Version: SG FLX

Kibana SAML Quick Start

Search Guard supports user authentication via SAML Single Sign-On. Search Guard implements the Web Browser SSO profile of the SAML 2.0 protocol.

This chapter describes the basic setup of SAML with Search Guard. This will work in many cases; some setups, however, require special configurations for TLS, proxies, or similar things. Please refer to the section Advanced Configuration for this.


To use SAML, you need to have an Identity Provider (IdP) supporting SAML.

Furthermore, HTTPS must be configured for Kibana.

IdP Setup

First, create a new application integration representing your Kibana installation in your Identity Provider. The exact procedure for this is specific to the IdP. When configuring the integration, you must make sure that the following settings are configured like this:

  • Assertion Consumer Service URL or Single-Sign-On URL: The IdP will send authentication information to this URL. This must be the publicly visible URL of Kibana followed by the path /searchguard/saml/acs. For example,

  • Make sure that the roles of a user are mapped to a SAML assertion.

  • All users who are supposed to log in to Kibana must have certain privileges. If you use the default sg_roles_mapping.yml configuration, just make sure that the IdP assigns the role kibanauser to all wanted users. The default sg_roles_mapping.yml then maps this to the Search Guard role SGS_KIBANA_USER. If you are not using the default sg_roles_mapping you need to make sure that it maps SGS_KIBANA_USER to a suitable backend role provided by the IdP.

You need to keep a couple of values from the IdP setup ready for the next step. These values are:

  • The SP Entity Id
  • The name of the SAML assertion to which you mapped the roles
  • The URL of the SAML metadata endpoint at your IdP or a metadata file.
  • The IdP Entity Id. You can get this Id by looking into the metadata file for an IDOSSODescriptor element and using the entityID of its parent element.

Search Guard Setup

Now you need to edit the sg_frontend_authc.yml file.

The default version of this file contains an entry for password-based authentication:

  - type: basic

If you don’t want to use password-based authentication, replace the entry- type: basic with the new configuration. If you are going to continue to use password-based authentication besides SAML, just add the new configuration below. The following examples assume that you have removed the password-based authentication.

The minimal sg_frontend_authc.yml configuration for SAML looks like this:

  - type: saml
    saml.idp.metadata_url: "http://your.idp/auth/realms/master/protocol/saml/descriptor"
    saml.idp.entity_id: "IdP entity id from the IdP"
    saml.sp.entity_id: "SP entity id from the IdP"
    user_mapping.roles.from: saml_response.roles

You need to replace the values for idp.metadata_url, idp.entity_id, sp.entity_id and user_mapping.roles by the values configured in the IdP.

If your IdP does not provide the metadata by an URL, you can to download the metadata from the IdP and specify it inline in the configuration:

  - type: saml
    saml.idp.metadata_xml: |
            <EntityDescriptor entityID="IdP entity id from the IdP" xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:metadata">
              <IDPSSODescriptor protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">
    saml.idp.entity_id: "IdP entity id from the IdP"
    saml.sp.entity_id: "SP entity id from the IdP"
    user_mapping.roles.from: saml_response.roles

Kibana Setup

To use SAML with Kibana, it is necessary to configure the external URL of Kibana in the file config/kibana.yml in your Kibana installation.

For Kibana 7.11 and newer versions, you can use the built-in setting server.publicBaseUrl:

server.publicBaseUrl: ""

For older versions of Kibana, please use the setting searchguard.frontend_base_url:

searchguard.frontend_base_url: ""

Furthermore, the SAML protocol requires special settings for the cookies used by Search Guard (For background information on this, see, for example, this blog post at To achieve this, you need to add this to kibana.yml:

searchguard.cookie.isSameSite: None true

Finally, you need to exempt the Kibana endpoints with which the IdP interacts from the Kibana XSRF protection. If your kibana.yml does not contain the key server.xsrf.whitelist, please add this:

server.xsrf.whitelist: ["/searchguard/saml/acs", "/searchguard/saml/logout"]

If kibana.yml already contains the key, make sure that the array contains the values "/searchguard/saml/acs", "/searchguard/saml/logout".

Activate the Setup

To activate the setup, do the following:

  • If you edited kibana.yml, make sure that you restart the Kibana instance.
  • Use sgctl to upload the new sg_frontend_authc.yml file to Search Guard.

That’s it. If you navigate in a browser to your Kibana instance, you should be directed to the IdP login page.

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