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Configure Single Sign-On


Teleport users can log in to servers, Kubernetes clusters, databases, web applications, and Windows desktops through their organization's Single Sign-On (SSO) provider.

  • Azure Active Directory (AD): Configure Azure Active Directory SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.
  • Active Directory (ADFS): Configure Windows Active Directory SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.
  • Google Workspace: Configure Google Workspace SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.
  • GitHub: Configure GitHub SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops, and web apps.
  • GitLab: Configure GitLab SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.
  • OneLogin: Configure OneLogin SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.
  • OIDC: Configure OIDC SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.
  • Okta: Configure Okta SSO for SSH, Kubernetes, databases, desktops and web apps.

How Teleport uses SSO

You can register your Teleport cluster as an application with your SSO provider. When a user signs in to Teleport, your SSO provider will execute its own authentication flow, then send an HTTP request to your Teleport cluster to indicate that authentication has completed.

Teleport authenticates users to your infrastructure by issuing short-lived certificates. After a user completes an SSO authentication flow, Teleport issues a short-lived certificate to the user. Teleport also creates a temporary user on the Auth Service backend.

Temporary user resources

After a user completes an SSO authentication flow, Teleport creates a temporary user resource for the user.

When a user signs in to Teleport with tsh login, they can configure the TTL of the user Teleport creates. Teleport enforces a limit of 30 hours (the default is 12 hours).

In the Teleport audit log, you will see an event of type user.create with information about the temporary user.

You can inspect a temporary user resource created via your SSO integration by using the tctl command:

Log in to your cluster with tsh so you can use tctl remotely

tsh login --user=myuser
tctl get users/<username>

Here is an example of a temporary user resource created when the GitHub user myuser signed in to GitHub to authenticate to Teleport. This resource expires 12 hours after creation. The created_by field indicates that the resource was created by Teleport's GitHub SSO integration:

kind: user
  expires: "2022-06-15T04:02:34.586688054Z"
  id: 0000000000000000000
  name: myuser
      id: github
      identity: myuser
      type: github
    time: "2022-06-14T16:02:34.586688441Z"
      name: system
  expires: "0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"
  - connector_id: github
    username: myuser
  - editor
  - access
  - auditor
    is_locked: false
    lock_expires: "0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"
    locked_time: "0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"
    recovery_attempt_lock_expires: "0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"
    - my-team
    kubernetes_groups: null
    kubernetes_users: null
    - root
version: v2

Certificates for SSO users

Along with creating a temporary user, Teleport issues SSH and X.509 certificates to a successfully authenticated SSO user's machine. This enables SSO users to authenticate to your cluster without Teleport needing to create a permanent record of them.

In the X.509 certificate, for example, the Subject field contains the same information defined in the temporary user resource. This enables Teleport to enforce RBAC rules for the authenticated user when they access resources in your cluster.

This is a Subject field for a certificate that Teleport issued for the GitHub user myuser, who signed in to a Teleport cluster via the GitHub SSO integration:

Subject: L=myuser/{"github_teams":["my-team"],"kubernetes_groups":null,"kubernetes_users":null,"logins":["root"]}, O=access, O=editor, O=auditor, CN=myuser/

The user belongs to the GitHub team my-team, which this Teleport cluster maps to the access, editor, and auditor roles in Teleport. (Read the guide for your SSO provider to determine how to configure role mapping.)

To inspect the contents of an X.509 certificate issued for your user after you sign in to Teleport via SSO, run the following commands:

TELEPORT_CLUSTER=<your cluster>
SSO_USER=<your username within your SSO provider>
openssl x509 -text -in ~/.tsh/keys/${TELEPORT_CLUSTER}/${SSO_USER}-x509.pem | grep "Subject:"

You can inspect an SSH certificate issued for your Teleport user with the following command:

ssh-keygen -L -f ~/.tsh/keys/${TELEPORT_CLUSTER}/${SSO_USER}-ssh/${TELEPORT_CLUSTER}

Multiple SSO providers

Since Teleport creates temporary users and issues short-lived certificates when a user authenticates via SSO, it is straightforward to integrate Teleport with multiple SSO providers. Besides the temporary user resource, no persistent backend data in Teleport is tied to a user's account with the SSO provider.

This also means that if one SSO provider becomes unavailable, the end user only needs to choose another SSO provider when signing in to Teleport. While the user may be locked out of their account with the first SSO provider, signing in via the second provider is sufficient for Teleport to issue a new certificate and grant the user access to your infrastructure.

Note that if the username of an SSO user already belongs to a user registered locally with the Auth Service (i.e., created via tctl users add), the SSO login will fail.

Logging in via SSO

Users can log in to Teleport via your SSO provider by executing a command similar to the following, using the --auth flag to specify the provider:

This command will automatically open the default web browser and take a user

through the login process with an SSO provider

tsh login --auth=github

The command opens a browser window and shows a URL the user can visit in the terminal to complete their SSO flow:

If browser window does not open automatically, open it by clicking on the link:

Teleport will wait for up to 3 minutes for a user to authenticate. If authentication succeeds, Teleport will retrieve SSH and X.509 certificates and store them in the ~/.tsh/keys/<clustername> directory. The tool will also will add SSH cert to an SSH agent if there's one running.

Configuring SSO

Teleport works with SSO providers by relying on the concept of an authentication connector. An authentication connector is a configuration resource that controls how SSO users log in to Teleport—and which Teleport roles they will assume once they do.

This means that you can apply fine-grained RBAC policies to your Teleport cluster without needing to change the solution you use for on– and offboarding users.

