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Social Login using Passport.js#


The Gluu Server uses a component called Passport.js to enable social login. With over 300 existing "strategies", Passport provides a crowd-sourced approach to offering your users social login at popular consumer IDPs. Passport not only normalizes authentication, it also provides a standard mapping for user claims.

Passport is an Express-based web application. We've modified it to call oxTrust APIs for its non-static configuration. Because its configuration is stored centrally in LDAP, you can scale Passport even in clustered topologies.

The Gluu Server uses its Passport interception script to enable social login. This script is included in our default distribution. Post-authentication, this script uses just-in-time provisioning to add users to the Gluu LDAP server if a local account does not already exist. In this way, the Gluu SAML and OpenID Connect providers can gather claims and maintain SSO as normal.


Sequence Diagram#

Below is a sequence diagram to help clarify the workflow for user authentication and provisioning.

Sequence Diagram

  1. Gluu server calls Node-Passport server for JWT token.
  2. Node-Passport server generates a JWT token and provides it in response to Gluu server.
  3. Gluu server requests Node-Passport server with JWT token to authenticate user for a social network provider.
  4. Node-Passport server will redirect user to social media authentication provider.
  5. After successful authentication of user, social network will callback Node-Passport server along with user details and access token.
  6. Node-Passport server will redirect user back to Gluu server with user details and access token.
  7. Gluu server’s interception script will check if the user exists in LDAP server. If the user exists then the user will be logged into the system. If not, the interception script will create a new user with the required details and log the user into the system.

Setup Passport.js with Gluu#

During installation of the Gluu Server select yes to install Passport.js when prompted.

  1. Navigate to Configuration > Manage Custom Scripts.
  2. Enable passport script in Person Authentication Tab.Enable passport1
  3. Click on update at the end of the page.update
  4. Enable UMA authorization policy in UMA authorization policy tab.uma-enable
  5. Click on update.
  6. To set the strategies navigate to Configuration > Manage Authentication > Default Authenticaion
  7. Change the Default Authentication mode to passport
  8. Click on Passport Authentication Method tab and Passport Support to enabled.enable-authentication
  9. Add your desired strategies. The Add Strategy field values for common providers are:
    • google for GPlus Authentication
    • twitter for Twitter Authentication
    • linkedin for LinkedIn Authentication
    • github for Github Authentication
    • facebook for Facebook Authentication
  10. Add the strategy details like clientID and clientSecret (obtained from the provider, after the app is created in the provider form). setting-strategies
  11. Once the configuration and settings have been entered, restart the passport service or Gluu Server by following the below instructions:

    a. Login to chroot.

    b. Enter the following command to stop: service passport stop

    c. Enter the following command to start: service passport start


Strategies names and field names are case sensitive.

How to make a new app to use Passport#

Every provider has different protocols and ways to create the app. We will look at one of the most common providers "facebook" and create a new app.

  1. Login to
  2. Click on Add a new App from My Apps dropdown
  3. Fill the required details and click the create Create App ID button to create the app.
  4. Click on the dashboard menu and get the clientID and clientSecret which can be used with the passport.
  5. Click on settings menu and put the domain of your gluu server in the site url field.


Note: If there is a field for Authorized redirect URIs, make sure your apps list of Authorized redirect URIs contains the passport strategy's callback. For example, if your gluu server points to and the strategy is facebook, the list of Authorized redirect URIs should contain

How Passport is used in Gluu#

Before starting the development it is recommended to switch to node user, you can switch to node user by following command.

su - node
To use node js and npm execute following command.
export PATH=$PATH:/opt/node/bin

All the paths in the following guide is relative to path: /opt/gluu/node/passport/ *

The best way to add new strategies to Passport is to find an applicable npm module for your desired strategy. Let's start with an example. In this example we will consider adding facebook strategy.

  1. If you want to add facebook strategy, search for passport-facebook npm module where you can select the npm module and then add the module to passport server.
  2. Let's say we found this module "passport-facebook" and want to use this module for facebook authentication. Install the module in passport by executing the following command: npm install passport-facebook --save.
  3. Configure the strategy.
  4. Configure routes for the strategy.
  5. Call method to configure the strategy
  6. Add button for the configured strategy in passport authentication UI.

