SAML OmniAuth Provider

This page describes instance-wide SAML for self-managed GitLab instances. For SAML on GitLab.com, see SAML SSO for GitLab.com groups.

You should also reference the OmniAuth documentation for general settings that apply to all OmniAuth providers.

Glossary of common terms

Term Description
Identity provider (IdP) The service which manages your user identities, such as Okta or OneLogin.
Service provider (SP) GitLab can be configured as a SAML 2.0 SP.
Assertion A piece of information about a user’s identity, such as their name or role. Also known as claims or attributes.
Single Sign-On (SSO) Name of authentication scheme.
Assertion consumer service URL The callback on GitLab where users are redirected after successfully authenticating with the identity provider.
Issuer How GitLab identifies itself to the identity provider. Also known as a “Relying party trust identifier”.
Certificate fingerprint Used to confirm that communications over SAML are secure by checking that the server is signing communications with the correct certificate. Also known as a certificate thumbprint.

General Setup

GitLab can be configured to act as a SAML 2.0 Service Provider (SP). This allows GitLab to consume assertions from a SAML 2.0 Identity Provider (IdP), such as Okta to authenticate users.

First configure SAML 2.0 support in GitLab, then register the GitLab application in your SAML IdP:

  1. Make sure GitLab is configured with HTTPS. See Using HTTPS for instructions.

  2. On your GitLab server, open the configuration file.

    For Omnibus package:

    sudo editor /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb
    

    For installations from source:

    cd /home/git/gitlab
    
    sudo -u git -H editor config/gitlab.yml
    
  3. See Initial OmniAuth Configuration for initial settings.
  4. To allow your users to use SAML to sign up without having to manually create an account first, add the following values to your configuration:

    For Omnibus package:

    gitlab_rails['omniauth_allow_single_sign_on'] = ['saml']
    gitlab_rails['omniauth_block_auto_created_users'] = false
    

    For installations from source:

    omniauth:
      enabled: true
      allow_single_sign_on: ["saml"]
      block_auto_created_users: false
    
  5. You can also automatically link SAML users with existing GitLab users if their email addresses match by adding the following setting:

    For Omnibus package:

    gitlab_rails['omniauth_auto_link_saml_user'] = true
    

    For installations from source:

    auto_link_saml_user: true
    
  6. Ensure that the SAML NameID and email address are fixed for each user, as described in the section on Security. Otherwise, your users are able to sign in as other authorized users.

  7. Add the provider configuration:

    For Omnibus package:

    gitlab_rails['omniauth_providers'] = [
      {
        name: 'saml',
        args: {
                 assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
                 idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
                 idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
                 issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
                 name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent'
               },
        label: 'Provider name' # optional label for SAML login button, defaults to "Saml"
      }
    ]
    

    For installations from source:

    omniauth:
      providers:
        - {
          name: 'saml',
          args: {
            assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
            idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
            idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
            issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
            name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent'
          },
          label: 'Company Login'  # optional label for SAML login button, defaults to "Saml"
        }
    
  8. Change the value for assertion_consumer_service_url to match the HTTPS endpoint of GitLab (append users/auth/saml/callback to the HTTPS URL of your GitLab installation to generate the correct value).

  9. Change the values of idp_cert_fingerprint, idp_sso_target_url, name_identifier_format to match your IdP. If a fingerprint is used it must be a SHA1 fingerprint; check the OmniAuth SAML documentation for more details on these options. See the notes on configuring your identity provider for more information.

  10. Change the value of issuer to a unique name, which identifies the application to the IdP.

  11. For the changes to take effect, you must reconfigure GitLab if you installed via Omnibus or restart GitLab if you installed from source.

  12. Register the GitLab SP in your SAML 2.0 IdP, using the application name specified in issuer.

To ease configuration, most IdP accept a metadata URL for the application to provide configuration information to the IdP. To build the metadata URL for GitLab, append users/auth/saml/metadata to the HTTPS URL of your GitLab installation, for instance:

https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/metadata

At a minimum the IdP must provide a claim containing the user’s email address using email or mail. See the assertions list for other available claims.

On the sign in page there should now be a SAML button below the regular sign in form. Click the icon to begin the authentication process. If everything goes well the user is returned to GitLab and signed in.

