- This article is LONG. What you're about to do is complicated.
- Read the stuff between the screenshots. It's mostly commented screenshots, really.
- Works for me ™. If it does not work for you, drop me an email or add a comment down below. I'll answer within minutes, usually.
- I can't be blamed.
- I can't be sued.
- Use your brain. Try not to loose it, though.
- I was lazy when i wrote this, so you have GERMAN screenshots and ENGLISH text. Come on, you can do it. Usually I do it the other way around all day trying to translate Microsoft-English to sane German. You can figure stuff out by looking at the screenshots i guess. Just think Weißwurst and Sauerkraut.
This walkthrough is provided as a complete lab, that means i'lll be installing Windows, Linux, Installing an AD, a webserver and all of that stuff. If you already have that infrastructure in place (or bits & pieces of it), just skip the corresponding parts.
Here's the table of contents:
- 1. Install Windows
- 2. Set up Active Directory
- 3. Install Linux
- 4. Install Apache + MariaDB
- 5. Install Nextcloud
- 6. Install the Nextcloud SAML / SSO Plugin
- 7. DoNutS & SSaLt
- 8. Install Install AD FS
- 9. Configure AD FS
- 10. Configure Nextcloud for AD FS Authentication
Step 1: Install Windows
Duh. obviously. I use Windows Server 2016, you might use a different version on your own risk, or you already have it in place, whatever.
Step 2: Set up Active Directory
So you need at least one domain contoller running, obviously. Just for this example lab, i'll set one up named dc01.testdomain.local.
Head over to the Server Manager, add the "Active Directory Domain Services" Role, install it and configure your domain, then reboot. You should have a working Acrive Directory with one domain now. Just for reference i added some screenshots here, in case this REALLY is your first time setting up a domain. Good luck, in that case… 🙂
Oh and by the way, you notice the screenshots are in German, because that's my native language. Go learn it while Windows installs all the updates. It's fun.
If there's a screenshot missing, I probably just clicked next without changing anything, and so should you.
After the installation finishes, the server reboots automatically without prompting. Oh, well.
Step 3: Install Linux
Yay, fun, Linux! I use Ubuntu 18.04 "bionic" Server just to have all the hipster stuff in place. 18.04 is not even a stable release at the time i'm writing this.
Look, finished already. Of course you want to do all the updates.
rephlex@nextcloud:~$ sudo apt update && sudo apt -y dist-upgrade
Step 4: Install Apache + MariaDB
First and foremost, we need a webserver.
rephlex@nextcloud:~$ sudo apt -y install php-mbstring php php-zip php-xml php-common php-gd php-curl apache2
Second, database server.
rephlex@nextcloud:~$ sudo apt -y install mariadb-server
We now configure our database server …
rephlex@nextcloud:~$ sudo mysql_secure_installation
Enter current password for root (enter for none):
OK, successfully used password, moving on…
Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MariaDB
root user without the proper authorisation.
Set root password? [Y/n] Y
Re-enter new password:
Password updated successfully!
Reloading privilege tables..
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y
Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost'. This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Y
By default, MariaDB comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can
access. This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.
Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y
– Dropping test database…
– Removing privileges on test database…
Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y
All done! If you've completed all of the above steps, your MariaDB
installation should now be secure.
Thanks for using MariaDB!
For demonstration purposes, we'll use PHP as Apache Module (though fpm would be preferred, but that's out of scope here).
Step 5: Install Nextcloud
We need to connect to our database server and create a new database schema and a user.
Next, head over to https://nextcloud.com/install/#instructions-server and download the latest zip/tgz archive to your webserver root, we'll just use /var/www/html.
Alright. Now head over to your web browser, and browse dat b*tch using the IP address: http://22.214.171.124/nextcloud/ in this case. Nextcloud will tell you to go away.
Try giving all your owncloud files to the webserver. As a present for the webserver gods, you know!?
Refresh your web browser. Looks better.
We can fix that by installing php-mysql and php-gd. Note, we have to restart apache afterwards. If you're running FPM, you have to restart FPM, but you're experienced enough so I don't have to tell you.
Now refresh again and finish the configuration.
Step 6: Install the Nextcloud SAML / SSO Plugin
Go to "apps", "Security" and install the "SSO & SAML authentication" official app. Refer to the screenshot below:
MEH! WHAT THE…!
Turns out, php 7.2 has no mcrypt built in anymore because f*ck you. Oh well.
# AS ROOT USER, run:
apt-get -y install gcc make autoconf libc-dev pkg-config libmcrypt-dev php-pear php-dev
pecl install –nodeps mcrypt-snapshot
libmcrypt prefix? [autodetect] :
just press return. When pecl is finished, it'll tell you to add "extension=mcrypt.so" to php ini. In Ubuntu 18.04, We run:
echo "extension=mcrypt.so" > /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/mcrypt.ini
ln -s /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/mcrypt.ini /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d/20-mcrypt.ini
ln -s /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/mcrypt.ini /etc/php/7.2/cli/conf.d/20-mcrypt.ini
service apache2 restart
Again, if you're running FPM you know how to put the module in place and have to do something different.
Now, try to install the nextcloud extension again. Seems to work:
Now, go to Nextcloud Settings -> SSO & SAML Authentication, and select the INTEGRATED SAML thingie.
We'll leave the next window empty for now, but we'll have to return here later.