Configure the strategy using setup script#

All strategies are configured in the folder server/auth/*.js. Next we need to create a file for the new strategy. Our strategy is facebook so we can create new file named facebook.js and configure the strategy. !!!Note: All these configuration are performed during execution of setup script at the time of configuring Gluu. These steps are not required to be followed, these content are for your reference

var passport = require('passport');
var FacebookStrategy = require('passport-facebook').Strategy;

var setCredentials = function(credentials) {
    var callbackURL = global.applicationHost.concat("/passport/auth/facebook/callback");
    passport.use(new FacebookStrategy({
            clientID: credentials.clientID,
            clientSecret: credentials.clientSecret,
            callbackURL: callbackURL,
            enableProof: true,
            profileFields: ['id', 'name', 'displayName', 'email']
        function(accessToken, refreshToken, profile, done) {
            var userProfile = {
                name: profile.displayName,
                username: profile.username ||,
                givenName: profile._json.first_name,
                familyName: profile._json.last_name,
                provider: profile.provider,
                accessToken: accessToken
            return done(null, userProfile);

module.exports = {
    passport: passport,
    setCredentials: setCredentials

Here is an example of the facebook strategy configured. For facebook the required parameters are clientID, clientSecret and callbackURL. You can search for more configurations depending on the requirements and configure accordingly.

The function setCredentials is used to configure credentials of a strategy. Each strategy has a setCredentials method to configure the strategy. The parameter credentials holds the values that are stored in the oxTrust.

The parameter callbackURL should point to the callback route that we will configure in step 4. As we are configuring facebook strategy, the callbackURL can be set to "/passport/auth/facebook/callback" according the the convention of the app. You can customise the callbackURL but it is recommended not to change the convention.

The callback function of passport strategy has different number of parameters and the data in those parameters which are required to be mapped to the userProfile keys which are id, name, username, email, givenName, familyName, provider, accessToken. Here id and provider params are must. Provider param holds the value of the provider, i.e for facebook the provider value will be facebook etc. In most cases the value of provider is received in the user claims itself.

Then export the strategy that we configured and also the setCredentials method which will be used to set the details of the strategy.

Configure routes for the strategy#

We are going to set the routes for the strategy that we are going to configure. The following changes are to be made in server/routes/index.js. First require the strategy that we configured in the previous step.

var passportFacebook = require('../auth/facebook').passport;

Here require('../auth/facebook').passport will include the passport strategy that we have configured.

Then add the routes for the strategy. First we are going to register the callback route and then the authenticate route.

The authenticate route first validates the jwt token that is been sent by Gluu Server to passport server. If the JWT is valid then the user is redirected to the strategy and user can be authenticated there and the response of the user authentication is redirected to callback route.

If the callback routes receives the user data then user is been redirected to Gluu.

//==================== facebook ================
    passportFacebook.authenticate('facebook', {
        failureRedirect: '/passport/login'

    passportFacebook.authenticate('facebook', {
        scope: ['email']

scope value can be set from the strategy itself if the strategy supports that or you can set the scope value here too.

The callbackResponse method return the control to Gluu server and user is been enrolled in the system.

Call method to configure the strategy#

In this step we are going to call the setCredentials method of the strategy that we have created.

Go to the file server/auth/configureStrategies.js and require the strategy that we have created.

var FacebookStrategy = require('./facebook');

And then in setConfiguratins function, call the setCredentials method if the strategy data is received.

if (data.passportStrategies.facebook) {
    logger.log('info', 'Facebook Strategy details received');
    logger.sendMQMessage('info: Facebook Strategy details received');

This will configure the passport strategy if the details of the strategy are received from passport API.

Add button for the configured strategy in passport authentication UI.#

So far the passport server is ready with the new strategy that we have created, but to call the strategy we need to add a button which calls the new strategy.

<a data-p="facebook" class="provider" href="javascript:void(0);" style="height:40px; width:120px">
    <img alt="facebook" src="img/facebook.png" style="height:40px; width:40px"></img>

Here the data-p and class="provider" are required to call the strategy. The data-p attribute should hold the value of the route that we created in routes.

//==================== facebook ================
    passportFacebook.authenticate('facebook', {
        failureRedirect: '/passport/login'

    passportFacebook.authenticate('facebook', {
        scope: ['email']

In order to call the Strategy, the request URL to call the API must match the route that we configured.