShark can reassemble all the packets in an exchange to show the full conversation – right click one packet and select "Follow TCP Stream".

The full stream will be shown, and can be converted between known formats or saved. The stream includes metadata information on the exchange and the full SOAP envelope:

POST /ESB.ItineraryServices.Response/ProcessItinerary.asmx HTTP/1.1

User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MS Web Services Client Protocol 2.0.50727.3053)

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

SOAPAction: "http://microsoft.practices.esb/Process/SubmitRequestResponse"

Host: itinerary-service

Content-Length: 1635

Expect: 100-continue

Connection: Keep-Alive

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">

    <soap:Header>

        <Itinerary xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.biztalk.practices.esb.com/itinerary">

            …

    <soap:Body>

        <SubmitRequestResponse xmlns="http://microsoft.practices.esb">

            <Root xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003/Any">

                …

 

- in this case, a request to the itinerary service from Microsoft's ESB Guidance package, capturing the full itinerary in the header and the service payload in the body. Any response sent to the caller will also be shown.

Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:37 AM Debugging | Back to top


Comments on this post: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Thank you, this post helped me to fix a SOAP request being sent incorrectly.
Left by Ernesto Celis on Apr 06, 2009 9:43 PM

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Thanks Ernesto, glad it helped.
Left by Elton on Apr 07, 2009 12:37 PM

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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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thanks for this post, however, I am unable to see the actually soap request after setting the capture filter to tcp port http when I change the display filter to xml I see nothing. When I follow tcp stream I can see the http get requst and I get the http response and I also can see the soap response but, I can not see the soap request. How do I configure to see the actualy xml request document?
Left by Horace Mies on Nov 08, 2010 6:25 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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One of the most common tasks during application development is debugging. Requires some network protocol knowledge but very easy to use. I've debugged SOAP and FTP with this.
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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What if the requests are not going throught port 80? How do we identify which port it is using.
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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One of the easy to use tutorials I have read so far. I will give this a try and hope I don't encounter any problems along the way.
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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WireShark is a tool for capture packets from network where the computer is on. We will use this tool for capture our http packet with soap message.
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Left by counsellor Vancouver on May 30, 2011 6:46 AM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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I have tried all the said configurations but I am still unable to sniff the packets. Here is what I am trying to achieve:

There is a Silverlight client communicating with WCF. Obviously, there is a Web layer in between through which the requests are being routed to the service. When I configure the above settings and try to capture the requests/responses, I see only the requests / responses between the Silverlight client and the web server being trapped. But from there on, the further communication that is happening between the Web and the WCF isn't being trapped. I need to trap this to do confirm that the communication that is happening between the web and the WCF service is encrypted.

This is a .Net application hosted on Windows environment (Win 2K3 as well as Win 2K8)

Please help.

I have tried HTTP Analyzer and Fiddler too (with good amount of googling on how to achieve what I want) but none of these tools have been of help.

Anticipating some help here.

Thanks,
Rajendra Kankani
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Really a great post. Thanks for sharing it.
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Very nice informations about debugging SOAP. Thanks for it.
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Been looking for debugging info on SOAP and this has really been helpful.
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Thanks!!! nice help!
Left by Mariano Vicario on Sep 22, 2011 2:29 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Yes I finally see my soap request thank you very much
Left by Sponge Bob on Sep 22, 2011 9:09 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Try "http && xml". It`s better to find SOAP Messages
Left by franco on Oct 05, 2011 12:27 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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When using SSL and wireshark, how can I view the encrypted data. I'm trying to view the SOAP that I generate and pass to through SSL to an external webservice? The SOAP that I generate is embedded in abstract layers of C# .NET code and I don't have an easy way to capture the SOAP request object. Thanks
Left by Mike on Oct 16, 2011 10:47 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Hi,
Does using Wireshark,will we be able to automatically(not manually) monitor soap messages and write the SOAP messges(only XML message) to a log file,for some later processing.
Left by vikram on Apr 06, 2012 11:20 AM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Awesome Job, thanks for sharing
Left by Siva on Jun 14, 2012 4:10 PM

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Thanks for sharing.
I thinks it works well when Source and Destination are put on two separated machines (two different IP).
Left by imacami on Jul 08, 2012 4:22 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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it's no good, it's wery bad
Left by a on May 16, 2014 1:18 PM

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Muchas Gracias Elton, me fué de mucha ayuda.
Left by Freddyc on May 24, 2014 4:11 PM

# re: Debugging SOAP messages with WireShark
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Sorry if is a silly question, but can track https?
Left by Lennon on Jan 05, 2017 7:24 PM

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