Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 / RHEL 7 – A Identity Management System


FreeIPA is an opensource identity management system for Linux/Unix environments which provides centralized account management and authentication, like Microsoft Active Directory or LDAP.

FreeIPA is a combination of 389 Directory Server, MIT Kerberos, Apache HTTP Server, NTP, DNS, Dogtag (certificate system), and SSSD, making it as a single integrated security solution to manage the Identity, Policy, and perform Audit trail.

Identity: (machine, user, virtual machines, groups, authentication credentials)
Policy: (configuration settings, access control information)
Audit Trail: (events, logs, analysis)

FreeIPA comes with Web UI and command line tools to perform administrative tasks.

Here, we will be installing the FreeIPA on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7 server and then configure FreeIPA client on client machines (CentOS / Ubuntu / Debian) to allow users to log in with their credentials.


As a first thing, you need to set the static IP address on the system.

READ: How to set static IP address on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7

If you are installing FreeIPA with integrated DNS, then make sure DNS1= is in ethernet configuration file.

Ensure /etc/resolv.conf has the below value.


Second, set the hostname (FQDN).

hostnamectl set-hostname ipa.itzgeek.local

Third, add a host entry on the server to resolve system hostname.

echo " ipa.itzgeek.local ipa" >> /etc/hosts

Fourth, Configure A record for your server hostname in DNS server (Optional).

You can either use BIND DNS server or integrated DNS ISC Bind for resolving hostnames.

READ: How to setup DNS Server on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7

Note: Here, we will use integrated DNS ISC Bind for our FreeIPA setup.

Additionally, in RHEL 7, subscribe the system to Optional and Supplementary Channels.

subscription-manager repos --enable rhel-7-server-optional-rpms

Install FreeIPA

FreeIPA packages can be found on OS base repository. So you can use YUM command on CentOS 7/ RHEL 7 to install FreeIPA server.

Installing bind-dyndb-ldap package will let FreeIPA manage the integrated DNS.

yum install -y ipa-server ipa-server-dns bind-dyndb-ldap

Start the Bind (DNS) service and enable it for the auto start at the system boot. This for time being and you can disable the service after the installation of FreeIPA.

systemctl start named
systemctl enable named

Now, install the FreeIPA server using the following command.


Answer all questions the installer prompt during the configuration.

The log file for this installation can be found in /var/log/ipaserver-install.log
This program will set up the IPA Server.
This includes:
  * Configure a stand-alone CA (dogtag) for certificate management
  * Configure the Network Time Daemon (ntpd)
  * Create and configure an instance of Directory Server
  * Create and configure a Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC)
  * Configure Apache (httpd)
  * Configure DNS (bind)
  * Configure the KDC to enable PKINIT
To accept the default shown in brackets, press the Enter key.
WARNING: conflicting time&date synchronization service 'chronyd' will be disabled
in favor of ntpd
Do you want to configure integrated DNS (BIND)? [no]: yes << To use integrated DNS with FreeIPA
Enter the fully qualified domain name of the computer
on which you're setting up server software. Using the form

Server host name [ipa.itzgeek.local]: ipa.itzgeek.local << Enter the Hostname
Warning: skipping DNS resolution of host ipa.itzgeek.local
The domain name has been determined based on the host name.
Please confirm the domain name [itzgeek.local]: itzgeek.local << Enter the domain name

The kerberos protocol requires a Realm name to be defined.
This is typically the domain name converted to uppercase.
Please provide a realm name [ITZGEEK.LOCAL]: ITZGEEK.LOCAL << Type the REALM
Certain directory server operations require an administrative user.
This user is referred to as the Directory Manager and has full access
to the Directory for system management tasks and will be added to the
instance of directory server created for IPA.
The password must be at least 8 characters long.
Directory Manager password: xxxx << Enter Directory manager password
Password (confirm): xxxx << Re-Enter Ditectory manager password
The IPA server requires an administrative user, named 'admin'.
This user is a regular system account used for IPA server administration.
IPA admin password: xxxx << Enter IPA admin password - Used for Web UI and other administrative tasks
Password (confirm): xxxx << Re-Enter IPA admin password