Step 7: Give your Nextcloud Server a name and add some SS(a)L(t)!
It is MANDAORY to have a qualified name for your nextcloud instance. Either you're running a FQDN that is globally valid in the "true" DNS, or you're adding a fake local DNS A-Record as shown here:
Now, open the nextcloud landing page by *using* that name, you'll see that it refuses.
click "add trusted domain" and choose yes.
Next, we need SSL. Configure that yourself, for demo i'll just run
a2enmod ssl ; a2ensite default-ssl ; service apache2 restart
Because i'm lazy. Now we can "securely" access nextcloud at https://nextcloud.testdomain.local/nextcloud
Step 8: Install AD FS
Now here's the fun part.
Server Manager -> Add Roles & Features -> Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS). Do it.
When it's done installing stuff, you can immediately start configuring the role.
Start a new farm by installing the first server in a federation server farm. Farm farm farm.
Click next, leave Administrator in there.
Now you need an ssl certificate for your AD FS machine (CN: dc01.testdomain.local). You CAN buy a comodo (or other) certificate IF your AD FS server has a PUBLICLY accessible name. You HAVE TO roll your own when you run a local domain, we do in this demo, and you probably also do, so we have two choices at this point.
- Install Microsoft Certificate Service Role
- request a certificate from the IIS console (IIS is a prerequisite for the CA role anyways..)
- sign the request using your own CA
- complete signing request in IIS
- install the certificate
- be cool
- Save time and money
- use linux
Head over to your linux machine and create a cert and a key.
Now we need to merge the key and cert into a pfx that Windows can read.
Transfer the windoze.pfx over to your Windows box. I'll just do it like so:
Next we have to define a service account. I run as Administrator because I can.
Next step. Don't panic! You don't need to install MSSQL now. Use Internal Database, works just as good unless you have a freakin' lot of users.
Now be proud of yourself and finish the wizard by just clicking next a bunch of times.
Step 9: Configure AD FS
Now you should see the AD FS Configuration Console in your Start Menu. Go ahead and launch it.
First, head to Auth mechanisms and disable everything except for Forms Auth.
That looks better. Now, look at your endpoints and make sure you have the one in blue and it's enabled:
Now, we add a Relying Party Trust using the powershell.
Add-AdfsRelyingPartyTrust -Name nextcloud -Identifier nextcloud -ProtocolProfile SAML
Set-AdfsRelyingPartyTrust -Targetname nextcloud -EncryptionCertificateRevocationCheck none -SigningCertificateRevocationCheck none
The Relying Party Trust can now be seen in the graphical console. We need to edit it by double-clicking on it.
Important things to set are the ENDPOINT and the IDENTIFIER.
First, we set the Identifier to
Have a look at my screenshots. "Bezeichner" is Identifier in German.
Next: Endpoints ("Endpunkte"). Add a SAML Endpoint like so. The full string is
Click OK. Next, right-click on your Relying Party Trust and configure even more stuff:
Good News: You're done on the Windows side.
Step 10: Configure Nextcloud for AD FS Authentication
Remember when we left all the fields in the Nextcloud SSO & SAML configuration blank? This is where we configure stuff like so:
The most important setting is "Allow the use of multiple user backends". If you don't set this, you will ONLY be able to login in via SAML. That means, if anything doesn't work (hint: it won't, yet) – you're screwed. Check that box NOW.
Also note there is no save button. If your configurator menu says "Metadata invalid", just ignore, navigate away (to your owncloud files for example) and go back to the SAML configurator. The warning should be gone now.
The URLs you type in the boxes are more or less god-given and just tell the owncloud installation where to redirect your clients when they want to sign in via SAML, and whom to trust for auth stuff.
Whenever AD FS authenticates a user for you, it will carry over a public X.509 certificate. We have to figure that string out, so here's what we're gonna do.
First, log out.
Second, click the new login option:
Don't be temped to click it yet. Press F12, and depending on your browser, click the network tab. We have to preserve the entries as the browser navigates away from pages, in Chrome you need to check the "Preserve log" checkbox, in IE it's this button:
Now click the SAML login button, Ignore the SSL certificate warning you might get.
Log in to your domain.
You will be presented with an error saying "Account not provisioned", but that's perfectly OK.
In your browsers network tab, locate the POST request against your nextcloud server vor resource "acs" as shown below:
Scroll down, copy the SAML Response Form data (it MUST end with == signs) and paste to a base64 decoder (you can find plenty of 'em online).
Now, in your favourite text editor, dissect the oneliner and search for the content of the
Block. It should (?) start with MII…
Copy that over so you're only left with that text.
Now, back to the nextcloud SSO configuration (log in as LOCAL user with administrative privileges), enter the string into the corresponding field as shown below:
Now log out from nextcloud. Try logging in again from "SSO & SAML Login". Cross your fingers, aaaand…..
- AD Users are shown/created over in nextcloud as soon as they Log In (!) for the first time.
- Leave regular login enabled and keep a local administrator, just in case you lose SAML connectivity for some reason.
- Secure your SAML Endpoint by a firewall! Do it NOW!
- UN WINDOWS UPDATES, all of them, on a regular basis!
- /var/www/html/nextcloud/data/nextcloud.log is your friend. It logs all the SAML things.
On 2019-05-21, Sebastian G. added that he was able to add the email addresses to the nextcloud trust. This screenshot shows how he achieved this. Thanks, Sebastian!