phpLDAPadmin and Kerberos

I’ve been experimenting with phpLDAPadmin for browsing/searching LDAP directories over the web and found it to be a wonderful tool. I’m currently working with LDAP in a central authentication system together with Kerberos and wanted to have a nice web interface for managing user information within the LDAP directory. phpLDAPadmin provides a very nice interface for browsing, searching, and updating entries which makes it a bit easier than working with the ldap* command line tools. Here’s my basic setup of phpLDAPadmin using Kerberos for authentication. This assumes you already have an LDAP/Kerberos setup working and are using Apache as your web server.

First step is to make sure you have SASL support compiled into the LDAP PHP extension --with-ldap-sasl. Check out phpinfo() and make sure you see SASL Support Enabled under the LDAP extension. If not re-compile PHP. Grab a copy of phpLDAPadmin here and untar into a directory of your choice (/usr/local). Copy the config.php.example to config.php:

$ tar -xvxf phpldapadmin-x.x.x.tar.gz
$ ln -s phpldapadmin-x.x.x phpldapadmin
$ cd phpldapadmin
$ cp config/config.php.example config/config.php

Edit config/config.php. A few options to define are as follows:

$ldapservers->SetValue($i,'server','name','My LDAP Server');

Basically, we’re configuring phpLDAPadmin with auth_type = config which means that the user/pass used to bind to the LDAP server is hard coded in the config.php file. We leave the user/pass blank because each user will first be authenticating through Kerberos and using their tickets to bind to the LDAP server. Internally phpLDAPadmin calls the ldap_sasl_bind(..) function with an auth_mech of GSSAPI which does the work of binding using Kerberos tickets.

Next, we’ll configure apache to point to the location where we installed phpLDAPadmin. Edit your httpd.conf file or equivalent. If your running redhat usually create a file in /etc/httpd/conf.d or on Debian /etc/apache2/site-available/. You will probably want to add this to an SSL vhost to ensure your username/passwords are transmitted over a secure connection.

Alias /ldapadmin /usr/local/phpldapadmin/htdocs/
<Location /ldapadmin>
    AuthType Kerberos
    AuthName "LDAP Admin"
    KrbVerifyKDC off
    KrbServiceName HTTP
    Krb5KeyTab /path/to/your/httpd.keytab
    KrbSaveCredentials on
    require valid-user

In order to authenticate users against Kerberos and obtain the necessary Kerberos tickets we use the apache module mod_auth_kerb. The apache config above defines our location for phpLDAPadmin and adds in the necessary config for mod_auth_kerb. More info can be found here. Make sure to add in the KrbSaveCredentails on directive so that mod_auth_kerb will save the Kerberos tickets for use throughout the request.

Next we need to expose the location of the Kerberos tickets to phpLDAPadmin. mod_auth_kerb sets an environment variable KRB5CCNAME to the location of the credential cache. To expose this environment variable to the phpLDAPadmin code edit the file [phpLDAPadmin_install]/lib/common.php and add this line to the very top:


That should do it. Now when you access you should be challenged with HTTP basic auth, which authenticates against Kerberos and uses the Kerberos credentials to bind to your LDAP server. There might be an easier way to go about doing this but I wasn’t able to turn much up on google so I thought I’d share one way I was able to get things working.