Notes on configuring your identity provider

When configuring a SAML app on the IdP, you need at least:

Your identity provider may require additional configuration, such as the following:

Field Value Notes
SAML profile Web browser SSO profile GitLab uses SAML to sign users in through their browser. No requests are made directly to the identity provider.
SAML request binding HTTP Redirect GitLab (the service provider) redirects users to your identity provider with a base64 encoded SAMLRequest HTTP parameter.
SAML response binding HTTP POST Specifies how the SAML token is sent by your identity provider. Includes the SAMLResponse, which a user’s browser submits back to GitLab.
Sign SAML response Required Prevents tampering.
X.509 certificate in response Required Signs the response and checks against the provided fingerprint.
Fingerprint algorithm SHA-1 GitLab uses a SHA-1 hash of the certificate to sign the SAML Response.
Signature algorithm SHA-1/SHA-256/SHA-384/SHA-512 Determines how a response is signed. Also known as the digest method, this can be specified in the SAML response.
Encrypt SAML assertion Optional Uses TLS between your identity provider, the user’s browser, and GitLab.
Sign SAML assertion Optional Validates the integrity of a SAML assertion. When active, signs the whole response.
Check SAML request signature Optional Checks the signature on the SAML response.
Default RelayState Optional Specifies the URL users should end up on after successfully signing in through SAML at your identity provider.
NameID format Persistent See NameID format details.
Additional URLs Optional May include the issuer (or identifier) or the assertion consumer service URL in other fields on some providers.

For example configurations, see the notes on specific providers.

Assertions

Field Supported keys
Email (required) email, mail
Full Name name
First Name first_name, firstname, firstName
Last Name last_name, lastname, lastName

See attribute_statements for examples on how custom assertions are configured. This section also describes how to configure custom username attributes.

Please refer to the OmniAuth SAML gem for a full list of supported assertions.

SAML Groups

You can require users to be members of a certain group, or assign users external, administrator or auditor roles based on group membership. These groups are checked on each SAML login and user attributes updated as necessary. This feature does not allow you to automatically add users to GitLab Groups.

Support for these groups depends on your subscription and whether you’ve installed GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE).

Group Tier GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE) Only?
Required Yes
External No
Admin Yes
Auditor Yes

Requirements

First tell GitLab where to look for group information. For this, you must make sure that your IdP server sends a specific AttributeStatement along with the regular SAML response. Here is an example:

<saml:AttributeStatement>
  <saml:Attribute Name="Groups">
    <saml:AttributeValue xsi:type="xs:string">Developers</saml:AttributeValue>
    <saml:AttributeValue xsi:type="xs:string">Freelancers</saml:AttributeValue>
    <saml:AttributeValue xsi:type="xs:string">Admins</saml:AttributeValue>
    <saml:AttributeValue xsi:type="xs:string">Auditors</saml:AttributeValue>
  </saml:Attribute>
</saml:AttributeStatement>

The name of the attribute can be anything you like, but it must contain the groups to which a user belongs. To tell GitLab where to find these groups, you need to add a groups_attribute: element to your SAML settings.

Required groups

Your IdP passes Group information to the SP (GitLab) in the SAML Response. To use this response, configure GitLab to identify:

  • Where to look for the groups in the SAML response via the groups_attribute setting
  • Which group membership is requisite to sign in via the required_groups setting

When required_groups is empty or not set, anyone with proper authentication is able to use the service.

Example:

{ name: 'saml',
  label: 'Our SAML Provider',
  groups_attribute: 'Groups',
  required_groups: ['Developers', 'Freelancers', 'Admins', 'Auditors'],
  args: {
          assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
          idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
          idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
          issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
          name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient'
  } }

External groups

SAML login supports the automatic identification of a user as an external user. This is based on the user’s group membership in the SAML identity provider.

{ name: 'saml',
  label: 'Our SAML Provider',
  groups_attribute: 'Groups',
  external_groups: ['Freelancers'],
  args: {
          assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
          idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
          idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
          issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
          name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent'
  } }

Administrator groups

The requirements are the same as the previous settings:

  • The IdP must pass Group information to GitLab.
  • GitLab must know where to look for the groups in the SAML response, as well as which group(s) grant the user an administrator role.
{ name: 'saml',
  label: 'Our SAML Provider',
  groups_attribute: 'Groups',
  admin_groups: ['Admins'],
  args: {
          assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
          idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
          idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
          issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
          name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient'
  } }

Auditor groups

Introduced in GitLab 11.4.

