Install and Setup OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8


In this guide, we provide a step by step tutorial on how to install and setup OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8. If you are here, then you already know what an OpenLDAP server is and thus the description of what it is is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Install and Setup OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8

Well, Rocky Linux 8 repositories do not have the latest release versions of OpenLDAP.

The available version of OpenLDAP provided by Rocky Linux 8 base repos is OpenLDAP server v2.4.46.

dnf provides openldap
openldap-2.4.46-16.el8.i686 : LDAP support libraries
Repo        : baseos
Matched from:
Provide    : openldap = 2.4.46-16.el8

openldap-2.4.46-16.el8.x86_64 : LDAP support libraries
Repo        : @System
Matched from:
Provide    : openldap = 2.4.46-16.el8

openldap-2.4.46-16.el8.x86_64 : LDAP support libraries
Repo        : baseos
Matched from:
Provide    : openldap = 2.4.46-16.el8

To get the latest version with bug fixes, you need to build it from the source as described in this guide.

Run System Update

To update your system packages, run the command;

dnf update

Install Required Dependencies and Build Tools

There are quite a number of dependencies and build tools required for a successful build and compilation OpenLDAP from the source. Run the command below to install them.

dnf install cyrus-sasl-devel make libtool autoconf libtool-ltdl-devel openssl-devel libdb-devel tar gcc perl perl-devel wget vim

Install wiredtiger, provided by EPEL-7 repos;

cat > /etc/yum.repos.d/epel-release-7.repo << 'EOF'
name=Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 7 - x86_64
dnf --enablerepo=epel-release-7 install wiredtiger wiredtiger-devel

Create OpenLDAP System Account

In this demo, OpenLDAP will run with a non-privileged system user. Hence, run the command below to create OpenLDAP system user with custom user and group id;

useradd -r -M -d /var/lib/openldap -u 55 -s /usr/sbin/nologin ldap

Consult man useradd for the description of the command line options used above.

Download OpenLDAP Source Tarball

The latest stable release of OpenLDAP as of this writing is OpenLDAP 2.5.5.However, this version failed to compile with Password Policy, for some reasons!!

Thus, in this tutorial, we will use OpenLDAP 2.4.59. Hence navigate to the OpenLDAP download’s page and grab the tarball.


Extract the OpenLDAP Source Tarball

The tarball can be extracted by running the command;

tar xzf openldap-$VER.tgz

Install and Setup OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8

Compiling OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8

To compile OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8, you first need to run the configure script to adapt OpenLDAP to your system and check if any required dependency is missing before you can proceed with installation.

cd openldap-$VER

With configure script, you can enable or disable various options while building OpenLDAP.

./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc --disable-static \
--enable-debug --with-tls=openssl --with-cyrus-sasl --enable-dynamic \
--enable-crypt --enable-spasswd --enable-slapd --enable-modules \
--enable-rlookups --enable-backends=mod --disable-ndb --disable-sql \
--enable-ppolicy --enable-syslog --enable-overlays=mod

To learn more about the configuration options, consult;

./configure --help

If the configure script completes with no issues, the last line you should see is;

Please run "make depend" to build dependencies

As the line states, you need to run the make depend command to build OpenLDAP dependencies.

make depend

Next, compile OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8.


If you got time and patience, you can run the test suite to verify OpenLDAP build for any errors. You can however skip this step.

make test

Install OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8

If the compilation of OpenLDAP completes successfully, proceed to install it by running the command;

make install

OpenLDAP configuration files are now installed on /etc/openldap.

ls -1 /etc/openldap/

The libraries are installed under /usr/libexec/openldap.

Configuring OpenLDAP on Rocky Linux 8

Now that the installation of OpenLDAP is complete, proceed to configure it.

Create OpenLDAP data and database directories

mkdir /var/lib/openldap /etc/openldap/slapd.d

Set the proper ownership and permissions on OpenLDAP directories and configuration files.

chown -R ldap:ldap /var/lib/openldap
chown root:ldap /etc/openldap/slapd.conf
chmod 640 /etc/openldap/slapd.conf

Create OpenLDAP Systemd Service

In order to run OpenLDAP as a service, you need to create a systemd service file as shown below.

cat > /etc/systemd/system/slapd.service << 'EOL'
Description=OpenLDAP Server Daemon

Environment="SLAPD_URLS=ldap:/// ldapi:/// ldaps:///"
Environment="SLAPD_OPTIONS=-F /etc/openldap/slapd.d"
ExecStart=/usr/libexec/slapd -u ldap -g ldap -h ${SLAPD_URLS} $SLAPD_OPTIONS


Save and quit the service file. Do not run the service yet.

