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SimpleSAMLphp Installation and Configuration

Table of Contents

This document is part of the SimpleSAMLphp documentation suite.

This document covers the installation of the latest stable version of SimpleSAMLphp. If you want to install the development version, take a look at the instructions for installing SimpleSAMLphp from the repository.

1 Prerequisites

What actual packages are required for the various extensions varies between different platforms and distributions.

2 Download and install SimpleSAMLphp

The most recent release of SimpleSAMLphp can always be found at https://simplesamlphp.org/download.

Go to the directory where you want to install SimpleSAMLphp and extract the archive file you just downloaded:

cd /var tar xzf simplesamlphp-x.y.z.tar.gz mv simplesamlphp-x.y.z simplesamlphp

3 Upgrading from a previous version of SimpleSAMLphp

Extract the new version:

cd /var tar xzf simplesamlphp-x.y.z.tar.gz

Copy the configuration files from the previous version (in case the configuration directory is inside SimpleSAMLphp, keep reading for other alternatives):

cd /var/simplesamlphp-x.y.z 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-x.y.z simplesamlphp

If the format of the config files or metadata has changed from your previous version of SimpleSAMLphp (check the upgrade notes), you may have to update your configuration and metadata after updating the SimpleSAMLphp code.

3.1 Upgrading configuration files

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.

3.2 Upgrading metadata files

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.

3.3 Alternative location for configuration files

By default, SimpleSAMLphp looks for its configuration in the config directory in the root of its own directory. This has some drawbacks, like making it harder to update SimpleSAMLphp or to install it as a composer dependency, or to package it for different operating systems.

In order to avoid this limitations, it is possible to specify an alternative location for the configuration directory by setting the SIMPLESAMLPHP_CONFIG_DIR environment variable to point to this location. This way, the configuration directory doesn't need to be inside the library's directory, making it easier to manage and to update. The simplest way to set this environment variable is to set it in your web server's configuration. See the next section for more information.

4 Configuring Apache

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 Installing SimpleSAMLphp in alternative locations for more details.

The only subdirectory of SimpleSAMLphp that needs to be accessible from the web is www. There are several ways of exposing SimpleSAMLphp depending on the way web sites are structured on your Apache web server. The following is just one possible configuration.

Find the Apache configuration file for the virtual hosts where you want to run SimpleSAMLphp. The configuration may look like this:

``` ServerName service.example.com DocumentRoot /var/www/service.example.com

        SetEnv SIMPLESAMLPHP_CONFIG_DIR /var/simplesamlphp/config

        Alias /simplesaml /var/simplesamlphp/www

        <Directory /var/simplesamlphp/www>
            Require all granted
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

```

Note the 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 accessible through the www subdirectory of your SimpleSAMLphp installation. You can name the alias whatever you want, but the name must be specified in the baseurlpath configuration option in the config.php file of SimpleSAMLphp as described in the section called “SimpleSAMLphp configuration: config.php”. Here is an example of how this configuration may look like in config.php:

$config = [ [...] 'baseurlpath' => 'simplesaml/', [...] ]

Note also the SetEnv directive in the Apache configuration. It sets the SIMPLESAMLPHP_CONFIG_DIR environment variable, in this case, to the default location for the configuration directory. You can omit this environment variable, and SimpleSAMLphp will then look for the config directory inside its own directory. If you need to move your configuration to a different location, you can use this environment variable to tell SimpleSAMLphp where to look for configuration files. This works only for the config directory. If you need your metadata to be in a different directory too, use the metadatadir configuration option to specify the location.

This is just the basic configuration to get things working. For a checklist further completing your documentation, please see Maintenance and configuration: Apache.

5 Configuring Nginx

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 Installing SimpleSAMLphp in alternative locations for more details.

The only subdirectory of SimpleSAMLphp that needs to be accessible from the web is www. There are several ways of exposing SimpleSAMLphp depending on the way web sites are structured on your Nginx web server. The following is just one possible configuration.

Find the Nginx configuration file for the virtual hosts where you want to run SimpleSAMLphp. The configuration may look like this:

``` server { listen 443 ssl; server_name idp.example.com;

    ssl_certificate        /etc/pki/tls/certs/idp.example.com.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key    /etc/pki/tls/private/idp.example.com.key;
    ssl_protocols          TLSv1.3 TLSv1.2;
    ssl_ciphers            EECDH+AESGCM:EDH+AESGCM;

    location ^~ /simplesaml {
        alias /var/simplesamlphp/www;

        location ~ \.php(/|$) {
            root             /var/simplesamlphp/www;
            fastcgi_pass     127.0.0.1:9000;
            fastcgi_index    index.php;
            fastcgi_param    SCRIPT_FILENAME  $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
            fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
            fastcgi_param    PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
            include          fastcgi_params;
        }
    }
}

```

6 SimpleSAMLphp configuration: config.php

There are a few steps that you should complete in the main configuration file, config.php, right away:

7 Configuring PHP

7.1 Sending e-mails from PHP

Some parts of SimpleSAMLphp will allow you to send e-mails. For example, sending error reports to the technical admin. 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.