The requirements are the same as the previous settings:

  • The IdP must pass Group information to GitLab.
  • GitLab should know where to look for the groups in the SAML response, as well as which group(s) entail that a given user is an auditor user.
{ name: 'saml',
  label: 'Our SAML Provider',
  groups_attribute: 'Groups',
  auditor_groups: ['Auditors'],
  args: {
          assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
          idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
          idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
          issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
          name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient'
  } }

Bypass two factor authentication

If you want some SAML authentication methods to count as 2FA on a per session basis, you can register them in the upstream_two_factor_authn_contexts list.

In addition to the changes in GitLab, make sure that your IdP is returning the AuthnContext. For example:

<saml:AuthnStatement>
    <saml:AuthnContext>
        <saml:AuthnContextClassRef>urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:MediumStrongCertificateProtectedTransport</saml:AuthnContextClassRef>
    </saml:AuthnContext>
</saml:AuthnStatement>

For Omnibus installations:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_rails['omniauth_providers'] = [
      {
        name: 'saml',
        args: {
                 assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
                 idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
                 idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
                 issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
                 name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
                 upstream_two_factor_authn_contexts:
                   %w(
                     urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:CertificateProtectedTransport
                     urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:SecondFactorOTPSMS
                     urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:SecondFactorIGTOKEN
                   )
    
               },
        label: 'Company Login' # optional label for SAML login button, defaults to "Saml"
      }
    ]
    
  2. Save the file and reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.


For installations from source:

  1. Edit config/gitlab.yml:

    omniauth:
      providers:
        - {
          name: 'saml',
          args: {
            assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
            idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
            idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
            issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
            name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
            upstream_two_factor_authn_contexts:
              [
                'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:CertificateProtectedTransport',
                'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:SecondFactorOTPSMS',
                'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:SecondFactorIGTOKEN'
              ]
          },
          label: 'Company Login'  # optional label for SAML login button, defaults to "Saml"
        }
    
  2. Save the file and restart GitLab for the changes to take effect

Customization

auto_sign_in_with_provider

You can add this setting to your GitLab configuration to automatically redirect you to your SAML server for authentication. This removes the requirement to click a button before actually signing in.

For Omnibus package:

gitlab_rails['omniauth_auto_sign_in_with_provider'] = 'saml'

For installations from source:

omniauth:
  auto_sign_in_with_provider: saml

Keep in mind that every sign in attempt redirects to the SAML server; you cannot sign in using local credentials. Ensure at least one of the SAML users has an administrator role.

You may also bypass the auto sign-in feature by browsing to https://gitlab.example.com/users/sign_in?auto_sign_in=false.

attribute_statements

note
This setting should be used only to map attributes that are part of the OmniAuth info hash schema.

attribute_statements is used to map Attribute Names in a SAMLResponse to entries in the OmniAuth info hash.

For example, if your SAMLResponse contains an Attribute called EmailAddress, specify { email: ['EmailAddress'] } to map the Attribute to the corresponding key in the info hash. URI-named Attributes are also supported, for example, { email: ['http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/emailaddress'] }.

This setting allows you tell GitLab where to look for certain attributes required to create an account. Like mentioned above, if your IdP sends the user’s email address as EmailAddress instead of email, let GitLab know by setting it on your configuration:

args: {
        assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
        idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
        idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
        issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
        name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
        attribute_statements: { email: ['EmailAddress'] }
}

Set a username

By default, the local part of the email address in the SAML response is used to generate the user’s GitLab username.

