simpleSAMLphp Installation and Configuration
Table of Contents
- 1 simpleSAMLphp news and documentation
- 2 Development version
- 3 Prerequisites
- 4 Download and install simpleSAMLphp
- 5 Upgrading from a previous version of simpleSAMLphp
- 6 Configuring Apache
- 7 simpleSAMLphp configuration: config.php
- 8 Configuring PHP
- 9 Enable modules
- 10 The simpleSAMLphp installation webpage
- 11 Next steps
- 12 Support
- 13 Installing simpleSAMLphp in alternative locations
This document is part of the simpleSAMLphp documentation suite.
- List of all simpleSAMLphp documentation
- Latest news about simpleSAMLphp. (Also conatins an RSS feed)
- simpleSAMLphp homepage
This document is about the latest stable version of simpleSAMLphp. If you want to install the development version, look at the instructions for installing simpleSAMLphp from Subversion.
- Some webserver capable of executing PHP scripts.
- PHP version >= 5.2.0.
- Suppoort for the following PHP extensions:
- Always required:
- When encrypting assertions:
- When authenticating against LDAP server:
- When authenticating against RADIUS server:
- When saving session information to memcache-server:
- When using database:
- Database driver: (
- Always required:
What actual packages are required for the various extensions varies between different platforms and distributions.
The most recent relase of simpleSAMLphp is found at code.google.com/p/simplesamlphp/. To obtain the latest stable version, download the archive file listed under Featured Dowloads.
Go to the directory where you want to install simpleSAMLphp, and extract the archive file you just downloaded:
cd /var tar xzf simplesamlphp-1.x.y.tar.gz mv simplesamlphp-1.x.y simplesamlphp
Extract the new version:
cd /var tar xzf simplesamlphp-1.x.y.tar.gz
Copy the configuration files from the previous version:
cd /var/simplesamlphp-1.x.y rm -rf config metadata cp -rv ../simplesamlphp/config config cp -rv ../simplesamlphp/metadata metadata
Replace the old version with the new version:
cd /var mv simplesamlphp simplesamlphp.old mv simplesamlphp-1.x.y simplesamlphp
If the format of the config files or metadata has changed from your previous version of simpleSAMLphp (check the revision log), you may have to update your configuration and metadata after updating the simpleSAMLphp code:
A good approach is to run a
diff between your previous
config.php file and the new
config.php file located in
config-templates/config.php, and apply relevant modifications to the new template.
This will ensure that all new entries in the latest version of config.php are included, as well as preserve your local modifications.
Most likely the metadata format is backwards compatible. If not, you should receive a very clear error message at startup indicating how and what you need to update. You should look through the metadata in the metadata-templates directory after the upgrade to see whether recommended defaults have been changed.
Examples below assume that simpleSAMLphp is installed in the default location,
/var/simplesamlphp. You may choose another location, but this requires a path update in a few files. See Appendix for details ‹Installing simpleSAMLphp in alternative locations›.
The only subdirectories of
simpleSAMLphp that needs to be accessible from the web is
www. There are several ways of putting the simpleSAMLphp depending on the way web sites are structured on your apache web server. Here is what I believe is the best configuration.
Find the Apache configuration file for the virtual hosts where you want to run simpleSAMLphp. The configuration may look like this:
<VirtualHost *> ServerName service.example.com DocumentRoot /var/www/service.example.com Alias /simplesaml /var/simplesamlphp/www </VirtualHost>
Alias directive, which gives control to simpleSAMLphp for all urls matching
http(s)://service.example.com/simplesaml/*. simpleSAMLphp makes several SAML interfaces available on the web; all of them are included in the
www subdirectory of your simpleSAMLphp installation. You can name the alias whatever you want, but the name must be specified in the
config.php file of simpleSAML as described in the section called “simpleSAMLphp configuration: config.php”. Here is an example of how this configuration may look like in
$config = array ( [...] 'baseurlpath' => 'simplesaml/',
There is a few steps that you should edit in the main configuration
config.php, right away:
Set a administrator password. This is needed to access some of the pages in your simpleSAMLphp installation web interface.
