Passport-Stanford is a Passport authentication strategy to make it easier to work with Stanford University's SAML 2.0 authentication infrastructure. It's built on top of passport-saml and steals many ideas from Passport-UWShib.

IdP Access

While this module contains configurations for most of Stanford's SAML IdPs, only itlabv2 is currently usable without registration. Each IdP can be referenced in the Passport configuration by its SAML entityID or a short alias:

itlabv2 (

idp.itlab is a very trusting Shibboleth v2.x IdP run by the Emerging Technology group, and will work with any SP that includes its ACS URL in its AuthnRequests - it also has three test users.

itlab (

weblogin.itlab is a Shibboleth v3.x IdP run by the Emerging Technology group, and will eventually replace idp.itlab.

dev (

dev is the development IdP run by the Authentication Services team, and requires registration. dev used to be the main system for testing, but is being replaced by uat.

uat (

uat is the test IdP run by the Authentication Services team, and requires registration.

prod (

prod is the production IdP run by the Authentication Services team, and requires registration.


You can install with npm:

npm install passport-stanford

or, to add it to your package.json file: this

npm install --save passport-stanford


There is a fully-working example server script in /test/app.js, and an associated package.json, which you can use to install all the necessary packages to make the example script run (express, express middleware, passport, etc.).

Typically, passport is used in conjunction with express middleware, so you'll need to include several node modules, in addition to the http and https modules:

  • express - Express middleware
  • body-parser - parse request bodies, required by passport-saml
  • cookie-parser - parse cookies, required by passport
  • express-session - session management
  • passport - authentication middleware
  • morgan - logger
  • passport-stanford - this module

Once the passport-stanford module is loaded, it can be used to create a new Passport Strategy:

var suSAML = require('passport-stanford');


// create a Stanford SAML Strategy and tell Passport to use it
var saml = new suSAML.Strategy({
  idp:        'itlabv2',
  entityId:   'http://localhost/',
  path:       acsPath,
  loginPath:  loginPath,


To use a different IdP, just change the idp setting, or use the cert and entryPoint settings.

acsPath is the path to the SAML 2.0 Assertion Consumer Service - where the IdP will send SAML Assertions. The default is /saml/consume.

loginPath is the path to your login page, where SAML authentication is triggered. The default is /login.

In addition to the properties shown above, you may also pass any settings accepted by passport-saml.

The name of the strategy is suSAML, but you can use the .name property of the Strategy to refer to that.

Apps have to create routes to handle login requests and responses from the IdP. Logins will be GET requests, and response will be POST requests:


return is a method from the Strategy object to return either to the URL that triggered the authentication request, or to the URL passed into return, or to /.

There's also a metadata method that can be used to provide SAML 2.0 metadata for your SP; it's also configured as a GET:


Normally, to protect a route with Passport, you have to write code like this:

app.get("/profile", function(req, res) {
  if (req.isAuthenticated()) {
    res.render("profile", { user : req.user });
  } else {

Since this is a common requirement, this module provides a protect method to enforces SAML authentication:

  function(req, res) {
    res.render('profile', { user : req.user    });

You can also protect a set of routes by calling protect from app.use:


Any route requested after this middleware will require authentication.

Signed Responses

passport-stanford includes the public certs used by the Stanford IdPs to sign SAML responses and/or assertions, so signature verification is enabled by default.

Encrypted Assertions

To use encrypted assertions you will need a private / public X.509 key pair. The test app /test/package.json contains a gencert script to generate a key and self-signed certificate. To configure encryption, add the paths to your key and cert to the config:

saml = new suSAML.Strategy({
  protocol:           'http://',
  idp:                'itlab',
  entityId:           '',
  path:               acsPath,
  loginPath:          loginPath,
  passReqToCallback:  true,
  passport:           passport,
  decryptionPvkPath:  './private.pem',
  decryptionCertPath: './public.pem',

The public certificate will be included in the automatically generated metadata. You will need to provide the metadata to your IdP.

User Information

passport-stanford uses the mappings in lib/attributes.js to rewrite the attributes received from the IdP - which are often OIDs - into more friendly names. After authentication, both the original- and friendly-named attributes are available in req.user.

Pretending to be Shibboleth

To make your SP look more like a Shibboleth SP, you can use different paths for the ACS and Metadata:'/Shibboleth.sso/SAML2/POST',

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