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1.1.0 • Public • Published


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This is a SAML 2.0 authentication provider for Passport, the Node.js authentication library.

The code was originally based on Michael Bosworth's express-saml library.

Passport-SAML has been tested to work with Onelogin, Okta, Shibboleth, SimpleSAMLphp based Identity Providers, and with Active Directory Federation Services.


$ npm install passport-saml


The examples utilize the Feide OpenIdp identity provider. You need an account there to log in with this. You also need to register your site as a service provider.

Configure strategy

The SAML identity provider will redirect you to the URL provided by the path configuration.

var SamlStrategy = require('passport-saml').Strategy;
passport.use(new SamlStrategy(
    path: '/login/callback',
    entryPoint: '',
    issuer: 'passport-saml'
  function(profile, done) {
    findByEmail(, function(err, user) {
      if (err) {
        return done(err);
      return done(null, user);

Configure strategy for multiple providers

You can pass a getSamlOptions parameter to MultiSamlStrategy which will be called before the SAML flows. Passport-SAML will pass in the request object so you can decide which configuation is appropriate.

var MultiSamlStrategy = require('passport-saml/multiSamlStrategy');
passport.use(new MultiSamlStrategy(
    getSamlOptions: function(request, done) {
      findProvider(request, function(err, provider) {
        if (err) {
          return done(err);
        return done(null, provider.configuration);
  function(profile, done) {
    findByEmail(, function(err, user) {
      if (err) {
        return done(err);
      return done(null, user);

The options passed when the MultiSamlStrategy is initialized are also passed as default values to each provider. e.g. If you provide an issuer on MultiSamlStrategy, this will be also a default value for every provider. You can override these defaults by passing a new value through the getSamlOptions function.

Using multiple providers supports validateInResponseTo, but all the InResponse values are stored on the same Cache. This means, if you're using the default InMemoryCache, that all providers have access to it and a provider might get its response validated against another's request. Issue Report. To amend this you should provide a different cache provider per SAML provider, through the getSamlOptions function.

The profile object:

The profile object referenced above contains the following:

type Profile = {
  issuer?: string;
  sessionIndex?: string;
  nameID?: string;
  nameIDFormat?: string;
  nameQualifier?: string;
  spNameQualifier?: string;
  mail?: string;  // InCommon Attribute urn:oid:0.9.2342.19200300.100.1.3
  email?: string;  // `mail` if not present in the assertion
  getAssertionXml(): string;  // get the raw assertion XML
  getAssertion(): object;  // get the assertion XML parsed as a JavaScript object
  getSamlResponseXml(): string; // get the raw SAML response XML
  ID?: string;
} & {
  [attributeName: string]: unknown;  // arbitrary `AttributeValue`s

Config parameter details:

  • Core

  • callbackUrl: full callbackUrl (overrides path/protocol if supplied)

  • path: path to callback; will be combined with protocol and server host information to construct callback url if callbackUrl is not specified (default: /saml/consume)

  • protocol: protocol for callback; will be combined with path and server host information to construct callback url if callbackUrl is not specified (default: http://)

  • host: host for callback; will be combined with path and protocol to construct callback url if callbackUrl is not specified (default: localhost)

  • entryPoint: identity provider entrypoint (is required to be spec-compliant when the request is signed)

  • issuer: issuer string to supply to identity provider

  • audience: expected saml response Audience (if not provided, Audience won't be verified)

  • cert: the IDP's public signing certificate used to validate the signatures of the incoming SAML Responses, see Security and signatures

  • privateCert: see Security and signatures

  • decryptionPvk: optional private key that will be used to attempt to decrypt any encrypted assertions that are received

  • signatureAlgorithm: optionally set the signature algorithm for signing requests, valid values are 'sha1' (default), 'sha256', or 'sha512'

  • Additional SAML behaviors

  • additionalParams: dictionary of additional query params to add to all requests; if an object with this key is passed to authenticate, the dictionary of additional query params will be appended to those present on the returned URL, overriding any specified by initialization options' additional parameters (additionalParams, additionalAuthorizeParams, and additionalLogoutParams)

  • additionalAuthorizeParams: dictionary of additional query params to add to 'authorize' requests

  • identifierFormat: if truthy, name identifier format to request from identity provider (default: urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress)

  • acceptedClockSkewMs: Time in milliseconds of skew that is acceptable between client and server when checking OnBefore and NotOnOrAfter assertion condition validity timestamps. Setting to -1 will disable checking these conditions entirely. Default is 0.

