Single Sign-On (SSO) for Portal

SSO is an authentication service that allows a user to use single login to access multiple applications. SSO uses Security Assertion Markup language (SAML) for exchanging authentication between the applications.

Note: This feature is available only for certain plans of Zoho Billing. Visit the pricing page to check if it’s available in your current plan.


Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an open-standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data between two parties ie., Service Provider (SP) and Indentity Provider (IdP). 

Service Provider agrees to trust the Identity Provider for authenticating the user. Identity Provider generates authenticating assertion for the user and communicate that with Service Provider. 

The most important use case that SAML addresses is web browsers single sign-on (SSO). Single sign-on can be established between different domains.

How SSO works?

SSO involves three parties

Let’s look at the SSO workflow,

  1. User requests a service from the Service Provider. 
  2. Service Provider requests authentication assertion from the Identity Provider.
  3. Based on the assertion, Service Provider makes decision to the user’s request.

    SSO Transaction Steps

To whom does this fit?

Merchants who maintain user accounts on their end and still require Zoho Billing’s Customer Portal for billing. 

For Example:

Let us consider, a merchant has an online book store (say, He maintains user accounts on their end. The user has to login to to make a purchase. To ease the work, the merchant decides to use Zoho Billing’s Customer Portal for billing and payments, i.e., to make payment, update credit card and verify past transactions.

But wait, should the user login to both the accounts?

That’s right. User needs to login both the servers.

Thus, the merchant's requirement is, 

1. Customer will be using both the accounts. 
2. Customer who logs in to, will be automatically logged in to (Zoho Billing's Portal)

Well, enabling SSO between two systems can do that. 

Enable SSO for the Customer portal

I. Decide your IdP

An Identity Provider (IdP) is a service that verifies and manages user identities for secure access to websites or applications. It can be:

II. Configure SSO

Here’s how you can enable SSO configuration:

Field Description
Login URL The URL of your Identity Provider (IdP) to which Zoho Billing will redirect your end users when they attempt to log in to the Customer Portal.
Logout URL The URL where Zoho Billing will redirect end users when they initiate the logout process from the Customer Portal to ensure they are properly logged out of both the Customer Portal and the IdP.
Password Reset URL The URL where Zoho Billing will redirect end users who want to change their portal account’s password. This allows users to securely update their password within the IdP’s system.
Public Key Upload the Public X.509 certificate in text format. This certificate contains the public key that Zoho Billing uses to verify SAML authentication requests from your IdP, ensuring secure communication.

Now, the ACS URL and Relay State will be displayed under Portal SSO (Single Sign-On).

Your customers will be able to sign in to the Customer Portal only after you update these fields in your IdP. To update them, click Copy next to ACS URL and Relay State, then update both in your IdP.

Disable SSO for the Customer portal

Here’s how you can disable the SSO configuration:

Note: Once you disable SSO, the existing ACS URL and Relay State will be deleted and you can no longer use them. If SSO is enabled again, new ACS URL and Relay State will be generated.
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