The ownCloud Shibboleth user backend application integrates ownCloud with a Shibboleth Service Provider (SP) and allows operations in federated and single-sign-on (SSO) infrastructures. Setting up Shibboleth has two big steps:
Enable and configure the Apache Shibboleth module.
Enable and configure the ownCloud Shibboleth app.
Currently supported installations are based on the native Apache integration. The individual configuration of the service provider is highly dependent on the operating system, as well as on the integration with the Identity Providers (IdP), and require case-by-case analysis and installation.
A good starting point for the service provider installation can be found in the official Shibboleth Wiki.
A successful installation and configuration will populate Apache environment variables with at least a unique user id which is then used by the ownCloud Shibboleth app to login a user.
This is an example configuration as installed and operated on a Linux server running the Apache 2.4 Web server. These configurations are highly operating system specific and require a high degree of customization.
The ownCloud instance itself is installed in
Further Shibboleth specific configuration as defined in
# Load the Shibboleth module. LoadModule mod_shib /usr/lib64/shibboleth/mod_shib_24.so # Ensure handler will be accessible <Location /Shibboleth.sso> AuthType None Require all granted </Location> # always fill env with shib variable for logout url <Location /> AuthType shibboleth ShibRequestSetting requireSession false Require shibboleth </Location> # authenticate only on the login page <Location ~ "^(/index.php)?/login"> # force internal users to use the IdP <If "-R '192.168.1.0/24'"> AuthType shibboleth ShibRequestSetting requireSession true require valid-user </If> # allow basic auth for eg. guest accounts <Else> AuthType shibboleth ShibRequestSetting requireSession false require shibboleth </Else> </Location> # shib session for css, js and woff not needed <Location ~ "/.*\.(css|js|woff)"> AuthType None Require all granted </Location>
To allow users to login via the IdP, add a login alternative with the
login.alternatives option in config.php.
Depending on the ownCloud Shibboleth app mode, you may need to revisit this configuration.
After enabling the Shibboleth app on your Apps page, you need to choose the app mode and map the necessary Shibboleth environment variables to ownCloud user attributes on your Admin page.
After enabling the app it will be in Not active mode, which ignores a
Shibboleth session and allows you to login as an administrator and
inspect the currently available Apache environment variables. Use this
mode to set up the environment mapping for the other modes, and in case
you locked yourself out of the system. You can also change the app mode
and environment mappings by using the
occ command, like this example
on Ubuntu Linux:
$ sudo -u www-data php occ shibboleth:mode notactive $ sudo -u www-data php occ shibboleth:mapping --uid login
In Single sign-on only mode the app checks if the environment variable
for the Shibboleth session, by default Shib-Session-Id, is set. If
that is the case it will take the value of the environment variable as
uid, by default
eppn, and check if a user is known by that
uid. In effect, this allows another user backend, e.g., the LDAP app,
to provide the
As an example the IdP can send the userPrincipalName which the Apache
Shibboleth module writes to a custom Apache environment variable called
login. The ownCloud Shibboleth app reads that
variable and tries to find an LDAP user with that
username. For this
to work userPrincipalName needs to be added to the Additional Search
Attributes in the LDAP directory settings on the advanced tab.
We recommend using a scoped login attribute like userPrincipalName or
mail because otherwise the search might find multiple users and
In many scenarios Shibboleth is not intended to hide the user’s password from the service provider, but only to implement SSO. If that is the case it is sufficient to protect the ownCloud base url with Shibboleth. This will send Web users to the IdP but allow desktop and mobile clients to continue using username and password, preventing popups due to an expired Shibboleth session lifetime.
In Autoprovision Users mode the app will not ask another user backend, but instead provision users on the fly by reading the two additional environment variables for display name and email address.
In ownCloud 8.1 the Shibboleth environment variable mapping was stored
apps/user_shibboleth/config.php. This file was overwritten on
upgrades, preventing a seamless upgrade procedure. In ownCloud 8.2+ the
variables are stored in the ownCloud database, making Shibboleth
From 3.1.2 you can now specify a mapper that is used on inbound ownCloud
user IDs, to adjust them before usage in ownCloud. You can set the
$ sudo -u www-data php occ config:app:set user_shibboleth \ uid_mapper --value="OCA\User_Shibboleth\Mapper\ADFSMapper"
You may view the currently configured mapper using:
$ sudo -u www-data php occ shibboleth:mapping
The following mappers are provided with the app:
OCA\User_Shibboleth\Mapper\NoOpMapper - the default, does not alter the uid
OCA\User_Shibboleth\Mapper\ADFSMapper - splits the uid around a ; character and takes the first piece
OCA\User_Shibboleth\Mapper\GUIDInMemoryMapper - maps in binary GUIDs to strings
The ownCloud Desktop Client can interact with an ownCloud instance running inside a Shibboleth Service Provider by using OAuth2 tokens to authenticate.
The ownCloud Android and iOS mobile apps also work with OAuth2 tokens.
Users of standard WebDAV clients can generated an App Password on the
Personal settings page. Use of App Passwords may be enforced with the
token_auth_enforced option in config.php.
File encryption can only be used together with Shibboleth when the master key-based encryption <occ_encryption_label> is used because the per- user encryption requires the user’s password to unlock the private encryption key. Due to the nature of Shibboleth the user’s password is not known to the service provider.
You can allow other login mechanisms (e.g. LDAP or ownCloud native) by creating a second Apache virtual host configuration. This second location is not protected by Shibboleth, and you can use your other ownCloud login mechanisms.
Session timeout on Shibboleth is controlled by the IdP. It is not possible to have a session length longer than the length controlled by the IdP. In extreme cases this could result in re-login on mobile clients and desktop clients every hour.
To log in LDAP users via SAML for Single Sign On the user in LDAP must be uniquely resolvable by searching for the username that was sent in the SAML token. For this to work the ldap attribute containing the username needs to be added to the Additional Search Attributes in the LDAP directory settings on the advanced tab . We recommend using a scoped login attribute like userPrincipalName or mail because otherwise the search might find multiple users and prevent login.
user_shibboleth will do the authentication, and
user_ldap will provide user details such as