Create OpenLDAP SUDO Schema

To configure LDAP with support sudo, first, check if your version of installed sudo supports LDAP.

sudo -V |  grep -i "ldap"

If sudo supports LDAP, you should see the lines below;

ldap.conf path: /etc/sudo-ldap.conf
ldap.secret path: /etc/ldap.secret

Check if LDAP sudo schema is available.

rpm -ql sudo |  grep -i schema.openldap

Copy the schema.OpenLDAP to the schema directory.

cp /usr/share/doc/sudo/schema.OpenLDAP  /etc/openldap/schema/sudo.schema

Next, you need to create sudo schema ldif file. Run the command below to create the sudo.ldif file. This ldif file is obtained from Lullabot github repository.

cat << 'EOL' > /etc/openldap/schema/sudo.ldif
dn: cn=sudo,cn=schema,cn=config
objectClass: olcSchemaConfig
cn: sudo
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoUser' DESC 'User(s) who may  run sudo' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SUBSTR caseExactIA5SubstringsMatch SYNTAX )
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoHost' DESC 'Host(s) who may run sudo' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SUBSTR caseExactIA5SubstringsMatch SYNTAX )
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoCommand' DESC 'Command(s) to be executed by sudo' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SYNTAX )
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoRunAs' DESC 'User(s) impersonated by sudo (deprecated)' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SYNTAX )
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoOption' DESC 'Options(s) followed by sudo' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SYNTAX )
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoRunAsUser' DESC 'User(s) impersonated by sudo' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SYNTAX )
olcAttributeTypes: ( NAME 'sudoRunAsGroup' DESC 'Group(s) impersonated by sudo' EQUALITY caseExactIA5Match SYNTAX )
olcObjectClasses: ( NAME 'sudoRole' SUP top STRUCTURAL DESC 'Sudoer Entries' MUST ( cn ) MAY ( sudoUser $ sudoHost $ sudoCommand $ sudoRunAs $ sudoRunAsUser $ sudoRunAsGroup $ sudoOption $ description ) )

Update OpenLDAP SLAPD Database

Edit the SLAPD LDIF file, /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif, and update it as follows;

mv /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif.bak
cat > /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: cn=config
objectClass: olcGlobal
cn: config
olcArgsFile: /var/lib/openldap/slapd.args
olcPidFile: /var/lib/openldap/

dn: cn=schema,cn=config
objectClass: olcSchemaConfig
cn: schema

dn: cn=module,cn=config
objectClass: olcModuleList
cn: module
olcModulepath: /usr/libexec/openldap

include: file:///etc/openldap/schema/core.ldif
include: file:///etc/openldap/schema/cosine.ldif
include: file:///etc/openldap/schema/nis.ldif
include: file:///etc/openldap/schema/inetorgperson.ldif
include: file:///etc/openldap/schema/sudo.ldif
include: file:///etc/openldap/schema/ppolicy.ldif
dn: olcDatabase=frontend,cn=config
objectClass: olcDatabaseConfig
objectClass: olcFrontendConfig
olcDatabase: frontend
olcAccess: to dn.base="cn=Subschema" by * read
olcAccess: to * 
  by dn.base="gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external,cn=auth" manage 
  by * none

dn: olcDatabase=config,cn=config
objectClass: olcDatabaseConfig
olcDatabase: config
olcRootDN: cn=config
olcAccess: to * 
  by dn.base="gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external,cn=auth" manage 
  by * none
  • To update the SLAPD database from the information provided on the SLAPD LDIF file above, use slapadd command with the option -n 0 which creates the first database.
  • To specify the configuration directory, /etc/openldap/slapd.d, use option -F and option -l to specify location of the LDIF file above.

Before you can write the changes to the database, perform a dry run to see what would happen. Pass -u option to slapadd command.

slapadd -n 0 -F /etc/openldap/slapd.d -l /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif -u

Command output should be like;

_#################### 100.00% eta   none elapsed            none fast!

Then implement the changes if all is well.

slapadd -n 0 -F /etc/openldap/slapd.d -l /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif

This command creates slapd database configurations under /etc/openldap/slapd.d directory.

ls /etc/openldap/slapd.d
'cn=config'  'cn=config.ldif'

Set the user and group ownership of the /etc/openldap/slapd.d directory and the files in it to ldap user.

chown -R ldap:ldap /etc/openldap/slapd.d

Running SLAPD Service

Reload systemd configurations and start and enable OpenLDAP service to run on boot.