  • attributeConsumingServiceIndex: optional AttributeConsumingServiceIndex attribute to add to AuthnRequest to instruct the IDP which attribute set to attach to the response (link)

  • disableRequestedAuthnContext: if truthy, do not request a specific authentication context. This is known to help when authenticating against Active Directory (AD FS) servers.

  • authnContext: if truthy, name identifier format to request auth context (default: urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:PasswordProtectedTransport); array of values is also supported

  • RACComparison: Requested Authentication Context comparison type. Possible values are 'exact','minimum','maximum','better'. Default is 'exact'.

  • forceAuthn: if set to true, the initial SAML request from the service provider specifies that the IdP should force re-authentication of the user, even if they possess a valid session.

  • providerName: optional human-readable name of the requester for use by the presenter's user agent or the identity provider

  • skipRequestCompression: if set to true, the SAML request from the service provider won't be compressed.

  • authnRequestBinding: if set to HTTP-POST, will request authentication from IDP via HTTP POST binding, otherwise defaults to HTTP Redirect

  • disableRequestACSUrl: if truthy, SAML AuthnRequest from the service provider will not include the optional AssertionConsumerServiceURL. Default is falsy so it is automatically included.

  • InResponseTo Validation

  • validateInResponseTo: if truthy, then InResponseTo will be validated from incoming SAML responses

  • requestIdExpirationPeriodMs: Defines the expiration time when a Request ID generated for a SAML request will not be valid if seen in a SAML response in the InResponseTo field. Default is 8 hours.

  • cacheProvider: Defines the implementation for a cache provider used to store request Ids generated in SAML requests as part of InResponseTo validation. Default is a built-in in-memory cache provider. For details see the 'Cache Provider' section.

  • Issuer Validation

  • idpIssuer: if provided, then the IdP issuer will be validated for incoming Logout Requests/Responses. For ADFS this looks like

  • Passport

  • passReqToCallback: if truthy, req will be passed as the first argument to the verify callback (default: false)

  • name: Optionally, provide a custom name. (default: saml). Useful If you want to instantiate the strategy multiple times with different configurations, allowing users to authenticate against multiple different SAML targets from the same site. You'll need to use a unique set of URLs for each target, and use this custom name when calling passport.authenticate() as well.

  • Logout

  • logoutUrl: base address to call with logout requests (default: entryPoint)

  • additionalLogoutParams: dictionary of additional query params to add to 'logout' requests

  • logoutCallbackUrl: The value with which to populate the Location attribute in the SingleLogoutService elements in the generated service provider metadata.

Provide the authentication callback

You need to provide a route corresponding to the path configuration parameter given to the strategy:

The authentication callback must be invoked after the body-parser middlerware.

const bodyParser = require('body-parser');'/login/callback',
  bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: false }),
  passport.authenticate('saml', { failureRedirect: '/', failureFlash: true }),
  function(req, res) {

Authenticate requests

Use passport.authenticate(), specifying saml as the strategy:

  passport.authenticate('saml', { failureRedirect: '/', failureFlash: true }),
  function(req, res) {

...or, if you wish to add or override query string parameters:

  passport.authenticate('saml', { additionalParams: { 'username': '' }}),
  function(req, res) {

generateServiceProviderMetadata( decryptionCert, signingCert )

As a convenience, the strategy object exposes a generateServiceProviderMetadata method which will generate a service provider metadata document suitable for supplying to an identity provider. This method will only work on strategies which are configured with a callbackUrl (since the relative path for the callback is not sufficient information to generate a complete metadata document).

The decryptionCert argument should be a public certificate matching the decryptionPvk and is required if the strategy is configured with a decryptionPvk.

The signingCert argument should be a public certificate matching the privateCert and is required if the strategy is configured with a privateCert.

The generateServiceProviderMetadata method is also available on the MultiSamlStrategy, but needs an extra request and a callback argument (generateServiceProviderMetadata( req, decryptionCert, signingCert, next )), which are passed to the getSamlOptions to retrieve the correct configuration.

Security and signatures

Passport-SAML uses the HTTP Redirect Binding for its AuthnRequests (unless overridden with the authnRequestBinding parameter), and expects to receive the messages back via the HTTP POST binding.