'auth.adminpassword' => 'setnewpasswordhere',
Set a secret salt. This should be a random string. Some parts of the simpleSAMLphp needs this salt to generate cryptographically secure hashes. SimpleSAMLphp will give an error if the salt is not changed from the default value. The command below can help you to generated a random string on (some) unix systems:
tr -c -d '0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz' </dev/urandom | dd bs=32 count=1 2>/dev/null;echo
Here is an example of the config option:
'secretsalt' => 'randombytesinsertedhere',
Set technical contact information. This information will be available in the generated metadata. The e-mail address will also be used for receiving error reports sent automatically by simpleSAMLphp. Here is an example:
'technicalcontact_name' => 'Andreas Åkre Solberg', 'technicalcontact_email' => 'email@example.com',
If you use simpleSAMLphp in a country where english is not widespread, you may want to change the default language from english to something else:
'language.default' => 'no',
Set the timezone which you use:
'timezone' => 'Europe/Oslo',
Some parts of simpleSAMLphp will allow you to send e-mails. In example sending error reports to technical admin, as well as sending in metadata to the federation administrators. If you want to make use of this functionality, you should make sure your PHP installation is configured to be able to send e-mails. It's a common problem that PHP is not configured to send e-mails properly. The configuration differs from system to system. On UNIX, PHP is using sendmail, on Windows SMTP.
If you want to enable some of the modules that are installed with simpleSAMLphp, but are disabled by default, you should create an empty file in the module directory named
# Enabling the consent module cd modules ls -l cd consent touch enable
If you later want to disable the module, rename the
cd modules/consent mv enable disable
After installing simpleSAMLphp, you can access the homepage of your installation, which contains some information and a few links to the test services. The url of an installation can be e.g.:
The exact link depends on how you set it up with Apache, and off course on your hostname.
Don't click on any of the links yet, because they require you to either have setup simpleSAMLphp as an Service Provider or as an Identity Provider.
Here is an example screenshot of what the simpleSAMLphp page looks like:
At the bottom of the installation page are some green lights. simpleSAML runs some tests to see whether required and recommended prerequisites are met. If any of the lights are red, you may have to add some extensions or modules to PHP, e.g. you need the PHP LDAP extension to use the LDAP authentication module.
You have now successfully installed simpleSAMLphp, and the next steps depends on whether you want to setup a service provider, to protect a website by authentication or if you want to setup an identity provider and connect it to a user catalog. Documentation on bridging between federation protocols is found in a separate document.
- Using simpleSAMLphp as a SAML Service Provider
- Identity Provider QuickStart
- Automated Metadata Management
If you need help to make this work, or want to discuss simpleSAMLphp with other users of the software, you are fortunate: Around simpleSAMLphp there is a great Open source community, and you are welcome to join! The forums are open for you to ask questions, contribute answers other further questions, request improvements or contribute with code or plugins of your own.
- simpleSAMLphp homepage (at Feide RnD)
- List of all available simpleSAMLphp documentation
- Join the simpleSAMLphp user's mailing list
- Visit and contribute to the simpleSAMLphp wiki
There may be several reasons why you want to install simpleSAMLphp in an alternative way.
You are installing simpleSAMLphp in a hosted environment where you do not have root access, and cannot change Apache configuration. Still you can install simpleSAMLphp - keep on reading.
You have full permissions to the server, but cannot edit Apache configuration for some reason, polictics, policy or whatever.
The SimpleSAMLphp code contains one folder named
simplesamlphp. In this folder there are a lot of subfolders for library, metadata, configuration and much more. One of these folders is named
www. This and only this folder should be exposed on the web. The reccomended configuration is to put the whole
simplesamlphp folder outside the webroot, and then link in the
www folder by using the
Alias directive, as described in the section called “Configuring Apache”. But this is not the only possible way.
As an example, let's see how you can install simpleSAMLphp in your home directory on a shared hosting server.
Extract the simpleSAMLphp archive in your home directory:
cd ~ tar xzf simplesamlphp-1.x.y.tar.gz mv simplesamlphp-1.x.y simplesamlphp
Then you can try to make a symlink into the
cd ~/public_html ln -s ../simplesamlphp/www simplesaml
Next, you need to update the configuration of paths in
And, then we need to set the
baseurlpath parameter to match the base path of the URLs to the content of your
'baseurlpath' => '~andreas/simplesaml/',
Now, you can go to the URL of your installation and check if things work:
Symlinking may fail, because some Apache configurations do not allow you to link in files from outside the public_html folder. If so, move the folder instead of symlinking:
cd ~/public_html mv ../simplesamlphp/www simplesaml
Now you have the following directory structure.
wwwdirectory from the
simplesamlphpinstallation directory, either moved or a symlink.
Now, we need to make a few configuration changes. First, let's edit
Change the two lines from:
require_once(dirname(dirname(__FILE__)) . '/lib/_autoload.php');
to something like:
And then at the end of the file, you need to change another line from:
$configdir = dirname(dirname(__FILE__)) . '/config';
$configdir = '/home/andreas/simplesamlphp/config';
In a future version of simpleSAMLphp we'll make this a bit easier, and let you only change the path one place, instead of three as described above.