Shibboleth IdP 2.x is becoming End-Of-Life on July 31st, 2016.  This page now exists only as a historical archive.

Please see the instructions on Upgrading a 2.x IdP to 3.x.

Overview and Plan

This guide for upgrading a Shibboleth IdP is based on the assumption the IdP has been built according to the Tuakiri Installing a Shibboleth 2.x IdP manual.

This guide covers updating to the current release in the 2.4.x branch and versions 2.3.x and 2.4.x are considered for the base install. Adjust accordingly for other version combinations.

Overall, this plan assumes to carry over modifications done to the old installation tree (unpacked zip binary) to the new one, rebuilding the war file and reusing the configuration files.

Upgrade plan:

  • Compare existing Shibboleth installation directory (old version) with a vanilla copy of the same version, identify local modifications, which would likely include:
    • Login page
    • uApprove jars
    • Shared token jar
    • web.xml modifications
  • Download and extract the new version
    • Update the current environment variables to point to the new version
  • Install local modifications into the new version
  • Backup /opt/shibboleth-idp
  • Run the installer from the new version, answering NO to overwriting files.
    • Update the default environment to point to the new version
    • Restart Tomcat

In a nutshell, this plan assumes the configuration files in /opt/shibboleth-idp/conf will be left untouched and only the web application /opt/shibboleth-idp/war/idp.war (and files in /opt/shibboleth-idp/lib/) will get updated. Among the 2.2.x, 2.3.x, and 2.4.x branches, the configuration files are compatible with new releases without modification.

Upgrade Walkthrough

Examine local modifications

  • Create a vanilla copy of the old installation directory

    cd /root/inst
    unzip -d /tmp shibboleth-identityprovider-${IDP_VERSION}
    mv /tmp/shibboleth-identityprovider-${IDP_VERSION} shibboleth-identityprovider-${IDP_VERSION}-orig
  • Run a diff between the vanilla version and the current installation directory, examine the output:

    diff -r shibboleth-identityprovider-${IDP_VERSION}-orig shibboleth-identityprovider-${IDP_VERSION} | less
  • Expect to find:
    • Shared token library missing:

      Only in shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0/lib: arcs-shibext-1.5.4.jar
    • uApprove IdP plugin libraries missing:

      Only in shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0/lib: jstl-1.2.jar
      Only in shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0/lib: uApprove-2.5.0.jar
      Only in shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0/lib: spring-jdbc-2.5.6.SEC03.jar
      Only in shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0/lib: spring-tx-2.5.6.SEC03.jar
      Only in shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0/lib: mysql-connector-java-5.1.25.jar
    • Differences in src/installer/resources/ (IGNORE)
    • Local branding modifications in src/main/webapp (login.jsp, the images directory, stylesheets, the uApprove directory...) - these will need to be backported
    • Differences in src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/web.xml (uApprove hooks) - these will have to be re-applied to web.xml coming with the new version.

Preparing new version

Set the current environment to point to the new version:


Download and extract the new version

unzip shibboleth-identityprovider-${IDP_VERSION}

Installing local modifications into the new version

  • Re-install shared token library:

    cp arcs-shibext-*.jar $SHIB_INST_HOME/lib
  • Re-install uApprove IdP plugin libraries:

    cp $UAPPROVE_INST_HOME/lib/*.jar $SHIB_INST_HOME/lib
    cp $UAPPROVE_INST_HOME/lib/jdbc/*.jar $SHIB_INST_HOME/lib
  • Re-apply web.xml modifications for uApprove: edit the IdP web application descriptor file $SHIB_INST_HOME/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/web.xml and add the filter and filter-mapping elements just before the closing tag of the top-level web-app element (and also apply any other changes done to the web.xml file in your customizations):

        <filter-name>uApprove IdP plugin</filter-name>
        <filter-name>uApprove IdP plugin</filter-name>

Check and backport login page branding.

  • Examine changes made to the login page between the versions: run

    diff -rwu shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.0-orig/src/main/webapp/ shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.2/src/main/webapp/ | less
  • In the 2.4.x branch, the login.jsp template has not changed in between versions.
  • The 2.4.x branch however introduced a completely new layout over what the 2.3.x branch was using.  You may choose to either copy over your existing login page (the branches are API compatible), or you may want to apply your branding to the 2.4.x version as per the IdP Install Manual (Customizing and branding IdP login screen section).
  • In the 2.3.x branch, these are just cosmetic (moving the stylesheet link into the HTML <head> element) - but reapply them to your login page.
  • When upgrading from a 2.2.x version:
    • There have been minor changes to the error-404.jsp and error.jsp pages (back-port these if you have been customizing these pages, otherwise just use the new versions):
      • Adding the idpui taglib (in error-404.jsp only)
      • Switching from error.getMessage() to esapiEncoder.encodeForHTML(error.getMessage())
    • The has been a major overhaul of login.jsp, including a switch from direct API to the idpui taglib. However, a login page designed for a 2.2.x IdP will work with a 2.3.x IdP. You may either copy the login.jsp over, or you may re-apply the branding steps to the new IdP 2.3.x login.jsp file.
  • Make a backup copy of any files you'd be modifying (at least login.jsp):

    cp $SHIB_INST_HOME/src/main/webapp/login.jsp $SHIB_INST_HOME/src/main/webapp/login.jsp.dist
  • Copy all of the branding files identified earlier from the new version to the new version.
    • This would typically be src/main/webapp/login.jsp and any stylesheet and image files

Update configuration files

Shibboleth IdP is designed to run newer versions with configuration files from an older version - so you can keep your existing configuration files as they are and all already existing features should still work.

However, to benefit from the features added in newer releases, it may be worth adding the relevant sections from the configuration templates (in $SHIB_INST_HOME/src/installer/resources/conf-tmpl) into your configuration files in /opt/shibboleth-idp/conf and the IdP metadata in /opt/shibboleth-idp/metadata/idp-metadata.xml.


  • Shibboleth IdP 2.4.0 introduced the Logout handler (in conf/handler.xml and metadata/idp-metadata.xml)
  • Shibboleth IdP 2.3.0 introduced ECP and UnsolicitedSSO (bth in conf/handler.xml and conf/relying-party.xml)

You can examine the difference by comparing src/installer/resources/conf-tmpl and src/installer/resources/metadata-tmpl in the old and new installation tree - e.g.:

diff -rwu shibboleth-identityprovider-2.3.8-orig/src/installer/resources shibboleth-identityprovider-2.4.2/src/installer/resources | less

and applying the differences (adding new snippets for the new features like ECP or SLO) to your existing configuration files (and IdP metadata) in /opt/shibboleth-idp/conf and /opt/shibboleth-idp/metadata/idp-metadata.xml.

Deploy the new version


Backup the /opt/shibboleth-idp directory before deploying the upgrade

  • Backup the /opt/shibboleth-idpdirectory with:

    tar czf /root/backup-shibboleth-idp-`date +'%F-%T'`.tar.gz /opt/shibboleth-idp/
  • Run the installer from the new version, answering NO to overwriting files.

    sh ./
  • Update the default environment to point to the new version: edit /etc/profile.d/ and update the IdP version (IDP_VERSION="2.3.3")
    • Reload the environment with:

      . /etc/profile.d/
  • Restart Tomcat

    service tomcat6 restart
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