Tag Archives: LDAP authentication

ArchLinux OpenLDAP setup for webapp authentication

Setting up a simple OpenLDAP directory to allow authentication from a web (or other) application.

Based on https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/OpenLDAP

Configure LDAP service

Install openldap packages

Create a salted hashed password for the directory manager:

$ slappasswd -h {SSHA}

Enter and confirm a password and receive output such as


Configure /etc/openldap/slapd.conf to use the following:

database mdb
suffix "dc=my-domain,dc=com"
rootdn "cn=Manager,dc=my-domain,dc=com"
rootpw {SSHA}c920AmsQ9Evay0YaCU/r0GAdnMroyL4O

As the superuser, setup the directory database and start the service,

# cp /var/lib/openldap/openldap-data/DB_CONFIG.example /var/lib/openldap/openldap-data/DB_CONFIG
# slaptest -f /etc/openldap/slapd.conf -F /etc/openldap/slapd.d
# slapindex
# chown -R ldap:ldap /etc/openldap/slapd.d /var/lib/openldap/openldap-data
# systemctl start slapd

Test connection,

$ ldapsearch -D "cn=Manager,dc=my-domain,dc=com" -W -x '(objectclass=*)'
Enter LDAP Password:

Create base directory, users and groups

Create an LDIF file, say, base.ldif, for the directory manager and base groups (whether or not the groups are used by the application is another matter):

dn: dc=my-domain,dc=com
objectClass: dcObject
objectClass: organization
dc: my-domain
o: My-domain
description: My-domain directory

dn: cn=Manager,dc=my-domain,dc=com
objectClass: organizationalRole
cn: Manager
description: Directory Manager

# People, my-domain.com
dn: ou=People,dc=my-domain,dc=com
ou: People
objectClass: top
objectClass: organizationalUnit

# Groups, my-domain.com
dn: ou=Groups,dc=my-domain,dc=com
ou: Groups
objectClass: top
objectClass: organizationalUnit

# xword-admins group
dn: cn=xword-admins,ou=Groups,dc=my-domain,dc=com
objectClass: top
objectClass: posixGroup
gidNumber: 10000

# xword-users group
dn: cn=xword-users,ou=Groups,dc=my-domain,dc=com
objectClass: top
objectClass: posixGroup
gidNumber: 10001
$ ldapadd -D "cn=Manager,dc=my-domain,dc=com" -W -x -c -f /path/to/base.ldif

(-c allows for repeated runs of the same LDIF as typos and errors are wrinkled out)
Enter the password when prompted and check that the OUs and groups are created with:

$ ldapsearch -D "cn=Manager,dc=my-domain,dc=com" -W -x '(objectclass=*)'

Add groups and users

Generate a hashed password for each user, to be used in the subsequent LDIF file,

$ slappasswd -h {SSHA}

Create another ldap, say, users.ldif. contining something like,

dn: uid=xword,ou=People,dc=my-domain,dc=com
objectClass: top
objectClass: person
objectClass: organizationalPerson
objectClass: inetOrgPerson
objectClass: posixAccount
objectClass: shadowAccount
uid: xword
cn: Crossword Hints
sn: Hints
givenName: Crossword
userPassword: {SSHA}V7i9IYaW4Z4Z2mVjbtOk0PcinzgJof9y
labeledURI: http://xword-hints.my-domain.com/
loginShell: /bin/bash
uidNumber: 9999
gidNumber: 9999
homeDirectory: /home/xword
description: Crossword hints website user

# Add xword to the LDAP xword-admins group
# group
dn: cn=xword-admins,ou=Groups,dc=my-domain,dc=com
changetype: modify
add: memberuid
memberuid: xword

# Add xword to the LDAP xword-admins group
dn: cn=xword-users,ou=Groups,dc=my-domain,dc=com
changetype: modify
add: memberuid
memberuid: xword

Then add the users to the directory

$ ldapadd -D "cn=Manager,dc=my-domain,dc=com" -W -x -c -f /path/to/users.ldif

Check the users can authenticate through the directory,

$ ldapsearch -D "uid=xword,ou=People,dc=my-domain,dc=com" -W -x '(objectclass=*)'

This will probably show the entire directory contents; this can be tightened up as needed.

The directory is now ready for user authentication.


Reset the password described at https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-change-account-passwords-on-an-openldap-server although the Arch LDAP server does not have the EXTERNAL mechanism enabled by default; it’s probably easier to rebuild the directory.