Authentication requests sent by Passport-SAML can be signed using RSA-SHA1. To sign them you need to provide a private key in the PEM format via the privateCert configuration key. The certificate should start with -----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY----- on its own line and end with -----END PRIVATE KEY----- on its own line.

For example:

    privateCert: fs.readFileSync('./cert.pem', 'utf-8')

It is a good idea to validate the signatures of the incoming SAML Responses. For this, you can provide the Identity Provider's public PEM-encoded X.509 signing certificate using the cert confguration key. The "BEGIN CERTIFICATE" and "END CERTIFICATE" lines should be stripped out and the certificate should be provided on a single line.

    cert: 'MIICizCCAfQCCQCY8tKaMc0BMjANBgkqh ... W=='

If you have a certificate in the binary DER encoding, you can convert it to the necessary PEM encoding like this:

     openssl x509 -inform der -in my_certificate.cer -out my_certificate.pem

If the Identity Provider has multiple signing certificates that are valid (such as during the rolling from an old key to a new key and responses signed with either key are valid) then the cert configuration key can be an array:

    cert: [ 'MIICizCCAfQCCQCY8tKaMc0BMjANBgkqh ... W==', 'MIIEOTCCAyGgAwIBAgIJAKZgJdKdCdL6M ... g=' ]

The cert configuration key can also be a function that receives a callback as argument calls back a possible error and a certificate or array of certificates. This allows the Identity Provider to be polled for valid certificates and the new certificate can be used if it is changed:

    cert: function(callback) { callback(null,polledCertificates); }

Usage with Active Directory Federation Services

Here is a configuration that has been proven to work with ADFS:

    entryPoint: '',
    issuer: '',
    callbackUrl: '',
    cert: 'MIICizCCAfQCCQCY8tKaMc0BMjANBgkqh ... W==',
    authnContext: '',
    identifierFormat: null

Please note that ADFS needs to have a trust established to your service in order for this to work.

For more detailed instructions, see ADFS documentation.

SAML Response Validation - NotBefore and NotOnOrAfter

If the NotBefore or the NotOnOrAfter attributes are returned in the SAML response, Passport-SAML will validate them against the current time +/- a configurable clock skew value. The default for the skew is 0s. This is to account for differences between the clock time on the client (Node server with Passport-SAML) and the server (Identity provider).

NotBefore and NotOnOrAfter can be part of either the SubjectConfirmation element, or within in the Assertion/Conditions element in the SAML response.

Subject confirmation validation

When configured (turn validateInResponseTo to true in the Passport-SAML config), the InResponseTo attribute will be validated. Validation will succeed if Passport-SAML previously generated a SAML request with an id that matches the value of InResponseTo.

Also note that InResponseTo is validated as an attribute of the top level Response element in the SAML response, as well as part of the SubjectConfirmation element.

Previous request id's generated for SAML requests will eventually expire. This is controlled with the requestIdExpirationPeriodMs option passed into the Passport-SAML config. The default is 28,800,000 ms (8 hours). Once expired, a subsequent SAML response received with an InResponseTo equal to the expired id will not validate and an error will be returned.

Cache Provider

When InResponseTo validation is turned on, Passport-SAML will store generated request ids used in SAML requests to the IdP. The implementation of how things are stored, checked to see if they exist, and eventually removed is from the Cache Provider used by Passport-SAML.

The default implementation is a simple in-memory cache provider. For multiple server/process scenarios, this will not be sufficient as the server/process that generated the request id and stored in memory could be different than the server/process handling the SAML response. The InResponseTo could fail in this case erroneously.

To support this scenario you can provide an implementation for a cache provider by providing an object with following functions:

    save: function(key, value, callback) {
      // save the key with the optional value, invokes the callback with the value saves
    get: function(key, callback) {
      // invokes 'callback' and passes the value if found, null otherwise
    remove: function(key, callback) {
      // removes the key from the cache, invokes `callback` with the
      // key removed, null if no key is removed

The callback argument is a function in the style of normal Node callbacks:

function callback(err, result)


Provide an instance of an object which has these functions passed to the cacheProvider config option when using Passport-SAML.

SLO (single logout)

Passport-SAML has built in support for SLO including

  • Signature validation
  • IdP initiated and SP initiated logouts
  • Redirect and POST SAML Protocol Bindings


See Releases to find the changes that go into each release.


Is there an example I can look at?

Gerard Braad has provided an example app at


npm i passport-saml

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