More Information
  • Installing binary OpenLDAP packages and building from source
  • Configuring and verifying the LDAP server
  • Building an initial directory tree in an LDIF file
  • Loading, modifying, and searching directory records
  • Setting passwords and authenticating against the directory
  • Configuring Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • Configuring multiple database back ends
  • Securing network-based directory connections with SSL and TLS
  • Advanced configurations and performance tuning settings
  • Creating and implementing LDAP schemas
  • Creating custom schemas and sophisticated ACLs
  • Using OpenLDAP as a proxy for other LDAP servers
  • Adding caching with the Proxy Cache overlay
  • Using the transparency overlay to create a hybrid cache
  • Installing and configuring a web-base LDAP administration suite
  • Keeping multiple directory servers synchronized with SyncRepl
  • Using OpenLDAP for Apache authentication

Chapter 1
constitutes the first section. In it we look at general concepts of directory servers and LDAP, cover the history of LDAP and the lineage of the OpenLDAP server, and finish up with a technical overview of OpenLDAP.

The second section (comprising Chapters 2-7) focuses on building directory services with OpenLDAP. In this section, we take a close look at the OpenLDAP server. We begin in Chapter 2 with the process of installing OpenLDAP on a GNU/Linux server. Once we have the server installed, we do the basic post-installation configuration necessary to have the server running.

In Chapter 3, we cover basic use of the OpenLDAP server. We use the OpenLDAP command-line tools to add records to our new directory, search the directory, and modify records. This chapter introduces many of the key concepts involved in working with LDAP data.

Chapter 4 covers security, including handling authentication to the directory, configuring Access Control Lists (ACLs), and securing network-based directory connections with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS).

In Chapter 5, we look at advanced configuration of the OpenLDAP server. Here, we take a close look at the various back-end database options and also look at performance tuning settings, as well as the recently introduced technology of directory overlays.

The focus of Chapter 6 is extending the directory structure by creating and implementing LDAP schemas. Schemas provide a procedure for defining new attributes and structures to extend the directory and provide records tailor-made to your needs.

Chapter 7 focuses on directory replication and different ways of getting directory servers to interoperate over a network. OpenLDAP can replicate its directory contents from a master server to any number of subordinate servers. In this chapter, we set up a replication process between two servers.

In the third section of the book, we look at how OpenLDAP is integrated with other applications and services on the network. In Chapter 8, we look at configuring other tools to interoperate with OpenLDAP. We begin with the Apache Web server, using LDAP as a source of authentication and authorization. Next, we install phpLDAPadmin, a web-based program for managing directory servers. Then we look at the main features, and do some custom tuning.

The appendices include a step-by-step guide to building OpenLDAP from source (Appendix A), a guide to using LDAP URLs (Appendix B), and a compendium of useful LDAP client commands (Appendix C).


This book is the ideal introduction to using OpenLDAP for Application Developers and will also benefit System Administrators running OpenLDAP. It prepares the reader to build a directory using OpenLDAP, and then employ this directory in the context of the network, taking a practical approach that emphasizes how to get things done. On occasion, it delves into theoretical aspects of LDAP, but only where understanding the theory helps to answer practical questions. The reader requires no knowledge of OpenLDAP, but even readers already familiar with the technology will find new things and techniques.

This book is organized into three major sections: the first section covers the basics of LDAP directory services and the OpenLDAP server; the second focuses on building directory services with OpenLDAP; in the third section of the book, we look at how OpenLDAP is integrated with other applications and services on the network. This book not only demystifies OpenLDAP, but gives System Administrators and Application Developers a solid understanding of how to make use of OpenLDAP's directory services.

The OpenLDAP directory server is a mature product that has been around (in one form or another) since 1995. It is an open-source server that provides network clients with directory services. All major Linux distributions include the OpenLDAP server, and many major applications, both open-source and proprietary, are directory aware and can make use of the services provided by OpenLDAP.

The OpenLDAP directory server can be used to store organizational information in a centralized location, and make this information available to authorized applications. Client applications connect to OpenLDAP using the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and can then search the directory and (if they have appropriate access) modify and manipulate records.

LDAP servers are most frequently used to provide network-based authentication services for users; but there are many other uses for an LDAP server, including using the directory as an address book, a DNS database, an organizational tool, or even as a network object store for applications.

  • Up-to-date with the latest OpenLDAP release
  • Installing and configuring the OpenLDAP server
  • Synchronizing multiple OpenLDAP servers over the network
  • Creating custom LDAP schemas to model your own information
  • Integrating OpenLDAP with web applications


Page Count 484
Course Length 14 hours 31 minutes
ISBN 9781847191021
Date Of Publication 30 Aug 2007


Matt Butcher

Matt is a web developer and author. He has previously written five other books for Packt, including two others on Drupal. He is a senior developer for the New York Times Company, where he works on, one of the most traffic-heavy Drupal sites in the world. He is the maintainer of multiple Drupal modules and also heads QueryPath – a jQuery-like PHP library. He blogs occasionally at