Shibboleth Service Provider (SP) 3.0 Installation Guide

Table of contents

  1. No entry yet.
Note regarding Upgrades to Shibboleth SP 3
  • Shibboleth SP v3 supports the SP v2 configuration format, so the SP v2 configuration files are forward-compatible with SP v3.
  • Nevertheless, we strongly recommend to apply a few changes described in the Migration guide if your configuration is from a v2 installation.


This guide describes the installation of a Shibboleth Service Provider (SP) 3.0 on the supported operating systems below. We did not test the SP on all OS versions, so please report any issue you encounter.

First select the operating system that is used on the host where the Shibboleth Service Provider is installed:

Debian 9.x (stretch) (using SWITCH Package Repository).

Debian 10.x (buster) (using SWITCH Package Repository unless official packages contain latest SP version).

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (bionic) (using SWITCH Package Repository).

CentOS Linux 5.x/6.x

CentOS Linux 7.x

RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.x/6.x

RedHat Enterprise Linux 7.x

OpenSUSE 13.2.x

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.x/11.x/12.x

macOS 10.10.x or later

Windows Server 2008 and above with IIS

This guide covers only installation but not configuration of the Service Provider. The installation instructions are generic and not federation specific.
If the Service Provider is already installed, please continue to the federation-specific Configuration Guide.


For the following steps it is assumed that the reader is sufficiently experienced to use the command line environment on the operating system of choice.

Please examine the list below and ensure that the system where the Service Provider is going to be installed meets the given requirements.


The following requirements must be met to install and operate the Shibboleth Service Provider.

Microsoft IIS
Because Shibboleth is mostly used for web authentication, a web server is needed. In this guide a Microsoft IIS webserver is required. It is also possible to use the Shibboleth SP with Apache on Windows but this combination is not covered in this guide.
Apache Webserver
Because Shibboleth is mostly used for web authentication, a web server is needed. In this guide an Apache webserver is required for the Shibboleth Service Provider. It is also possible to use the Shibboleth SP with Nginx but this is out of scope for this guide.
Root access
For the following steps it must be possible to execute commands as user with root privileges, e.g. as root user or with the recommended sudo. Ensure that you have root privileges on the system.
Mac Ports
To install the Shibboleth Service Provider package on macOS, the package management system Mac Ports must be installed. If not yet installed, please install Mac Ports on the system. Prerequisite for using Mac Ports is that the Apple Developer Tools (e.g. XCode) are installed on the system as Mac Ports must compile some software.
IIS Management Compatibility
IIS 6 Management Compatibility should be installed on IIS 7.x since the Shibboleth installer package uses those management interfaces. Without IIS 6 Management Compatibility additional manual configuration steps not covered in this document will be required. The IIS 6 Management Compatibility option can be installed from Administrative Tools > Server Manager > Web Server (IIS) > Role Services.
Remove manually compiled/installed Service Provider
Before installing the Shibboleth Service Provider 3.0 on the system with the OS packet management system, ensure that there is no manually compiled and installed version of Shibboleth anymore. Manually compiled and installed version of the Shibboleth Service Provider can conflict with the new Service Provider versions that are installed via the package management system.


The following software is optional but recommended to be installed for installation and operation of the Service Provider.

Servers running Shibboleth must have the system time synchronized in order to avoid clock-skew errors. It is therefore recommended to install ntp or use another time synchronisation mechanism.
We recommend installing sudo for commands that require root privileges.
As root user sudo can be installed with:
apt install sudo
yum install sudo
zypper install sudo
To download software and configuration files we recommend curl but of course you can also use wget or another tool. Just replace the curl commands in the following instructions with the tool you prefer using. Curl can be installed with:
sudo apt install curlsudo yum install curl
SSL enabled for Apache
It is strongly recommended to have the Apache SSL module enabled and configured to support HTTPS. By default the Shibboleth messages containing user attributes are encrypted. Therefore, they can also be sent via the insecure HTTP protocol. However, any session-based access to a web page via the insecure HTTP is prone to session hijacking attacks. This also includes the Shibboleth session. Relying on HTTPS mitigates this risk.
SSL enabled for Microsoft IIS
The IIS website should have an appropriate x509 certificate installed and SSL enabled.

Before continuing to the next section, please ensure that the requirements above are met on the system where the Shibboleth Service Provider will be installed.

Shibboleth Repository

The Shibboleth project operates its own repository that provides the official Shibboleth Service Provider binaries and its dependencies for RPM-based Linux distributions. This repository contains always up-to-date version of the Shibboleth Service Provider. Therefore, it is recommended to prefer this repository and its packages over packages that may be provided by the OS distribution.

The Shibboleth project only provides official binary packages for RPM-based Linux distributions. As a service to its community members, SWITCH operates a repository with packages for the current Debian stable release. To configure this repository as an additional source for APT, follow these steps:

The Shibboleth project only provides official binary packages for RPM-based Linux distributions. As a service to its community members, SWITCH operates a repository with packages for the current Ubuntu LTS release. To configure this repository as an additional source for APT, follow these steps:

The Shibboleth project maintains the official Shibboleth Service Provider Mac Port packages. Therefore, no specific repository has to be configured for macOS provided Mac Ports is installed.