Configure nickname in attribute_statements to specify one or more attributes that contain a user’s desired username:

args: {
        assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
        idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
        idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
        issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
        name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
        attribute_statements: { nickname: ['username'] }
}

This also sets the username attribute in your SAML Response to the username in GitLab.

allowed_clock_drift

The clock of the Identity Provider may drift slightly ahead of your system clocks. To allow for a small amount of clock drift, you can use allowed_clock_drift in your settings. Its value must be given in a number (and/or fraction) of seconds. The value given is added to the current time at which the response is validated.

args: {
        assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
        idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
        idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
        issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
        name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
        attribute_statements: { email: ['EmailAddress'] },
        allowed_clock_drift: 1  # for one second clock drift
}

uid_attribute

By default, the uid is set as the name_id in the SAML response. If you’d like to designate a unique attribute for the uid, you can set the uid_attribute. In the example below, the value of uid attribute in the SAML response is set as the uid_attribute.

args: {
        assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
        idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
        idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
        issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
        name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
        uid_attribute: 'uid'
}

Make sure you read the Security section before changing this value.

Response signature validation (required)

We require Identity Providers to sign SAML responses to ensure that the assertions are not tampered with.

This prevents user impersonation and prevents privilege escalation when specific group membership is required. Typically this:

  • Is configured using idp_cert_fingerprint.
  • Includes the full certificate in the response, although if your Identity Provider doesn’t support this, you can directly configure GitLab using the idp_cert option.

Example configuration with idp_cert_fingerprint:

args: {
  assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
  idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
  idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
  issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
  name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
}

Example configuration with idp_cert:

args: {
  assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
  idp_cert: '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    <redacted>
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----',
  idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
  issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
  name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
}

If the response signature validation is configured incorrectly, you can see error messages such as:

  • A key validation error.
  • Digest mismatch.
  • Fingerprint mismatch.

Refer to the troubleshooting section for more information on debugging these errors.

Assertion Encryption (optional)

GitLab requires the use of TLS encryption with SAML, but in some cases there can be a need for additional encryption of the assertions.

This may be the case, for example, if you terminate TLS encryption early at a load balancer and include sensitive details in assertions that you do not want appearing in logs. Most organizations should not need additional encryption at this layer.

The SAML integration supports EncryptedAssertion. You should define the private key and the public certificate of your GitLab instance in the SAML settings:

args: {
  assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
  idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
  idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
  issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
  name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
  certificate: '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    <redacted>
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----',
  private_key: '-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
    <redacted>
    -----END PRIVATE KEY-----'
}

Your Identity Provider encrypts the assertion with the public certificate of GitLab. GitLab decrypts the EncryptedAssertion with its private key.

note
This integration uses the certificate and private_key settings for both assertion encryption and request signing.

Request signing (optional)

Another optional configuration is to sign SAML authentication requests. GitLab SAML Requests use the SAML redirect binding, so this isn’t necessary (unlike the SAML POST binding, where signing is required to prevent intermediaries from tampering with the requests).

To sign, create a private key and public certificate pair for your GitLab instance to use for SAML. The settings for signing can be set in the security section of the configuration.

For example:

args: {
  assertion_consumer_service_url: 'https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback',
  idp_cert_fingerprint: '43:51:43:a1:b5:fc:8b:b7:0a:3a:a9:b1:0f:66:73:a8',
  idp_sso_target_url: 'https://login.example.com/idp',
  issuer: 'https://gitlab.example.com',
  name_identifier_format: 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent',
  certificate: '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    <redacted>
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----',
  private_key: '-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
    <redacted>
    -----END PRIVATE KEY-----',
  security: {
    authn_requests_signed: true,  # enable signature on AuthNRequest
    want_assertions_signed: true,  # enable the requirement of signed assertion
    embed_sign: true,  # embedded signature or HTTP GET parameter signature
    metadata_signed: false,  # enable signature on Metadata
    signature_method: 'http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmldsig-more#rsa-sha256',
    digest_method: 'http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#sha256',
  }
}

GitLab signs the request with the provided private key. GitLab includes the configured public x500 certificate in the metadata for your Identity Provider to validate the signature of the received request with. For more information on this option, see the Ruby SAML gem documentation. The Ruby SAML gem is used by the OmniAuth SAML gem to implement the client side of the SAML authentication.

Security

Avoid user control of the following attributes:

  • NameID
  • Email when used with omniauth_auto_link_saml_user

These attributes define the SAML user. If users can change these attributes, they can impersonate others.

Refer to the documentation for your SAML Identity Provider for information on how to fix these attributes.

Passwords for users created via SAML

The Generated passwords for users created through integrated authentication guide provides an overview of how GitLab generates and sets passwords for users created via SAML.

