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Our software is “just” software, and has to be installed and managed by somebody to do what it does. We are not a service, and we do not host our software for other people or provide a shared environment you connect to by paying us. We do not provide accounts for end users, we do not see any transactions our software may be used to support, and we are not in the middle of any relationship you have with anybody you get service from (e.g., we don’t deal with libraries, journals, contracts, etc.).

What does it mean to “support” Shibboleth as a Service Provider?

If you’re asked to support it for an application or service, what the person asking is really saying (imprecisely if not incorrectly) is that they want you to support federated login to your particular web service/platform, generally via SAML. They want you to let their users log into your services using their local credentials via their local login server instead of requiring a password issued by you or by Google or whatever solution you might be using.


Our software has pros and cons like any other way of doing anything. It takes research and experience to know how to find the right solution for any technical problem, and chances are if you’re very new to the issue, Shibboleth won’t be a great fit. We make complex software for complex needs and we assume a lot of knowledge up front, as is common with open source.

What does it mean to “support” Shibboleth as an Identity Provider?

If you are part of an organization with users that access resources and services managed by other organizations and you want, or somebody has asked you, to support Shibboleth for that access, they are asking you to support federated login by your users (using your existing credentials) to other services, generally via SAML. You would then have to decide on an approach to deliver an Identity Provider technical solution to enable this to happen, either with software you install and run (like Shibboleth) or by buying a service from somebody else.

Our “niche” is higher education, where there are large federations of universities and service providers that work together on the federated login problem using the SAML standard. Our software is not unique to that use case, nor to SAML, but that’s where we have mindshare so that’s usually the source of inquiries.

Do I have to pay to use Shibboleth?