Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information. Identity Provider (IdP) is the public's one account for government. Use one account and password for secure, private access to participating government agencies.

This repository contains the core code base and documentation for the identity management system powering

Contributing to this code base

Thank you for your interest in contributing to the IdP! For complete instructions on how to contribute code, please read through our documentation.

Creating your local development environment

Installing on your local machine

This installation method is meant for those who are familiar with setting up local development environments on their machines. If you encounter errors, see the Troubleshooting section at the bottom of this README.

We recommend using Homebrew, rbenv, nvm or other version management tooling to install the below dependencies; while we don't anticipate changing these frequently, this will ensure that you will be able to easily switch to different versions as needed.


  1. To start, make sure you have the following dependencies installed and a working development environment:
  1. You will need to install openssl version 1.1:
  • Run brew install openssl@1.1
  1. Test that you have Postgres and Redis running.

For example, if you've installed with Homebrew, you can start the services like this:

$ brew services start redis
$ brew services start postgresql

To confirm the services are running properly, run:

$ brew services list
  1. Run the following command to set up your local environment:
$ make setup

This command copies sample configuration files, installs required gems and sets up the database. Check out our Makefile commands to learn more about what this command does:

Note: If you didn't explicitly install openssl@1.1 in Step 2 above and you use a M1 Mac, you may see an error on this step. Homebrew works differently on a M1 Mac, so specifying the version is necessary for the make script to work, but may still work on x86.

  1. Now that you have you have everything installed, you can run the following command to start your local server:
$ make run

You should now be able to go to open up your favorite browser, go to localhost:3000 and see your local development environment running.

Running tests locally uses the following tools for our testing:

To run our full test suite locally, use the following command:

$ make test

Use the following command to run a subset of our test suite, excluding slower tests:

$ make fast_test

Check out our Makefile commands learn more about how you can customize this command to run specific tests using rspec:

To test a specific spec file with rspec, you may need to add the following configuration to /config/application.yml so the tests do not crash:

  rack_timeout_service_timeout_seconds: 9_999_999_999
Showing the Browser

By default, the acceptance specs use a headless browser for speed. If you want to see the browser, run the specs with SHOW_BROWSER=true environment variable:

$ SHOW_BROWSER=true bundle exec rspec spec/features/

Speeding up local development and testing

To automatically run the test that corresponds to the file you are editing, run bundle exec guard with the env var GUARD_RSPEC_CMD set to your preferred command for running rspec. For example, if you use Zeus, you would set the env var to zeus rspec:

GUARD_RSPEC_CMD="zeus rspec" bundle exec guard

If you don't specify the GUARD_RSPEC_CMD env var, it will default to bundle exec rspec.

We also recommend setting up a shell alias for running this command, such as:

alias idpguard='GUARD_RSPEC_CMD="zeus rspec" bundle exec guard'

Viewing email messages

In local development, the application does not deliver real email messages. Instead, we use a tool called Mailcatcher to capture all messages.

Translations translates the IdP into English, French and Spanish. To help us handle extra newlines and make sure we wrap lines consistently, we have a script that helps format YAML consistently. After importing translations (or making changes to the *.yml files with strings, run this for the IdP app:

$ make normalize_yaml

If you would like to preview the translations on a particular page, use the Language dropdown in the footer of the website. To manually override a locale, add the locale as the first segment of the URL:

Viewing outbound SMS messages and phone calls

To see outbound SMS messages and phone calls, visit http://localhost:3000/test/telephony.

Setting up Geolocation uses MaxMind Geolite2 for geolocation. To test geolocation locally, you will need to add a copy of the Geolite2-City database to the IdP.

The Geolite2-City database can be downloaded from MaxMind's site at

Download the GeoIP2 Binary and save it at geo_data/GeoLite2-City.mmdb. The app will start using that Geolite2 file for geolocation after restart.

Testing on a mobile device or in a virtual machine

By default, the application binds to localhost. To test on a network device or within a virtual machine, you can bind to instead, using the following instructions:

  1. Determine your computer's network IP address. On macOS, you can find this in the "Network" system settings, shown under the "Status: Connected" label. This often takes the format of 192.168.1.x or 10.0.0.x.
  2. In config/application.yml, add domain_name and mailer_domain_name keys under development, like so:
      domain_name: <your-local-ip>:3000
      mailer_domain_name: <your-local-ip>:3000
    replacing <your-local-ip> with the address you found in Step 1
  3. Start the server using the command HOST= make run
  4. Assuming that your phone or virtual machine computer is connected on the same network, visit the application using the domain name configured in the second step (for example,

Testing the application over HTTPS

$ make run-https

Or, to run on a different host:

$ HOST= make run-https

The run-https Makefile target will automatically provision a self-signed certificate and start the built-in Rails server.

You can now navigate to https://localhost:3000/ .

It's likely that you'll be prompted with a screen with warnings about an unsafe connection. This is normal. Find the option on the screen to bypass the warning. It may be hidden under an "Advanced" toggle button. In Chrome, you may not see an option to bypass this screen. In these situations, type the letters thisisunsafe while the screen is active, and you will be redirected automatically.

Installing with Docker

There was an initial attempt to dockerize the IDP but it is currently deprecated, mostly non-functional, and not maintained. There is ongoing work to make the IDP more 12 Factor compliant which will eventually lead to better support for containerization.

If you'd like to work with the previous implementation see the Docker documentation to install the IdP as a container.


I am receiving errors when running $ make setup

If this command returns errors, you may need to install the dependencies first, outside of the Makefile:

$ bundle install
$ yarn install

I am receiving errors related to Capybara in feature tests

You may need to install chromedriver or your chromedriver may be the wrong version ($ which chromedriver && chromedriver --version).

chromedriver can be installed using Homebrew or direct download. The version of chromedriver should correspond to the version of Chrome you have installed (Chrome > About Google Chrome); if installing via Homebrew, make sure the versions match up.

I am receiving errors when creating the development and test databases

If you receive the following error (where whoami == your username):

psql: error: connection to server on socket "/tmp/.s.PGSQL.5432" failed: FATAL: database "<whoami>" does not exist

Running the following command first, may solve the issue:

$ createdb `whoami`

I am receiving errors when running $ make test

Errors related to running specs in parallel

$ make test runs specs in parallel which could potentially return errors. Running specs serially may fix the problem; to run specs serially:

$ make test_serial
Errors related to too many open files

You may receive connection errors similar to the following:

Failed to open TCP connection to (Too many open files - socket(2) for "" port 9515)

Running the following, prior to running tests, may solve the problem:

$ ulimit -Sn 65536 && make test

To set this permanently, add the following to your ~/.zshrc or ~/.bash_profile file, depending on your shell:

ulimit -Sn 65536