Checking DNS domain itzgeek.local., please wait ...
Do you want to configure DNS forwarders? [yes]: yes <<  Type yes to configure DNS forwarder Zone
Following DNS servers are configured in /etc/resolv.conf:,
Do you want to configure these servers as DNS forwarders? [yes]: yes << Type yes to use the existing name server from resolv.conf file
All DNS servers from /etc/resolv.conf were added. You can enter additional addresses now:
Enter an IP address for a DNS forwarder, or press Enter to skip: << Add aditional name servers
DNS forwarder added. You may add another.
Enter an IP address for a DNS forwarder, or press Enter to skip: Press Enter << Press Enter to complete adding name servers
Checking DNS forwarders, please wait ...
Do you want to search for missing reverse zones? [yes]: yes << Type yes to search for reverse zone
Do you want to create reverse zone for IP [yes]: yes << Type yes to create PTR for IPA server
Please specify the reverse zone name []:  Press enter << to use the reverse zone name
Using reverse zone(s)
The IPA Master Server will be configured with:
Hostname:       ipa.itzgeek.local
IP address(es):
Domain name:    itzgeek.local
Realm name:     ITZGEEK.LOCAL
BIND DNS server will be configured to serve IPA domain with:
Forward policy:   only
Reverse zone(s):
Continue to configure the system with these values? [no]: yes << Type yes to confirm the inputs
The following operations may take some minutes to complete.
Please wait until the prompt is returned.
Configuring NTP daemon (ntpd)
  [1/4]: stopping ntpd
  [2/4]: writing configuration
  [3/4]: configuring ntpd to start on boot
  [4/4]: starting ntpd
Done configuring NTP daemon (ntpd).
Configuring directory server (dirsrv). Estimated time: 30 seconds
  [1/45]: creating directory server instance
  [2/45]: enabling ldapi
  [3/45]: configure autobind for root
  [4/45]: stopping directory server
  [5/45]: updating configuration in dse.ldif
  [6/45]: starting directory server
  [7/45]: adding default schema
  [8/45]: enabling memberof plugin
  [9/45]: enabling winsync plugin
  [10/45]: configuring replication version plugin
  [11/45]: enabling IPA enrollment plugin
  [12/45]: configuring uniqueness plugin
  [13/45]: configuring uuid plugin
  [14/45]: configuring modrdn plugin
  [15/45]: configuring DNS plugin
  [16/45]: enabling entryUSN plugin
  [17/45]: configuring lockout plugin
  [18/45]: configuring topology plugin
  [19/45]: creating indices
  [20/45]: enabling referential integrity plugin
  [21/45]: configuring certmap.conf
  [22/45]: configure new location for managed entries
  [23/45]: configure dirsrv ccache
  [24/45]: enabling SASL mapping fallback
  [25/45]: restarting directory server
  [26/45]: adding sasl mappings to the directory
  [27/45]: adding default layout
  [28/45]: adding delegation layout
  [29/45]: creating container for managed entries
  [30/45]: configuring user private groups
  [31/45]: configuring netgroups from hostgroups
  [32/45]: creating default Sudo bind user
  [33/45]: creating default Auto Member layout
  [34/45]: adding range check plugin
  [35/45]: creating default HBAC rule allow_all
  [36/45]: adding entries for topology management
  [37/45]: initializing group membership
  [38/45]: adding master entry
  [39/45]: initializing domain level
  [40/45]: configuring Posix uid/gid generation
  [41/45]: adding replication acis
  [42/45]: activating sidgen plugin
  [43/45]: activating extdom plugin
  [44/45]: tuning directory server
  [45/45]: configuring directory to start on boot
Done configuring directory server (dirsrv).
Configuring Kerberos KDC (krb5kdc)
  [1/10]: adding kerberos container to the directory
  [2/10]: configuring KDC
  [3/10]: initialize kerberos container
  [4/10]: adding default ACIs
  [5/10]: creating a keytab for the directory
  [6/10]: creating a keytab for the machine
  [7/10]: adding the password extension to the directory
  [8/10]: creating anonymous principal
  [9/10]: starting the KDC
  [10/10]: configuring KDC to start on boot
Done configuring Kerberos KDC (krb5kdc).
Configuring kadmin
  [1/2]: starting kadmin
  [2/2]: configuring kadmin to start on boot
Done configuring kadmin.
Configuring certificate server (pki-tomcatd). Estimated time: 3 minutes
  [1/29]: configuring certificate server instance
  [2/29]: exporting Dogtag certificate store pin
  [3/29]: stopping certificate server instance to update CS.cfg
  [4/29]: backing up CS.cfg
  [5/29]: disabling nonces
  [6/29]: set up CRL publishing
  [7/29]: enable PKIX certificate path discovery and validation
  [8/29]: starting certificate server instance
  [9/29]: configure certmonger for renewals
  [10/29]: requesting RA certificate from CA
  [11/29]: setting up signing cert profile
  [12/29]: setting audit signing renewal to 2 years
  [13/29]: restarting certificate server
  [14/29]: publishing the CA certificate
  [15/29]: adding RA agent as a trusted user
  [16/29]: authorizing RA to modify profiles
  [17/29]: authorizing RA to manage lightweight CAs
  [18/29]: Ensure lightweight CAs container exists
  [19/29]: configure certificate renewals
  [20/29]: configure Server-Cert certificate renewal
  [21/29]: Configure HTTP to proxy connections
  [22/29]: restarting certificate server
  [23/29]: updating IPA configuration