By default SimpleSAMLphp uses the PHP mail() function, which you can configure via php.ini. For more advanced configuration, including using a remote SMTP server, see the mail.* options in config.php.

8 Enabling and disabling modules

If you want to enable some of the modules that are installed with SimpleSAMLphp, but are disabled by default, you can do that in the configuration:

'module.enable' => [ 'exampleauth' => true, // Setting to TRUE enables. 'saml' => false, // Setting to FALSE disables. 'core' => null, // Unset or NULL uses default for this module. ],

Set to true the modules you want to enable, and to false those that you want to disable.

Alternatively, you can enable or disable modules by setting empty files with given names in the module's root directory. For example, in order to enable the consent module:

cd modules/consent touch enable

If you later want to disable the module, you can rename the enable file to disable.

cd modules/consent mv enable disable

This is the traditional way of enabling and disabling modules, but it is deprecated. Please do not rely on this in new installations of the software.

9 The SimpleSAMLphp installation web page

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.:

https://service.example.org/simplesaml/

The exact URL depends on how you set it up with your web server, and of course on your hostname.

Warning: before you can actually use SimpleSAMLphp for something useful, you need to configure it either as a Service Provider or as an Identity Provider, depending on your use case.

Here is an example screenshot of what the SimpleSAMLphp page looks like:

Screenshot of the SimpleSAMLphp installation page.

9.1 Check your PHP environment

At the bottom of the installation page there are some green lights. SimpleSAMLphp runs some tests to see whether the required and recommended prerequisites are met. If any of the lights are red, you may have to install some PHP extensions or external PHP packages (e.g. you need the PHP LDAP extension to use the LDAP authentication module).

10 Next steps

You have now successfully installed SimpleSAMLphp, and the next steps depend on whether you want to setup a Service Provider (in order to protect access to an existing application) or an Identity Provider (which you would connect to a user database where your users can authenticate). Documentation on bridging between federation protocols is found in a separate document.

11 Support

If you need help to make this work, or want to discuss SimpleSAMLphp with other users of the software, you are in luck: there is a great Open Source community around SimpleSAMLphp, and you are welcome to join! The forums are open for you to ask questions, help others by answering their questions, request improvements or contribute with code or plugins of your own.

12 Appendix: Installing SimpleSAMLphp in alternative locations

There may be several reasons why you want to install SimpleSAMLphp in an alternative way.

The SimpleSAMLphp package contains one folder named simplesamlphp-x.y.z (where x.y.z is the version number). In this folder there are a lot of subfolders for library, metadata, configuration, etc. One of these folders is named www. Only this folder should be exposed on the web. The recommended configuration is to put the whole simplesamlphp folder outside the web root, and then link to the www folder by using the Alias directive, as described in the section called “Configuring Apache”. This is not the only possible way, though.

As an example, let's see how you can install SimpleSAMLphp in your home directory on a shared hosting server.

  1. Extract the SimpleSAMLphp archive in your home directory:

    cd ~ tar xzf simplesamlphp-1.x.y.tar.gz mv simplesamlphp-1.x.y simplesamlphp

  2. Then you can try to make a symlink into the public_html directory.

    cd ~/public_html ln -s ../simplesamlphp/www simplesaml

  3. Next, you need to set the baseurlpath configuration option with the URL pointing to the simplesaml link you just created in your public_html directory. For example, if your home directory is reachable in https://host.example/~myaccount/, set the base URL path accordingly:

    'baseurlpath' => 'https://host.example/~myaccount/simplesaml/',

    Now, you can go to the URL of your installation and check if things work:

    https://host.example/~myaccount/simplesaml/

12.1 Tip

Symlinking may fail, because some Apache configurations do not allow you to link to files from outside the public_html folder. If so, you can move the www folder instead of symlinking it:

cd ~/public_html mv ../simplesamlphp/www simplesaml

Now you have the following directory structure.

Now, we need to make a few configuration changes. First, let's edit ~/public_html/simplesaml/_include.php:

Change the two lines from:

require_once(dirname(dirname(__FILE__)) . '/lib/_autoload.php');

to something like:

require_once(dirname(dirname(dirname(__FILE__))) . '/lib/_autoload.php');

Warning: note that this will make upgrading SimpleSAMLphp much more difficult, since you will need to move the www directory and manually edit files every time you upgrade. It is also possible that this method does not work in future versions of SimpleSAMLphp, and therefore it is discouraged and should be used only as a last resort.