There is already a significant amount of documentation on installing a Shibboleth SP notably:

This page draws on the above documents and gives the series of steps to install a Shibboleth SP and get it working in the Tuakiri federation.

This documentation now covers Shibboleth SP 3.x - though it does not significantly differ from 2.x for which this documentation was originally written.  To upgrade from 2.x to 3.2, please see our Shibboleth SP 2.x to 3.x Upgrade Manual.

 This documentation has been tested on RHEL/CentOS 6 and 7, but should work on other RedHat-based systems as well.

We recommend installing the most recent Shibboleth SP version. Version 3.3.0 is the latest version as of January 2022. We recommend updating existing deployments to the most recent version to get fixes for known vulnerabilities - please see the list of security advisories.


Firewall settings

  • inbound traffic:
    • webserver: port 80 and/or 443 are used by any browser-user
  • outbound:
    • Shibboleth daemon (shibd): has to be able to connect to every remote IdP in the federation on port 8443 for back-channel communication.

Time synchronization

The host where Shibboleth SP is running must have time synchronized.  We recommend using NTP for doing so - and synchronizing with your local NTP server.  An example of configuring NTP can be found in the IdP Install Manual.


Before starting to build and configure the Shibboleth Sevice Provider, be sure that the dependent packages (Apache, and the mod_ssl module for Apache) are installed:

yum install httpd mod_ssl



Shibboleth SP is available for RedHat and derivative distributions via yum repositories maintained by the Shibboleth Project.  The repository configuration files are generated by the download site based on the target Linux distribution.  You can either download the .repo  file directly by passing in the distribution name as per the examples below, or you can download it via a browser from and then copy it to the target system.

Federation Membership


Edit /etc/shibboleth/shibboleth2.xml:

  • Replace all instances of with your hostname.
  • In the <Sessions>element:
    • Make session handler use SSL: set handlerSSL="true"
      Recommended: go even further and in the '''Sessions''' Sessions element, change the '''handlerURL''' handlerURL from a relative one ("/Shibboleth.sso" to an absolute one - handlerURL="". In the URL, use the hostname used in the endpoint URLs registered in the Federation Registry. This makes sure the server is always issuing correct endpoint URLs in outgoing requests, even when users refer to the server with alternative names. This is in particular important when there are multiple hostnames resolving to your server (such as one prefixed with "www." and one without).
    • We also strongly recommend to configure the SP to use secure  cookies that would only be sent over an encrypted (https) connection.  Unless you are also using plain HTTP to access your application in authenticated mode (which is dangerous - risk of cookie theft / session hijacking), change the cookieProps  setting to use secure cookies:


    • Configure Session Initiator: locate the <SSO>element and:
      • Remove reference to default - delete the entityID attribute
      • Configure the Discovery Service URL in the discoveryURL attribute:


      • or, alternatively, if connecting to the Tuakiri TEST federation (Staging Environment), use:


  • In AttributeExtractor, set reloadChanges="true"

  • Shibboleth 2.x only: restrict cipherSuites:

    In earlier versions (Shibboleth SP 2.x), we were recommending to configure the TLS protocols and cipher-suites acceptable on the back-channel - the default settings were overly permissive and insecure.

    Shibboleth 3.x now sets a new default, identical to our recommendation in terms of actual ciphers permitted.  So, this step is no longer needed on Shibboleth SP 3.x

    On Shibboleth SP 2.x, add the following XML attribute to the <ApplicationDefaults> element:


    This sets the protocols to TLSv1.2 only (banning SSLv2, SSLv3, TLSv1.0, TLSv1.1) and blocks all ciphers deemed insecure (as of October 2017).

  • Optionally, customize settings in the <Errors> element.  These settings configure the error handling pages that would be rendered to the users should an error occur.  At the very least, we recommend changing the supportContact attribute from root@localhost to your support service email address.  Documentation for advanced configuration of error handling is available at the Shibboleth SP Errors documentation page.

  • Download the metadata signing certificate for the federation metadata into /etc/shibboleth:
    • For Tuakiri, run:

      wget -O /etc/shibboleth/tuakiri-metadata-cert.pem

    • or for Tuakiri-TEST, run:

      wget -O /etc/shibboleth/tuakiri-test-metadata-cert.pem

  • Load the federation metadata: add the following (or equivalent) section into /etc/shibboleth/shibboleth2.xml just above the sample (commented-out) MetadataProviderelement.
    • For Tuakiri add:

              <MetadataProvider type="XML" url=""
                      backingFilePath="metadata.tuakiri.xml" reloadInterval="7200" validate="true">
                  <MetadataFilter type="RequireValidUntil" maxValidityInterval="2419200"/>
                  <MetadataFilter type="Signature" certificate="tuakiri-metadata-cert.pem" verifyBackup="false"/>

    • For Tuakiri-TEST, add instead:

              <MetadataProvider type="XML" url=""
                      backingFilePath="metadata.tuakiri-test.xml" reloadInterval="7200" validate="true">
                  <MetadataFilter type="RequireValidUntil" maxValidityInterval="2419200"/>
                  <MetadataFilter type="Signature" certificate="tuakiri-test-metadata-cert.pem" verifyBackup="false"/>

  • The Shibboleth SP installation needs to be configured to map attributes received from the IdP - in /etc/shibboleth/attribute-map.xml. Change the attribute mapping definition by either editing the file and uncommenting attributes to be accepted, or replace the file with the recommended Tuakiri attribute-map.xml file mapping all Tuakiri attributes (and optionally comment out those attributes not used by your SP). This can be conveniently done with

    wget -O /etc/shibboleth/attribute-map.xml

    In addition to mapping received attributes to local names (and thus accepting them), it is also possible to configure filtering rules in attribute-policy.xml.