Supported connectors

The following authentication connectors are supported:

NoneIf no authentication connector is created, Teleport will use local authentication based user information stored in the Auth Service backend. You can manage user data via the tctl users command.
githubThe GitHub connector uses GitHub SSO to authenticate users and query their group membership.

Creating an authentication connector

Next, define an authentication connector. Create a file called connector.yaml with the following content:

kind: cluster_auth_preference
  name: cluster-auth-preference
  type: github
    # Replace with the address of your Teleport cluster
    rp_id: ''
version: v2

Create the connector:

tctl create -f connector.yaml

User logins

Often it is required to restrict SSO users to their unique UNIX logins when they connect to Teleport Nodes. To support this:

  • Use the SSO provider to create a field called unix_login (you can use another name).
  • Make sure the unix_login field is exposed as a claim via SAML/OIDC.
  • Update a Teleport role to include the {{external.unix_login}} variable in the list of allowed logins:
kind: role
version: v5
  name: sso_user
    - '{{external.unix_login}}'
      '*': '*'

Provider-Specific Workarounds

Certain SSO providers may require or benefit from changes to Teleport's SSO flow. These provider-specific changes can be enabled by setting the spec.provider property of the connector definition to one of the following values to match your identity provider:

  • adfs (SAML): Required for compatibility with Active Directory (ADFS); refer to the full ADFS guide for details.
  • netiq (OIDC): Used to enable NetIQ-specific ACR value processing; refer to the OIDC guide for details.
  • ping (SAML and OIDC): Required for compatibility with Ping Identity (including PingOne and PingFederate).
  • okta (OIDC): Required when using Okta as an OIDC provider.

At this time, the spec.provider field should not be set for any other identity providers.

Working with an external email identity

Along with sending groups, an SSO provider will also provide a user's email address. In many organizations, the username that a person uses to log in to a system is the same as the first part of their email address, the "local" part.

For example, [email protected] might log in with the username dave.smith. Teleport provides an easy way to extract the first part of an email address so it can be used as a username. This is the {{email.local}} function.

If the email claim from the identity provider (which can be accessed via {{}}) is sent and contains an email address, you can extract the "local" part of the email address before the @ sign like this: {{email.local(}}

Here's how this looks in a Teleport role:

kind: role
version: v5
  name: sso_user
    # Extracts the local part of [email protected], so the login will
    # now support dave.smith.
    - '{{email.local(}}'
      '*': '*'

Working with multiple SSO providers

Teleport can also support multiple connectors. For example, a Teleport administrator can define and create multiple connector resources using tctl create as shown above.

To see all configured connectors, execute this command on the Auth Server:

tctl get connectors

To delete/update connectors, use the usual tctl rm and tctl create commands as described in the Resources Reference.

If multiple authentication connectors exist, the clients must supply a connector name to tsh login via --auth argument:

use "okta" SAML connector:

tsh login --auth=okta

use local Teleport user DB:

tsh login --auth=local --user=admin

Refer to the following guides to configure authentication connectors of both SAML and OIDC types:

SSO customization

Use the display field in an authentication connector to control the appearance of SSO buttons in the Teleport Web UI.

GitHubdisplay: GitHubgithub
Microsoftdisplay: Microsoftmicrosoft
Googledisplay: Googlegoogle
BitBucketdisplay: Bitbucketbitbucket
OpenIDdisplay: OktaOkta


Troubleshooting SSO configuration can be challenging. Usually a Teleport administrator must be able to:

  • Ensure that HTTP/TLS certificates are configured properly for both Teleport proxy and the SSO provider.
  • Be able to see what SAML/OIDC claims and values are getting exported and passed by the SSO provider to Teleport.
  • Be able to see how Teleport maps the received claims to role mappings as defined in the connector.

If something is not working, we recommend to:

  • Double-check the host names, tokens and TCP ports in a connector definition.

Using the Web UI

If you get "access denied" or other login errors, the number one place to check is the Audit Log. You can access it in the Activity tab of the Teleport Web UI.

Audit Log Entry for SSO Login error

Example of a user being denied because the role clusteradmin wasn't set up:

  "code": "T1001W",
  "error": "role clusteradmin is not found",
  "event": "user.login",
  "method": "oidc",
  "success": false,
  "time": "2019-06-15T19:38:07Z",
  "uid": "cd9e45d0-b68c-43c3-87cf-73c4e0ec37e9"

Teleport does not show the expected Nodes

When Teleport's Auth Service receives a request to list Teleport Nodes (e.g., to display Nodes in the Web UI or via tsh ls), it only returns the Nodes that the current user is authorized to view.

For each Node in the user's Teleport cluster, the Auth Service applies the following checks in order and, if one check fails, hides the Node from the user:

  • None of the user's roles contain a deny rule that matches the Node's labels.
  • At least one of the user's roles contains an allow rule that matches the Node's labels.

If you are not seeing Nodes when expected, make sure that your user's roles include the appropriate allow and deny rules as documented in the Teleport Access Controls Reference.

When configuring SSO, ensure that the identity provider is populating each user's traits correctly. For a user to see a Node in Teleport, the result of populating a template variable in a role's allow.logins must match at least one of a user's traits.logins.

In this example a user will have usernames ubuntu, debian and usernames from the SSO trait logins for Nodes that have a env: dev label. If the SSO trait username is bob then the usernames would include ubuntu, debian, and bob.

kind: role
  name: example-role
    logins: ['{{external.logins}}', ubuntu, debian]
      'env': 'dev'
version: v5