Download repository package
curl --fail --remote-name
curl --fail --remote-name
curl --fail --remote-name
Install repository package
sudo apt install ./switchaai-apt-source_1.0.0~bpo9+1_all.deb

On Debian 9.x (stretch), the stretch-backports repository is also required for Shibboleth. Make sure it is enabled in /etc/apt/sources.list. The SP version 3 requires newer libraries that are only available in stretch-backports.

sudo apt install ./switchaai-apt-source_1.0.0_all.deb
sudo apt install ./switchaai-apt-source_1.0.0ubuntu1_all.deb

Ubuntu's universe section is also required for Shibboleth. Make sure it is enabled in /etc/apt/sources.list.

For Centos 5.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
For Centos 6.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
For Centos 7.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
For RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
For RedHat Enterprise Linux 6.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
A special note applies to Red Hat 7 and probably all future versions: because of Red Hat's licensing restrictions, it's now impossible for the build service to target Red Hat 7 directly. However, CentOS is an identical system, and the packages for it work on the equivalent Red Hat versions, so Red Hat 7 deployments should rely on the CentOS 7 package repository.
For RedHat Enterprise Linux 7.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
Yum then will show a message like:
Importing GPG key 0x7D0A1B3D:
 Userid     : "security:shibboleth OBS Project <>"
 Fingerprint: 6519 b5db 7c1c 8340 a954 ed00 73c9 3745 7d0a 1b3d
 From       :
Is this ok [y/N]: 
Verify that the fingerprint of the repository signing key is 6519 b5db 7c1c 8340 a954 ed00 73c9 3745 7d0a 1b3d.
If this is the case, answer with 'Y' for yes.
For OpenSUSE 13.2.x:
sudo curl --output /etc/yum.repos.d/security:shibboleth.repo
For SUSE Linux 10.x:
sudo zypper ar -f
For SUSE Linux 11.x:
sudo zypper ar -f
For SUSE Linux 11.x SP 1:
sudo zypper ar -f
For SUSE Linux 11.x SP 2:
sudo zypper ar -f
For SUSE Linux 11.x SP 3:
sudo zypper ar -f
For SUSE Linux 12.x:
sudo zypper ar -f
You will be asked to confirm the new repository.
Refresh Repository
sudo apt update
sudo zypper ref -s
sudo port sync
The package repository on is operated for the SWITCH community and support is limited to SPs registered in the SWITCHaai federation. Use of the repository by other parties is permitted, but in this case it is provided as is and without any support.


Install the Service Provider by:

Shibboleth Service Provider Installation
Option A: Upgrade from Previous Installation: If you upgrade from a previous installation (e.g. SP 2.6), run the following commands:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t stretch-backports init-system-helpers libxerces-c3.2
sudo apt install --install-recommends shibboleth
sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt autoremove
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends shibboleth
sudo apt autoremove
The above commands ensure that there are no conflicts because some packages were renamed for SP 3.
sudo apt install --install-recommends shibboleth
For 32-bit OS:
sudo yum install shibboleth
For 64-bit OS:
sudo yum install shibboleth.x86_64
sudo port install curl +ssl
sudo port install shibboleth
If asked to confirm whether you really want to install Shibboleth and all dependencies, answer with 'Y' for yes.

If a previous version of the Service Provider from the official repository was installed on this system, this old version might be replaced by the newer version from the SWITCH repository. It is therefore ok to agree that old packages (like libapache2-mod-shib2 libsaml8 libshibsp6 libxmltooling6 opensaml2-schemas shibboleth-sp2-schemas) are removed. If asked whether you want to import the GPG key with userid "security:shibboleth OBS Project " and fingerprint: 6519 b5db 7c1c 8340 a954 ed00 73c9 3745 7d0a 1b3d answer with 'Y'.

After installation of the package, you need to start the shibd daemon:
sudo service shibd start

After installation of the package, you need to start and enable the shibd daemon:

sudo systemctl start shibd.service
sudo systemctl enable shibd.service

Shibboleth does not support the SP in conjunction with SELinux. To disable SELinux, configure SELINUX=disabled in /etc/selinux/config and reboot the system.

If there was an older version of a Service Provider already installed on the system, you might be asked whether to keep the existing configuration files or overwrite them with the package default files. The old configuration files should be kept. You can continue to use the old files in most cases. Generally, it is however recommended to perform a clean configuration as is described in the configuration guide mentioned below.

