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The Shibboleth 2.x software has reached its End of Life and is no longer supported. This documentation is available for historical purposes only. See the IDP4 and SP3 wiki spaces for current documentation on the supported versions.

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The <LogoutInitiator> element is used to configure handlers that are responsible for initiating a logout operation, the termination of a user's session. The handler is responsible for performing protocol-specific tasks related to the logout, as well as terminating the session.

Logout can be "local" or "global". Local logout means that the SP's session is removed, but no communication with the IdP or other SPs is involved. Global logout implies that the IdP is also informed of the logout operation. The SP sofwtare includes user interface support for presenting a different template depending on which kind of logout takes place.

Initiation of logout via this mechanism can only be done by the user that owns the session (by contacting the handler while his/her session is active).

The ability to configure multiple LogoutInitiator handlers, and to combine them in chains, allows the deployer to control the selection of particular global/single logout protocols when more than one can be used, and to ensure that at least a local logout takes place.

Logout initiators are also required to invoke application notification loops during the logout operation. These are configured with the <Notify> element.

Finally, you can supply a paremeter named "return" as a query string parameter containing a URL. If logout completes successfully, the SP will redirect the browser to that location.

Common Attributes

  • type (string)
    • Plugin type name.
  • Location (relative path)
    • The location of the SessionInitiator (when combined with the base handlerURL). This is the location to redirect to when manually initiating a session using the query string protocol.
  • relayState (string)
    • Controls how information associated with the logout request, primarily a URL to return to, is preserved for the completion of the logout process. If not specified, the URL is passed by value to the IdP, when possible. A value of "cookie" causes the URL to be saved in a cookie, to protect the user's privacy. A third option is to use the SP's persistent storage by specifying a value of the form "SS:id", where id references a <StorageService> element.

SAML2 SessionInitiator (Protocol Handler)

Indicated by type="SAML2", supports SAML 2.0 authentication requests. As a protocol handler, an entityID must be specified/known, which is then used to check for metadata with an <md:IDPSSODescriptor> role supporting SAML 2.0. The absence of either causes a warning to be logged and the handler otherwise ignores the request.


  • template (local pathname)
    • An HTML template used during transmission of the <samlp:AuthnRequest> message.
  • outgoingBindings (space-delimited list of URIs)
    • List of SAML binding identifiers that determines the order of preferred <md:SingleSignOnService> bindings to use for the request. If this setting is used, failing to list a binding will prevent the use of an IdP that only supports the omitted binding.
  • postArtifact (boolean) (defaults to false)
    • If true, the SAML artifact binding is implemented using a form POST rather then a redirect.

ADFS SessionInitiator (Discovery Handler)

The ADFS handler is only available if the extension library is loaded by the SP.

Indicated by type="ADFS", supports Microsoft ADFS authentication requests, a subset of the WS-Federation passive requester profile. As a protocol handler, an entityID must be specified/known, which is then used to check for metadata with an <md:IDPSSODescriptor> role supporting ADFS. The absence of either causes a warning to be logged and the handler otherwise ignores the request.

A "supporting" IdP's role element has a protocolSupportEnumeration attribute containing the value "", with an accompanying <md:SingleSignOnService> with a Binding of "".

Local LogoutInitiator

Indicated by type="Local", performs a local logout without attempting to involve the IdP, and removes the active session from the cache. Upon completion, the browser will be redirected to the location in the "return" parameter, if any, or the localLogout template will be displayed.

Chaining LogoutInitiator

Identified by type="Chaining", wraps a sequence of LogoutInitiator handlers so that they run in series. The series ends when a handler indicates that a response to the browser was returned. If no response is sent, an error results.

Options specified via attributes on the surrounding element will apply to all the embedded handlers (if not overridden inside them).

Child Elements

  • <LogoutInitiator> (one or more)
    • Embedded plugins to instantiate.

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