    In most cases, this can be left as-is (the default rules do the filtering applicable to Tuakiri attributes), but additional rules can be added here.

    For further information, please see

Special considerations


Normally, the Shibboleth endpoints are accessible only via HTTPS (also configured by the handlerSSL="true" setting above). Applications that make use of (plain) http for access to content using Shibboleth protection can run into issues if the client is using inconsistent proxy connection settings for http and https.

By default Shibboleth SP checks that the IP address stays the same - but in this case, the IP address for the http and https traffic appears to be different. The safety mechanisms then suspect the session has been hijacked and terminate the session. This can lead to the SP keeping the user in an infinite loop.

For such applications we recommend setting consistentAddress="false" on the <Sessions> element:


RedHat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7

Please note that RedHat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7 (and so also CentOS 6 and 7) come with CURL built against NSS, not OpenSSL. Using this version of the CURL libraries would break the SOAP calls Shibboleth SP is making to the IdP port 8443 (back-channel communication) for artifact resolution and attribute queries.  While initial approach taken by the Shibboleth SP project was to provide CURL version linked against OpenSSL that would "upgrade" (replace) the one that comes with the OS, this was later seen as having undesired consequences and the new approach is to instead provide "look-aside" version of the library that installs into /opt.

These libraries install automatically as dependencies of the main shibboleth package and no action is needed by the deployer.

Further information is available in the upstream documentation at


If your SP should support ECP (access via non-browser clients), then also:

  1. Edit the <SSO> element in /etc/shibboleth/shibboleth2.xml and add an ECP="true"attribute:

    <SSO ECP="true" ....>

  2. Add support for ECP in the metadata registered in the federation (as instructed above).


Shibboleth SP has two separate components (the shibd daemon and the mod_shib module running inside Apache), and they also have separate logging configuration and destinations.

  • The shibd daemon logs primarily into /var/log/shibboleth/shibd.log (with transaction details in /var/log/shibboleth/transaction.log)
    • Logging configuration is in /etc/shibboleth/shibd.logger
    • Log files should be owned by shibd (the user account shibd daemon runs under)
  • The mod_shib Apache module logs into syslog (as facility LOCAL0 ).
    • Logging configuration in /etc/shibboleth/native.logger
    • In Shibboleth SP 2.x, mid_shib was logging into /var/log/shibboleth-www/native.log and /var/log/shibboleth-www/native-warn.logLog (and these files were owned by apache, the user account Apache httpd runs under)

Protecting a resource

You can protect a resource with Shibboleth SP by adding the following directives into your Apache configuration. By default, a sample configuration snippet protecting the /secure URL on the server is included in /etc/httpd/conf.d/shib.conf:

<Location /secure>
  AuthType shibboleth
  ShibRequestSetting requireSession 1
  require shib-session

You can add additional access control directives either to this file or anywhere else in the Apache configuration, as it fits with your application.

Another frequently used technique is lazy sessions - access is granted also for unauthenticated users, but if a session exists, the attributes in the session are passed through to the application - and the application can then make access control decision (and initiate a login where needed).

Applying lazy sessions (making the Shibboleth sessions visible) to the whole application can be achieved e.g. with:

<Location />
  AuthType shibboleth
  ShibRequestSetting requireSession 0
  require shibboleth

Because the way authentication modules (like mod_shib) link into Apache has changed substantially between Apache 2.2 and 2.4, the directives to protect a resource with mod_shib has changed as well.

The module provides the ShibCompatWith24 directive to emulate the Apache 2.4 behavior on Apache 2.2 and we recommend using this directive on new deployments (if they are with Apache 2.2) - the configuration will otherwise be ready for Apache 2.4.

However, this directive is only available with Apache 2.2 and is not available on Apache 2.4, so only use it on actual Apache 2.2 deployments.

Protecting a resource with eager protection in Apache 2.2:

<Location /secure>
  AuthType shibboleth
  ShibCompatWith24 On
  ShibRequestSetting requireSession 1
  require shib-session

Protecting a resource with lazy sessions in Apache 2.2:

<Location />
  AuthType shibboleth
  ShibCompatWith24 On
  ShibRequestSetting requireSession 0
  require shibboleth

Note that in this case, to actually trigger a login, the application would have to redirect the user to a Session Initiator - a default one is located at /Shibboleth.sso/Login  (see the links below for more details).
You are welcome to use the Tuakiri logo with the Login link - please visit our Logos page to get a suitably sized Tuakiri logo.

For further information, please see the following pages in the Shibboleth SP documentation:

Finishing up


  1. Place a script inside the protected directory. PHP example script such as the following is good enough:

    <?php print_r($_SERVER) ?>

  2. Access the protected directory/script (http://your.server/secure) from your browser, this should trigger a complete SSO cycle where you can authenticate on your IdP
  3. Upon successful authentication, the page should display all received attributes. Make sure you have non empty Shib-Application-ID amongst other attributes (if your IdP release them).
  4. Check your shibd.log to see if there are attributes received or errors encountered.