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Federation Metadata


Updated: June 5, 2015

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) publishes a federation metadata document for services that are configured to accept the security tokens that Azure Active Directory issues. The federation metadata document format is described in the Web Services Federation Language (WS-Federation) Version 1.2, which extends Metadata for the OASIS Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) V2.0.

This topic lists the metadata endpoints and explains the content in the metadata document that services that accept Azure AD tokens need to use.

Azure AD publishes tenant-specific and tenant-independent endpoints. Tenant-specific endpoints are designed for a particular tenant. The tenant-specific federation metadata includes information about the tenant, including tenant-specific issuer and endpoint information. Applications that restrict access to a single tenant use tenant-specific endpoints.

Tenant-independent endpoints provide information that is common to all Azure AD tenants. This information applies to tenants hosted at and is shared across tenants. Tenant-independent endpoints are recommended for multi-tenant applications, since they are not associated with any particular tenant.

Azure AD publishes federation metadata at<TenantDomainName>/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml where the value of <TenantDomainName> can be "common" or a tenant-specific value.

The endpoints are addressable, so you can go to the address site to view the federation metadata for a tenant.

For tenant-specific endpoints, the <TenantDomainName> can be one of the following types:

  • A registered domain name of an Azure AD tenant, such as:

  • The immutable tenant id of the domain, such as 72f988bf-86f1-41af-91ab-2d7cd011db45.

For tenant-independent endpoints, the <TenantDomainName> is common. This name indicates that only the Federation Metadata elements that are common to all Azure AD tenants that are hosted at

For example, a tenant-specific endpoint might be https:// The tenant-independent endpoint is

The following section provides information needed by services that consume the tokens issued by Azure AD.


The EntityDescriptor element contains an EntityID attribute. The value of the EntityID attribute represents the issuer, that is, the security token service (STS) that issued the token. It is important to validate the issuer so you can confirm which tenant issued a token.

The following metadata shows a sample tenant-specific EntityDescriptor element with an EntityID element.


The EntityID in the tenant-independent endpoint provides a template that can be used to generate a tenant-specific EntityID value. Replace the "{tenant}" literal in the tenant-independent endpoint with the value of the TenantID claim from a token. The resulting value will be the same as the token issuer. This strategy allows a multi-tenant application to validate the issuer for a given tenant.

The following metadata shows a sample tenant-independent EntityID element. In this element, {tenant} is a literal, not a placeholder.


Token Signing Certificate

When a service receives a token that is issued by a Azure AD tenant, the signature of the token must be validated with a signing key that is published in the federation metadata document.

The federation metadata includes the public portion of the certificates that the tenants use for token signing. The certificate raw bytes appear in the KeyDescriptor element. The token signing certificate is valid for signing only when the value of the use attribute is signing.

A federation metadata document published by Azure AD can have multiple signing keys , such as when Azure AD is preparing to update the signing certificate. When a federation metadata document includes more than one certificate, a service that is validating the tokens should support all certificates in the document.

The following metadata shows a sample KeyDescriptor element with a signing key.

<KeyDescriptor use="signing">
<KeyInfo xmlns="">

The KeyDescriptor element appears in two places in the federation metadata document; in the WS-Federation-specific section and the SAML-specific section. The certificates published in both sections will be the same.

In the WS-Federation-specific section, a WS-Federation metadata reader would read the certificates from a RoleDescriptor element with the SecurityTokenServiceType type.

The following metadata shows a sample RoleDescriptor element.

<RoleDescriptor xmlns:xsi="" xmlns:fed="" xsi:type="fed:SecurityTokenServiceType"protocolSupportEnumeration="">

In the SAML-specific section, a WS-Federation metadata reader would read the certificates from a IDPSSODescriptor element.

The following metadata shows a sample IDPSSODescriptor element.

<IDPSSODescriptor protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">

There are no differences in the format of tenant-specific and tenant-independent certificates.

WS-Federation Endpoint URL

The federation metadata includes the URL that is Azure AD uses for single sign-in and single sign-out in WS-Federation protocol. This endpoint appears in the PassiveRequestorEndpoint element.

The following metadata shows a sample PassiveRequestorEndpoint element for a tenant-specific endpoint.

<EndpointReference xmlns="">

For the tenant-independent endpoint, the WS-Federation URL appears in the WS-Federation endpoint, as shown in the following sample.

<EndpointReference xmlns="">

SAML Protocol Endpoint URL

The federation metadata includes the URL that Azure AD uses for single sign-in and single sign-out in SAML 2.0 protocol. These endpoints appear in the IDPSSODescriptor element.

The sign-in and sign-out URLs appear in the SingleSignOnService and SingleLogoutService elements.

The following metadata shows a sample PassiveResistorEndpoint for a tenant-specific endpoint.

<IDPSSODescriptor protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">
    <SingleLogoutService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-Redirect" Location="" />
    <SingleSignOnService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-Redirect" Location=" /saml2" />

Similarly the endpoints for the common SAML 2.0 protocol endpoints are published in the tenant-independent federation metadata, as shown in the following sample.

<IDPSSODescriptor protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">
    <SingleLogoutService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-Redirect" Location="" />
    <SingleSignOnService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-Redirect" Location="" />
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