SharePoint And ADFS: SecurityTokenException – The issuer of the token is not a trusted issuer

This is a pretty common ADFS error, and there are all sorts of reasons that it could happen.

The stack trace will be this:


Microsoft.SharePoint.IdentityModel.SPTrustedIssuerNameRegistry.GetIssuerName(SecurityToken securityToken)

   at Microsoft.SharePoint.IdentityModel.SPPassiveIssuerNameRegistry.GetIssuerName(SecurityToken securityToken)

   at Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens.Saml11.Saml11SecurityTokenHandler.CreateClaims(SamlSecurityToken samlSecurityToken)

   at Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens.Saml11.Saml11SecurityTokenHandler.ValidateToken(SecurityToken token)

   at Microsoft.IdentityModel.Web.TokenReceiver.AuthenticateToken(SecurityToken token, Boolean ensureBearerToken, String endpointUri)

   at Microsoft.IdentityModel.Web.WSFederationAuthenticationModule.SignInWithResponseMessage(HttpRequest request)

   at Microsoft.IdentityModel.Web.WSFederationAuthenticationModule.OnAuthenticateRequest(Object sender, EventArgs args)

   at System.Web.HttpApplication.SyncEventExecutionStep.System.Web.HttpApplication.IExecutionStep.Execute()

   at System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStep(IExecutionStep step, Boolean& completedSynchronously)


At the end of the day though, don’t sit around and fiddle with the SharePoint trusted authorities and yada yada yada, it boils down to a certificate problem. Basically the one that was specified as the signing certificate, when exported during the ADFS setup, is either malformed (the certificate chain is incomplete) or plainwrong wrong when the trusted issuer was being built up in SharePoint ala powershell. So to get around the error follow two pretty basic steps.

  1. Verify the appropriate certificate chain is present on the SharePoint server in both the trusted root authorities as well as in the SharePoint folder within the Certificate MMC snap-in. Never ever, ever delete the self issued ones that SharePoint provisioned within that folder. You will cause a Micheal Bay-spolosion. To verify the chain, just popup open the certificate details within some interface (like, the MMC :) ) doesn’t really matter what and verify that the chain is trusted and existent.
  2. Next, verify that you actually used the right certificate when specifying the certificate path when building the System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates.X509Certificate2 object to pass into your SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer. This is pretty easy to mess up when troubleshooting if you are swapping certs all over the place.

Both of these are in place, then that error will go away. Not that another won’t popup :)


Returning The SharePoint Start Workflow Link

Building the “Start Workflow” link is pretty straight forward. I am pretty sure there are better ways to do it, but here is an approach when you have to build the link using a string return. How it works is pretty straightforward. Consuming a SPListItem and SPWorkflowAssociation parameter, the SPListItem exposes the ParentList and ID properties and the SPWorkflowAssociation provides the InstantiationUrl and Id properties. The only field level stuff is I was passing a finish url in the query string (_finalurl in the below). When the link is built, it is cleaned up using the inherent SPHttpUtility.UrlKeyValueEncode method.

private string _finalurl;

public static string QueryStringAppend(string url, string args)
if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(url))
return url;
var num = url.LastIndexOf(“?”);
switch (num)
case -1:
return (string.Format(“{0}?{1}”, url, args));
return num == (url.Length – 1) ? url + args : string.Format(“{0}&{1}”, url, args);

protected string BuildWorkflowStartLink(SPListItem listItem, SPWorkflowAssociation workflowAssociation)
var builder = new StringBuilder();
builder.Append(SPHttpUtility.UrlPathEncode(string.Format(“{0}/{1}”, Web.Url, workflowAssociation.InstantiationUrl), true));
string url = _finalurl ?? Request.QueryString[“Source”];
url = QueryStringAppend(url, string.Format(“{0}={1}”, FinishIdName ?? “ID”, listItem.ID));
if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(url))
return builder.ToString();