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl enable --now slapd

Check the status;

systemctl status slapd
● slapd.service - OpenLDAP Server Daemon
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/slapd.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Sat 2021-06-19 12:17:43 EAT; 19s ago
     Docs: man:slapd
  Process: 153713 ExecStart=/usr/libexec/slapd -u ldap -g ldap -h ${SLAPD_URLS} $SLAPD_OPTIONS (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 153714 (slapd)
    Tasks: 2 (limit: 11389)
   Memory: 3.0M
   CGroup: /system.slice/slapd.service
           └─153714 /usr/libexec/slapd -u ldap -g ldap -h ldap:/// ldapi:/// ldaps:/// -F /etc/openldap/slapd.d

Jun 19 12:17:43 localhost.localdomain systemd[1]: Starting OpenLDAP Server Daemon...
Jun 19 12:17:43 localhost.localdomain slapd[153713]: @(#) $OpenLDAP: slapd 2.5.5 (Jun 19 2021 11:30:55) $
                                                             [email protected]:/root/openldap-2.5.5/servers/slapd
Jun 19 12:17:43 localhost.localdomain slapd[153714]: slapd starting
Jun 19 12:17:43 localhost.localdomain systemd[1]: Started OpenLDAP Server Daemon.

Configure OpenLDAP Logging on Rocky Linux 8

To enable OpenLDAP to log connections, operations, results statistics, create and ldif file and update the database as follows. Such OpenLDAP logging is enabled on log level 256 with keyword stats by modifying the olcLogLevel attribute as shown below.

cd ~
cat > enable-openldap-log.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: cn=config
changeType: modify
replace: olcLogLevel
olcLogLevel: stats
ldapmodify -Y external -H ldapi:/// -f enable-openldap-log.ldif
ldapsearch -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -b cn=config "(objectClass=olcGlobal)" olcLogLevel -LLL -Q
dn: cn=config
olcLogLevel: stats

Configure Rsyslog to enable OpenLDAP to log to a specific file. By default, OpenLDAP logs to local4 facility.

echo "local4.* /var/log/slapd.log" >> /etc/rsyslog.conf

Restart Rsyslog

systemctl restart rsyslog

You should now be able to read the LDAP logs on, /var/log/slapd.log.

Create OpenLDAP Default Root DN

Next, create MDB database defining the root DN as well as the access control lists.

First, generate the root DN password.

New password: ENTER PASSWORD
Re-enter new password: RE-ENTER PASSWORD

Paste the password hash generated above as the value of olcRootPW in the Root DN ldif file below.

Replace the domain components, dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com with your appropriate names.

cat > rootdn.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: olcDatabase=mdb,cn=config
objectClass: olcDatabaseConfig
objectClass: olcMdbConfig
olcDatabase: mdb
olcDbMaxSize: 42949672960
olcDbDirectory: /var/lib/openldap
olcSuffix: dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
olcRootDN: cn=admin,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
olcRootPW: {SSHA}OH74PoJJKTsYIEg75iuwGk0OKbJ8y/BD
olcDbIndex: uid pres,eq
olcDbIndex: cn,sn pres,eq,approx,sub
olcDbIndex: mail pres,eq,sub
olcDbIndex: objectClass pres,eq
olcDbIndex: loginShell pres,eq
olcDbIndex: sudoUser,sudoHost pres,eq
olcAccess: to attrs=userPassword,shadowLastChange,shadowExpire
  by self write
  by anonymous auth
  by dn.subtree="gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external,cn=auth" manage 
  by dn.subtree="ou=system,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com" read
  by * none
olcAccess: to dn.subtree="ou=system,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com" by dn.subtree="gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external,cn=auth" manage
  by * none
olcAccess: to dn.subtree="dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com" by dn.subtree="gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external,cn=auth" manage
  by users read 
  by * none

Read more about ACL on OpenLDAP Access Control.

Updated the slapd database with the content above;

ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f rootdn.ldif

Sample command output;

SASL/EXTERNAL authentication started
SASL username: gidNumber=0+uidNumber=0,cn=peercred,cn=external,cn=auth
adding new entry "olcDatabase=mdb,cn=config"

Configure OpenLDAP with SSL/TLS

To secure OpenLDAP communication between the client and the server, configured it to use SSL/TLS certificates.

In this guide, we are self-signed certificates. You can choose to obtain the commercially signed and trusted certificates from your preferred CAs, for production environments.

openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout \
/etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.key -out /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.crt
chown ldap:ldap /etc/pki/tls/{ldapserver.crt,ldapserver.key}

Update the OpenLDAP Server TLS certificates attributes.

cat > add-tls.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: cn=config
changetype: modify
add: olcTLSCACertificateFile
olcTLSCACertificateFile: /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.crt
add: olcTLSCertificateKeyFile
olcTLSCertificateKeyFile: /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.key
add: olcTLSCertificateFile
olcTLSCertificateFile: /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.crt

Note that we have used self-signed certificate as both the certificate and the CA certificate.

ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f add-tls.ldif

You can confirm this by running;

slapcat -b "cn=config" | grep olcTLS
olcTLSCACertificateFile: /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.crt
olcTLSCertificateKeyFile: /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.key
olcTLSCertificateFile: /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.crt

Change the location of the CA certificate on /etc/openldap/ldap.conf.

vim /etc/openldap/ldap.conf
#TLS_CACERT     /etc/pki/tls/cert.pem
TLS_CACERT     /etc/pki/tls/ldapserver.crt

Create OpenLDAP Base DN

Next, create your base DN or search base to define your organization structure and directory.

Replace the domain components and organization units accordingly.

cat > basedn.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: dcObject
objectClass: organization
objectClass: top
o: Kifarunix-demo
dc: ldapmaster

dn: ou=groups,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: organizationalUnit
objectClass: top
ou: groups

dn: ou=people,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: organizationalUnit
objectClass: top
ou: people
ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f basedn.ldif

Create OpenLDAP User Accounts

You can add users to your OpenLDAP server. Create an ldif file to define your users as follows.

cat > users.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: uid=johndoe,ou=people,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: inetOrgPerson
objectClass: posixAccount
objectClass: shadowAccount
uid: johndoe
cn: John
sn: Doe
loginShell: /bin/bash
uidNumber: 10000
gidNumber: 10000
homeDirectory: /home/johndoe
shadowMax: 60
shadowMin: 1
shadowWarning: 7
shadowInactive: 7
shadowLastChange: 0

dn: cn=johndoe,ou=groups,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: posixGroup
cn: johndoe
gidNumber: 10000
memberUid: johndoe

Add the user to the OpenLDAP database.

ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f users.ldif

Setting password for LDAP User

To set the password for user above, run the command below;

ldappasswd -H ldapi:/// -Y EXTERNAL -S "uid=johndoe,ou=people,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com"

Create OpenLDAP Bind DN and Bind DN User

Bind DN user is used for performing LDAP operations such as resolving User IDs and group IDs. In this guide, we create a bind DN ou called system. Note the access controls associated with this ou as defined on the root DN above.

List the Access control lists on the database;

ldapsearch -Q -LLL -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -b cn=config '(olcDatabase={1}mdb)' olcAccess

Create the BindDN user password.

New password: Password
Re-enter new password: Password

Paste the password hash value above as the value of userPassword attribute in the file below;

cat > bindDNuser.ldif << 'EOL'
dn: ou=system,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: organizationalUnit
objectClass: top
ou: system

dn: cn=readonly,ou=system,dc=ldapmaster,dc=kifarunix-demo,dc=com
objectClass: organizationalRole
objectClass: simpleSecurityObject
cn: readonly
userPassword: {SSHA}1s+ndOUpf7dzQvH3z7BJoJLOkRJRIHvX
description: Bind DN user for LDAP Operations
ldapadd -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f bindDNuser.ldif

Allow OpenLDAP Service on Firewall

To allow remote clients to query OpenLDAP server, allow the ldap (389 UDP/TCP) and ldaps (636 UDP/TCP) service on firewall.

firewall-cmd --add-service={ldap,ldaps} --permanent
firewall-cmd --reload

Testing OpenLDAP Authentication

Well, there you go. You have learnt how to install and setup OpenLDAP server on Rocky Linux 8.

To verify that users can actually connect to the systems via the OpenLDAP server, you need to configure OpenLDAP clients on the remote systems.

See the guide below;

Configure SSSD for LDAP Authentication on Rocky Linux 8

Other Tutorials

Configure Squid Proxy OpenLDAP Authentication on pfSense

Configure OpenLDAP Password Expiry Email Notification

Configure OpenVPN LDAP Based Authentication


  1. 1) Try to copy ppolicy.ldif manually:

    # lapadd -n 0 -F /etc/openldap/slapd.d -l /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif -u
    ldif_read_record: include file:///etc/openldap/schema/ppolicy.ldif failed
    Closing DB…
    # cp ./tests/data/ppolicy.ldif /etc/openldap/schema/
    # # slapadd -n 0 -F /etc/openldap/slapd.d -l /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif -u
    slapadd: line 1013: database #0 (cn=config) not configured to hold “dc=example,dc=com”; no database configured for that naming context
    Closing DB…
    2) Finally I have commented out line:
    file:///etc/openldap/schema/ppolicy.ldif at the /etc/openldap/slapd.ldif

    Any hints on how to fix this?


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