  [24/29]: enabling CA instance
  [25/29]: migrating certificate profiles to LDAP
  [26/29]: importing IPA certificate profiles
  [27/29]: adding default CA ACL
  [28/29]: adding 'ipa' CA entry
  [29/29]: configuring certmonger renewal for lightweight CAs
Done configuring certificate server (pki-tomcatd).
Configuring directory server (dirsrv)
  [1/3]: configuring TLS for DS instance
  [2/3]: adding CA certificate entry
  [3/3]: restarting directory server
Done configuring directory server (dirsrv).
Configuring ipa-otpd
  [1/2]: starting ipa-otpd
  [2/2]: configuring ipa-otpd to start on boot
Done configuring ipa-otpd.
Configuring ipa-custodia
  [1/5]: Generating ipa-custodia config file
  [2/5]: Making sure custodia container exists
  [3/5]: Generating ipa-custodia keys
  [4/5]: starting ipa-custodia
  [5/5]: configuring ipa-custodia to start on boot
Done configuring ipa-custodia.
Configuring the web interface (httpd)
  [1/22]: stopping httpd
  [2/22]: setting mod_nss port to 443
  [3/22]: setting mod_nss cipher suite
  [4/22]: setting mod_nss protocol list to TLSv1.0 - TLSv1.2
  [5/22]: setting mod_nss password file
  [6/22]: enabling mod_nss renegotiate
  [7/22]: disabling mod_nss OCSP
  [8/22]: adding URL rewriting rules
  [9/22]: configuring httpd
  [10/22]: setting up httpd keytab
  [11/22]: configuring Gssproxy
  [12/22]: setting up ssl
  [13/22]: configure certmonger for renewals
  [14/22]: importing CA certificates from LDAP
  [15/22]: publish CA cert
  [16/22]: clean up any existing httpd ccaches
  [17/22]: configuring SELinux for httpd
  [18/22]: create KDC proxy config
  [19/22]: enable KDC proxy
  [20/22]: starting httpd
  [21/22]: configuring httpd to start on boot
  [22/22]: enabling oddjobd
Done configuring the web interface (httpd).
Configuring Kerberos KDC (krb5kdc)
  [1/1]: installing X509 Certificate for PKINIT
Done configuring Kerberos KDC (krb5kdc).
Applying LDAP updates
Upgrading IPA:. Estimated time: 1 minute 30 seconds
  [1/9]: stopping directory server
  [2/9]: saving configuration
  [3/9]: disabling listeners
  [4/9]: enabling DS global lock
  [5/9]: starting directory server
  [6/9]: upgrading server
  [7/9]: stopping directory server
  [8/9]: restoring configuration
  [9/9]: starting directory server
Restarting the KDC
Configuring DNS (named)
  [1/12]: generating rndc key file
  [2/12]: adding DNS container
  [3/12]: setting up our zone
  [4/12]: setting up reverse zone
  [5/12]: setting up our own record
  [6/12]: setting up records for other masters
  [7/12]: adding NS record to the zones
  [8/12]: setting up kerberos principal
  [9/12]: setting up named.conf
  [10/12]: setting up server configuration
  [11/12]: configuring named to start on boot
  [12/12]: changing resolv.conf to point to ourselves
Done configuring DNS (named).
Restarting the web server to pick up resolv.conf changes
Configuring DNS key synchronization service (ipa-dnskeysyncd)
  [1/7]: checking status
  [2/7]: setting up bind-dyndb-ldap working directory
  [3/7]: setting up kerberos principal
  [4/7]: setting up SoftHSM
  [5/7]: adding DNSSEC containers
  [6/7]: creating replica keys
  [7/7]: configuring ipa-dnskeysyncd to start on boot
Done configuring DNS key synchronization service (ipa-dnskeysyncd).
Restarting ipa-dnskeysyncd
Restarting named
Updating DNS system records
Configuring client side components
Using existing certificate '/etc/ipa/ca.crt'.
Client hostname: ipa.itzgeek.local
DNS Domain: itzgeek.local
IPA Server: ipa.itzgeek.local
BaseDN: dc=itzgeek,dc=local
Skipping synchronizing time with NTP server.
New SSSD config will be created
Configured sudoers in /etc/nsswitch.conf
Configured /etc/sssd/sssd.conf
trying https://ipa.itzgeek.local/ipa/json
[try 1]: Forwarding 'schema' to json server 'https://ipa.itzgeek.local/ipa/json'
trying https://ipa.itzgeek.local/ipa/session/json
[try 1]: Forwarding 'ping' to json server 'https://ipa.itzgeek.local/ipa/session/json'
[try 1]: Forwarding 'ca_is_enabled' to json server 'https://ipa.itzgeek.local/ipa/session/json'
Systemwide CA database updated.
Adding SSH public key from /etc/ssh/
Adding SSH public key from /etc/ssh/
Adding SSH public key from /etc/ssh/
[try 1]: Forwarding 'host_mod' to json server 'https://ipa.itzgeek.local/ipa/session/json'
SSSD enabled
Configured /etc/openldap/ldap.conf
Configured /etc/ssh/ssh_config
Configured /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Configuring itzgeek.local as NIS domain.
Client configuration complete.
The ipa-client-install command was successful
Setup complete
Next steps:
        1. You must make sure these network ports are open:
                TCP Ports:
                  * 80, 443: HTTP/HTTPS
                  * 389, 636: LDAP/LDAPS
                  * 88, 464: kerberos
                  * 53: bind
                UDP Ports:
                  * 88, 464: kerberos
                  * 53: bind
                  * 123: ntp
        2. You can now obtain a kerberos ticket using the command: 'kinit admin'
           This ticket will allow you to use the IPA tools (e.g., ipa user-add)
           and the web user interface.
Be sure to back up the CA certificates stored in /root/cacert.p12
These files are required to create replicas. The password for these
files is the Directory Manager password


