Step by Step OpenLDAP Server Configuration on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7


OpenLDAP is an open-source implementation of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol developed by OpenLDAP project. LDAP is an Internet protocol that email and other programs use to look up contact information from a server. It is released under OpenLDAP public license; it is available for all major Linux distributions, AIX, Android, HP-UX, OS X, Solaris, Windows and z/OS.

It functions as a relational database in certain ways and can be used to store any information. LDAP is not limited to store the information; it is also used as a backend database for “single sign-on” where one password for a user is shared between many services.

In this tutorial, we will configure OpenLDAP for centralized login where the users use the single account to log in to multiple servers.

This post covers only the OpenLDAP configuration without SSL. If you would like to configure OpenLDAP with SSL, then follow the below link after you complete this post.

READ: How to configure OpenLDAP with SSL on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7


Host Name IP Address OS Purpose
server.itzgeek.local CentOS 7 LDAP Server
client.itzgeek.local CentOS 7 LDAP Client


1. Make sure both LDAP server “server.itzgeek.local” ( and LDAP client “client.itzgeek.local” ( are accessible.

2. Make an host entry on each machine in /etc/hosts for name resolution. server.itzgeek.local server client.itzgeek.local client


If you plan to use a hostname instead of IP address, then configure DNS server using the article on How to Configure DNS Server on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7.

Here I will use IP address for all the configuration.

If you are planning to Build LDAP server with Replication, then skip this tutorial and visit Configure OpenLDAP Multi-Master Replication on Linux.

Install OpenLDAP Packages

Install the following LDAP RPM packages on LDAP server (server.itzgeek.local).

yum -y install openldap compat-openldap openldap-clients openldap-servers openldap-servers-sql openldap-devel

Start the LDAP service and enable it for the auto start of service on system boot.

systemctl start slapd
systemctl enable slapd

Verify the LDAP.

netstat -antup | grep -i 389


tcp        0      0   *               LISTEN      1520/slapd          
tcp6       0      0 :::389                  :::*                    LISTEN      1520/slapd

READ: netstat command not found on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7 – Quick Fix

Setup LDAP admin password

Run below command to create an LDAP root password. We will use this LDAP admin (root) password throughout this article.

Replace ldppassword with your password.

slappasswd -h {SSHA} -s ldppassword

The above command will generate an encrypted hash of entered password which you need to use in LDAP configuration file. So make a note of this and keep it aside.



Configure OpenLDAP server

OpenLDAP servers configuration files are found in /etc/openldap/slapd.d/. To start with the configuration of LDAP, we would need to update the variables “olcSuffix” and “olcRootDN“.

olcSuffix – Database Suffix, it is the domain name for which the LDAP server provides the information. In simple words, it should be changed to your domain

olcRootDN – Root Distinguished Name (DN) entry for the user who has the unrestricted access to perform all administration activities on LDAP, like a root user.

olcRootPW – LDAP admin password for the above RootDN.

The above entries need to be updated in /etc/openldap/slapd.d/cn=config/olcDatabase={2}hdb.ldif file. Manually edit of LDAP configuration is not recommended as you will lose changes whenever you run ldapmodify command.

Please create a .ldif file.

vi db.ldif

Add the below entries.

Replace the encrypted password ({SSHA}d/thexcQUuSfe3rx3gRaEhHpNJ52N8D3) with the password you generated in the previous step.

dn: olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcSuffix
olcSuffix: dc=itzgeek,dc=local

dn: olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcRootDN
olcRootDN: cn=ldapadm,dc=itzgeek,dc=local

dn: olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcRootPW
olcRootPW: {SSHA}d/thexcQUuSfe3rx3gRaEhHpNJ52N8D3

Once you are done with the ldif file, send the configuration to the LDAP server.

ldapmodify -Y EXTERNAL  -H ldapi:/// -f db.ldif

Make a changes to /etc/openldap/slapd.d/cn=config/olcDatabase={1}monitor.ldif (Do not edit manually) file to restrict the monitor access only to ldap root (ldapadm) user not to others.

vi monitor.ldif

Use the below information.

dn: olcDatabase={1}monitor,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcAccess
olcAccess: {0}to * by dn.base="gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external, cn=auth" read by dn.base="cn=ldapadm,dc=itzgeek,dc=local" read by * none

Once you have updated the file, send the configuration to the LDAP server.

ldapmodify -Y EXTERNAL  -H ldapi:/// -f monitor.ldif

Set up LDAP database

Copy the sample database configuration file to /var/lib/ldap and update the file permissions.

cp /usr/share/openldap-servers/DB_CONFIG.example /var/lib/ldap/DB_CONFIG
chown ldap:ldap /var/lib/ldap/*

Add the cosine and nis LDAP schemas.

ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f /etc/openldap/schema/cosine.ldif
ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f /etc/openldap/schema/nis.ldif 
ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f /etc/openldap/schema/inetorgperson.ldif

Generate base.ldif file for your domain.

vi base.ldif

Use the below information. You can modify it according to your requirement.

dn: dc=itzgeek,dc=local
dc: itzgeek
objectClass: top
objectClass: domain

dn: cn=ldapadm ,dc=itzgeek,dc=local
objectClass: organizationalRole
cn: ldapadm
description: LDAP Manager

dn: ou=People,dc=itzgeek,dc=local
objectClass: organizationalUnit
ou: People

dn: ou=Group,dc=itzgeek,dc=local
objectClass: organizationalUnit
ou: Group

Build the directory structure.

ldapadd -x -W -D "cn=ldapadm,dc=itzgeek,dc=local" -f base.ldif
The ldapadd command will prompt you for the password of ldapadm (LDAP root user).


Enter LDAP Password: 
adding new entry "dc=itzgeek,dc=local"

adding new entry "cn=ldapadm ,dc=itzgeek,dc=local"

adding new entry "ou=People,dc=itzgeek,dc=local"

adding new entry "ou=Group,dc=itzgeek,dc=local"

Further Reading

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