Setting up SimpleSAMLphp on Windows Server with ADFS

Going to be brief here as it’s late at night. 

SimpleSAMLphp is a PHP application you can setup as a Relying Party in ADFS if you want a test application to play around with it. (It can do more things by the look of it – such as act as an Identity Provider itself, but I am not interested in that currently). 

Here’s what I did with it. 

1) Download it to my web server (a Windows Server 2019) and copy the extracted contents to a folder called c:\inetpub\simplesamlphp

(Update: Forgot to mention initially that I had downloaded the latest PHP on this server, following the steps here. I installed the latest version (7.2 as of this writing). Later on I came across the official IIS PHP website that offers me aa PHP 5.3 executable to install. Not sure what is the correct approach to have taken).

2) Made a DNS entry called testadfs.fqdn pointing it to my web server. Created a new website in IIS called testadfs.fqdn, pointing to c:\inetpub\simplesamlphp\www

3) SimpleSAMLphp expects the web URL to be of the form http://testadfs.fqdn/simplesaml so I made a virtual directory in IIS, under testadfs.fqdn, called simplesaml pointing it too to c:\inetpub\simplesamlphp\www


4) Now browsing to http://testadfs.fqdn/simplesaml works. 

Next step is configuring it!

5) Go to config\config.php and make changes as per this section of the install guide. You can use any random characters for the salt, use the GRC password generator if you want to be truly random. 

I want to use SimpleSAMLphp as identity provider (from the docs: “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”). I need to follow the steps here

6) Go to config\authsources.php and go to the entry called default-sp. Rename this to something if you want. I went to the ‘idp’ section here an added my ADFS server thus: ‘’. Got this from the Federation Services properties in ADFS. 


Then add a line like this:

Without this I was getting an InvalidNameIDPolicy error. Thanks to this StackOverflow post that gave me the workaround (note the accepted answer doesn’t work any more so I had to go with one of the others; looks to be a known issue with SimpleSAMLphp).

7) Go back to http://testadfs.fqdn/simplesaml and go to the Federation tab > Tools > XML to SimpleSAMPphp metadata converter. Put in the metadata URL of your ADFS – it’s of the form https://<idp fqdn>/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml. In the resulting page go to the box for saml20-idp-remote and copy the contents. Then go to metadata\saml20-idp-remote.php and paste the contents there. 

8) Next go back to the Federation tab again and click “show metadata”. In the next page copy the URL for the XML metadata. 

show metadata

9) Go to the ADFS server, add a relying party trust, put in the above XML URL. Create the trust then edit its claims issuance policy and make a custom rule to “Pass All Claims”:

That’s all! Now I can go to the Authentication tab > Test configured authentication sources > and test the one I created above.