Configuring Group SAML on a self-managed GitLab instance

For information on the GitLab.com implementation, please see the SAML SSO for GitLab.com groups page.

Group SAML SSO helps if you have to allow access via multiple SAML identity providers, but as a multi-tenant solution is less suited to cases where you administer your own GitLab instance.

To proceed with configuring Group SAML SSO instead, enable the group_saml OmniAuth provider. This can be done from:

Limitations

Group SAML on a self-managed instance is limited when compared to the recommended instance-wide SAML. The recommended solution allows you to take advantage of:

Omnibus installations

  1. Make sure GitLab is configured with HTTPS.
  2. Enable OmniAuth and the group_saml provider in gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_rails['omniauth_enabled'] = true
    gitlab_rails['omniauth_providers'] = [{ name: 'group_saml' }]
    

Source installations

  1. Make sure GitLab is configured with HTTPS.
  2. Enable OmniAuth and the group_saml provider in gitlab/config/gitlab.yml:

     omniauth:
       enabled: true
       providers:
         - { name: 'group_saml' }
    

Providers

GitLab support of SAML means that you can sign in to GitLab with a wide range of identity providers. Your identity provider may have additional documentation. Some identity providers include documentation on how to use SAML to sign in to GitLab.

Examples:

GitLab provides the following setup notes for guidance only. If you have any questions on configuring the SAML app, please contact your provider’s support.

Okta setup notes

The following guidance is based on this Okta article, on adding a SAML Application with an Okta Developer account:

  1. In the Okta administrator section, make sure to select Classic UI view in the top left corner. From there, choose to Add an App.
  2. When the app screen comes up you see another button to Create an App and choose SAML 2.0 on the next screen.
  3. Optionally, you can add a logo (you can choose it from https://about.gitlab.com/press/). You must crop and resize it.
  4. Next, fill in the SAML general configuration with the assertion consumer service URL as “Single sign-on URL” and the issuer as “Audience URI” along with the NameID and assertions.
  5. The last part of the configuration is the feedback section where you can just say you’re a customer and creating an app for internal use.
  6. When you have your app you can see a few tabs on the top of the app’s profile. Click on the SAML 2.0 configuration instructions button.
  7. On the screen that comes up take note of the Identity Provider Single Sign-On URL which you can use for the idp_sso_target_url on your GitLab configuration file.
  8. Before you leave Okta, make sure you add your user and groups if any.

Google workspace setup notes

The following guidance is based on this Google Workspace article, on how to Set up your own custom SAML application:

Make sure you have access to a Google Workspace Super Admin account. Use the information below and follow the instructions in the linked Google Workspace article.

  Typical value Description
Name of SAML App GitLab Other names OK.
ACS URL https://<GITLAB_DOMAIN>/users/auth/saml/callback ACS is short for Assertion Consumer Service.
GITLAB_DOMAIN gitlab.example.com Set to the domain of your GitLab instance.
Entity ID https://gitlab.example.com A value unique to your SAML app, set it to the issuer in your GitLab configuration.
Name ID format EMAIL Required value. Also known as name_identifier_format
Name ID Primary email address Make sure someone receives content sent to that address
First name first_name Required value to communicate with GitLab.
Last name last_name Required value to communicate with GitLab.

You also must setup the following SAML attribute mappings:

Google Directory attributes App attributes
Basic information > Email email
Basic Information > First name first_name
Basic Information > Last name last_name

You may also use some of this information when you configure GitLab.

When configuring the Google Workspace SAML app, be sure to record the following information:

  Value Description
SSO URL Depends Google Identity Provider details. Set to the GitLab idp_sso_target_url setting.
Certificate Downloadable Run openssl x509 -in <your_certificate.crt> -noout -fingerprint to generate the SHA1 fingerprint that can be used in the idp_cert_fingerprint setting.

While the Google Workspace Admin provides IdP metadata, Entity ID, and SHA-256 fingerprint, they are not required. GitLab does not need that information to connect to the Google Workspace SAML app.

Troubleshooting

SAML Response

You can find the base64-encoded SAML Response in the production_json.log. This response is sent from the IdP, and contains user information that is consumed by GitLab. Many errors in the SAML integration can be solved by decoding this response and comparing it to the SAML settings in the GitLab configuration file.