Option B: Fresh Installation: If no Service Provider was previously installed on the system, run:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t stretch-backports init-system-helpers libxerces-c3.2
sudo apt install --install-recommends shibboleth
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends shibboleth
Make Service Provider Start on Boot
sudo launchctl load -Fw /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.shibd.plist
Create symlinks
sudo ln -s /opt/local/etc/shibboleth /etc/shibboleth
sudo ln -s /opt/local/var/log/shibboleth /var/log/shibboleth
sudo ln -s /opt/local/etc/shibboleth/apache22.config /etc/apache2/other/shibboleth.conf
Download Windows Installer file
Download the Shibboleth Service Provider .msi file from the Shibboleth software repository. Either the 64 bit version or 32 bit version. Please check also the Installation Guide of the Shib Wiki.
Run the installer
Execute the installer package. We recommend to perform the following actions during installation:
  1. Confirm the dialog to run the software
  2. Click "Next"
  3. Accept the license agreement
  4. The setup should look like on the screenshot below.
    Windows Installer screenshot
    Install the Service Provider into the default location to C:\opt\shibboleth-sp
    "Install ISAPI modules into IIS" should be checked
    IIS Script Extension should be the default ".sso"
    Compatibility with IIS 7 or older is not required if you run IIS 8 or newer
  5. Click "Next", then "Install", then "Finish"
  6. Click "Yes" to restart the system
Verify Shibboleth Service settings
In order to check whether the installation was successful, open Administrative Tools > Services. The Shibboleth service (Shibboleth 3 Daemon) should have Status = Started, Startup Type = Automatic, Logon As = Local System.
Verify IIS settings
Open Internet Information Server (IIS) Manager and verify the Shibboleth ISAPI filter is installed
As of V3, a new IIS plugin is available which provides a richer and more secure integration with IIS version 7 and later. Please read about changes and advantages on Wiki page on Microsoft IIS.
  • If you are using IIS 6: Right-click on Web Sites, open Properties, select the ISAPI Filters tab. You should see a green arrow in the Status column for Shibboleth.
    Double-click on the Shibboleth filter entry and you should see Executable = C:\opt\shibboleth-sp\lib\shibboleth\isapi-shib.dll for a 32-bit install. If the status is unknown, use a web browser to open the URL of your web site. Often this will force the Shibboleth ISAPI filter to be activated.
  • For IIS 7 and later no specific checks are needed.
Optional proxy settings
Shibboleth will automatically download metadata and CRL files. If your network policy does not allow outgoing connections on port 80 by default, then it is recommended to configure an HTTP proxy for outgoing connections.
Add the following line in /etc/sysconfig/shibd/etc/default/shibd
Add the following lines in /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.shibd.plist:
 <key>RunAtLoad</key> <false/>
    <key>OnDemand</key> <true/>
    <key>StandardErrorPath</key> <string>/dev/null</string>
    <key>UserName</key> <string>root</string>
         <key>Umask</key> <string>0022</string>
Open Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Environment Variables > System variables > New... and add the environment variable:


The Service Provider should now be installed on the system. Of particular interests are the directories:

Configuration directory of Shibboleth. The main configuration file is shibboleth2.xml.
Log directory where logs are written to. The most important log file is the shibd.log file that should be consulted in case of problems.
/run/shibboleth /opt/local/var/run/shibboleth C:\opt\shibboleth-sp\var\run\shibboleth
Runtime directory where process ID and socket files are stored.
/var/cache/shibboleth /opt/local/var/cache/shibboleth C:\opt\shibboleth-sp\var\cache\shibboleth
Cache directory where metadata backup and CRL files are stored.
/etc/init.d /Library/LaunchDaemons/
Init script directory where the startup script for the shibd daemon is stored.
Find below a list of useful Windows management console commands, which can be opened by 'Start -> Run':
IIS Management Console
Event viewer
Local User & Group Management

Quick Test

After the installation a quick test shows whether the Service Provider was installed properly.

Shibboleth Configuration Check
In the command line, execute the following command to see whether the Shibboleth Service Provider can load the default configuration:
sudo shibd -t
sudo LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/shibboleth/lib64 shibd -t
C:\opt\shibboleth-sp\sbin\shibd.exe -check
Important is that the last line of the output is:
overall configuration is loadable, check console for non-fatal problems
If there are any ERROR log entries, it is strongly recommended to have a look at the problem.
Messages with log level WARN are generally not problematic but it is recommended to examine the causes of these warning messages.
Apache Configuration Check
Also test the Apache configuration with the command:
sudo apache2ctl configtest
sudo apachectl configtest
The output of this command should be:
Syntax OK
Shibboleth Quick Test
(Re-) Start the web server and then access the URL: https:///Shibboleth.sso/Session.

The web server (or rather the Shibboleth daemon respectively) should return a page that says:
A valid session was not found.
This message shows that the Shibboleth module is loaded by the webserver and is communicating with the shibd process.

Service Provider Configuration

After the above tests were successful, continue to the Shibboleth configuration. Note that the configuration and migration guides are only for SWITCHaai Participants who configure a Service Provider for the SWITCHaai Federation (or the AAI Test Federation). In all other cases refer to the configuration guides of the Shibboleth Consortium.

Mistakes and Improvements?
If you found an error or a typo or if you have suggestions for improvements, please . Your contributions are appreciated very much and they will help your colleagues.

Additional Information


Version Information

Copyright: SWITCH
URL: index.html