As a post setup, configure the firewall to allow the required ports.

for SER in ntp http https ldap ldaps kerberos kpasswd; do firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=$SER; done
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=53/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=53/tcp
firewall-cmd --reload

Verify FreeIPA Server

After the FreeIPA installation, authenticate to the Kerberos realm to ensure that the administrator is configured correctly.

kinit admin

If FreeIPA is working properly, the above command will prompt you for the IPA admin password. Enter the IPA admin password you set during the installation process and then press Enter.

After entering the password, you should get shell prompt.

Next, verify the FreeIPA server functionality by searching IPA user.

ipa user-find admin


1 user matched
  User login: admin
  Last name: Administrator
  Home directory: /home/admin
  Login shell: /bin/bash
  Principal alias: [email protected]
  UID: 382200000
  GID: 382200000
  Account disabled: False
Number of entries returned 1

Access FreeIPA web interface

Open up your favorite browser and visit the following URL.



You may get an SSL exception when you access the FreeIPA web interface due to the self-signed certificate. So, add a permanent exception in the browser to access the FreeIPA web interface.

Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 - SSL Exceptions
Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 – SSL Exceptions

Login with,

Username: admin
Password: password of IPA admin you set earlier.

Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 - FreeIPA Web UI Login Screen
Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 – FreeIPA Web UI Login Screen

Post the successful login; you will get the IPA’s main page, which looks like this:

Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 - FreeIPA Home Page
Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 – FreeIPA Home Page

Configure FreeIPA

Set the default shell for all new users to /bin/bash by going to IPA Server >> Configuration. You can also set the default user group and the home directory base for new users.

Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 - Default settings for new users - Set Login Shell
Configure FreeIPA server On CentOS 7 – Default settings for new users

Click save to update the modification.

That’s All. In our next article, we will configure FreeIPA clients for centralized authentication.

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