GitLab+SAML Testing Environments

To troubleshoot, a complete GitLab+SAML testing environment using Docker compose is available.

If you only require a SAML provider for testing, a quick start guide to start a Docker container with a plug and play SAML 2.0 Identity Provider (IdP) is available.

500 error after login

If you see a “500 error” in GitLab when you are redirected back from the SAML sign-in page, this could indicate that:

  • GitLab couldn’t get the email address for the SAML user. Ensure the IdP provides a claim containing the user’s email address using the claim name email or mail.
  • The certificate set your gitlab.rb file for idp_cert_fingerprint or idp_cert file is incorrect.
  • Your gitlab.rb file is set to enable idp_cert_fingerprint, and idp_cert is being provided, or the reverse.

422 error after login

If you see a “422 error” in GitLab when you are redirected from the SAML sign-in page, you might have an incorrectly configured Assertion Consumer Service (ACS) URL on the identity provider.

Make sure the ACS URL points to https://gitlab.example.com/users/auth/saml/callback, where gitlab.example.com is the URL of your GitLab instance.

If the ACS URL is correct, and you still have errors, review the other Troubleshooting sections.

If you are sure that the ACS URL is correct, proceed to the Redirect back to the login screen with no evident error section for further troubleshooting steps.

Redirect back to the login screen with no evident error

If after signing in into your SAML server you are redirected back to the sign in page and no error is displayed, check your production.log file. It most likely contains the message Can't verify CSRF token authenticity. This means that there is an error during the SAML request, but in GitLab 11.7 and earlier this error never reaches GitLab due to the CSRF check.

To bypass this you can add skip_before_action :verify_authenticity_token to the omniauth_callbacks_controller.rb file immediately after the class line and comment out the protect_from_forgery line using a #. Restart Puma for this change to take effect. This allows the error to hit GitLab, where it can then be seen in the usual logs, or as a flash message on the login screen.

That file is located in /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/app/controllers for Omnibus installations and by default in /home/git/gitlab/app/controllers for installations from source. Restart Puma using the sudo gitlab-ctl restart puma command on Omnibus installations and sudo service gitlab restart on installations from source.

You may also find the SAML Tracer (Firefox) and SAML Chrome Panel (Chrome) browser extensions useful in your debugging.

Invalid audience

This error means that the IdP doesn’t recognize GitLab as a valid sender and receiver of SAML requests. Make sure to add the GitLab callback URL to the approved audiences of the IdP server.

Missing claims, or Email can't be blank errors

The IdP server needs to pass certain information in order for GitLab to either create an account, or match the login information to an existing account. email is the minimum amount of information that needs to be passed. If the IdP server is not providing this information, all SAML requests fail.

Make sure this information is provided.

Another issue that can result in this error is when the correct information is being sent by the IdP, but the attributes don’t match the names in the OmniAuth info hash. In this case, you must set attribute_statements in the SAML configuration to map the attribute names in your SAML Response to the corresponding OmniAuth info hash names.

Key validation error, Digest mismatch or Fingerprint mismatch

These errors all come from a similar place, the SAML certificate. SAML requests must be validated using either a fingerprint, a certificate, or a validator.

For this requirement, be sure to take the following into account:

  • If a fingerprint is used, it must be the SHA1 fingerprint
  • If no certificate is provided in the settings, a fingerprint or fingerprint validator needs to be provided and the response from the server must contain a certificate (<ds:KeyInfo><ds:X509Data><ds:X509Certificate>)
  • If a certificate is provided in the settings, it is no longer necessary for the request to contain one. In this case the fingerprint or fingerprint validators are optional

If none of the above described scenarios is valid, the request fails with one of the mentioned errors.

User is blocked when signing in through SAML

The following are the most likely reasons that a user is blocked when signing in through SAML:

  • In the configuration, gitlab_rails['omniauth_block_auto_created_users'] = true is set and this is the user’s first time signing in.
  • There are required_groups configured, but the user is not a member of one.

Google workspace troubleshooting tips

The Google Workspace documentation on SAML app error messages is helpful for debugging if you are seeing an error from Google while signing in. Pay particular attention to the following 403 errors:

  • app_not_configured
  • app_not_configured_for_user