Authentication with LDAP against ActiveDirectory

This tutorial explains how to use GeoServer LDAP support to connect to a Windows Domain using ActiveDirectory as an LDAP server. It is recommended that the LDAP authentication section be read before proceeding.

Windows Server and ActiveDirectory

Active Directory is just another LDAP server implementation, but has some features that we must know to successfully use it with GeoServer LDAP authentication. In this tutorial we will assume to have a Windows Server Domain Controller with ActiveDirectory named domain-controller for a domain named ad.local. If your environment uses different names (and it surely will) use your real names where needed.

We will also assume that:

  • a group named GISADMINGROUP exists.

  • a user named GISADMIN exists, has password secret, and belongs to the GISADMINGROUP group.

  • a user named GISUSER exists, has password secret, and does NOT belong to the GISADMINGROUP group.


ADMINISTRATOR cannot be generally used as the admin group name with ActiveDirectory, because Administrator is the root user name in Windows environment.

Configure the LDAP authentication provider

  1. Start GeoServer and login to the web admin interface as the admin user.

  2. Click the Authentication link located under the Security section of the navigation sidebar.

  3. Scroll down to the Authentication Providers panel and click the Add new link.

  4. Click the LDAP link.

  5. Fill in the fields of the settings form as follows:

    • Set Name to “ad-ldap”

    • Set Server URL to “ldap://domain-controller/dc=ad,dc=local

    • Set Filter used to lookup user to (|(userPrincipalName={0})(sAMAccountName={1}))

    • Set Format used for user login name to “{0}@ad.local

    • Check Use LDAP groups for authorization

    • Check Bind user before searching for groups

    • Set Group to use as ADMIN to “GISADMINGROUP”

    • Set Group search base to “cn=Users”

    • Set Group search filter to “member={0}”

  6. Test the LDAP connection by entering the username “GISADMIN” and password “secret” in the connection test form located on the right and click the Test Connection button.


    A successful connection should be reported at the top of the page.

  7. Save.

  8. Back on the authentication page scroll down to the Provider Chain panel and move the ad-ldap provider from Available to Selected.

  9. Save.

Test a LDAP login

  1. Navigate to the GeoServer home page and log out of the admin account.

  2. Login as the user “GISUSER” with the password “secret”.


Logging in as GISUSER doesn’t yield any administrative functionality because the GISUSER account has not been mapped to the administrator role. In the next section GeoServer will be configured to map groups from the LDAP database to roles.

Now we will login with a user having administrative rights.

  1. Navigate to the GeoServer home page and log out of the account.

  2. Login as the user “GISADMIN” with the password “secret”.

Once logged in full administrative functionality should be available.

Configure the LDAP role service

An additional step permits to configure a role service to get GeoServer roles from the LDAP repository and allow access rights to be assigned to those roles.

  1. Click the Users,Group,Roles link located under the Security section of the navigation sidebar.

  2. Click the Add new link under the Role Services section.

  3. Click the LDAP option under the New Role Service section.

  4. Enter ldapadrs in the Name text field.

  5. Enter ldap://domain-controller/dc=ad,dc=local in the Server URL text field.

  6. Enter CN=Users in the Group search base text field.

  7. Enter member={1},dc=ad,dc=local in the Group user membership search filter text field.

  8. Enter objectClass=group in the All groups search filter text field.

  9. Enter sAMAccountName={0} in the Filter used to lookup user text field.

Then we need to a choose a user to authenticate on the server (many LDAP server don’t allow anonymous data lookup).

  1. Check the Authenticate to extract roles checkbox.

  2. Enter GISADMIN@ad.local in the Username text field.

  3. Enter secret in the Password text field.

  4. Save.

  5. Click the ldapadrs role service item under the Role Services section.

  6. Select ROLE_DOMAIN ADMINS from the Administrator role combo-box.

  7. Select ROLE_DOMAIN ADMINS from the Group administrator role combo-box.

  8. Save again.

You should now be able to see and assign the new ActiveDirectory roles wherever an Available Roles list is shown (for example in the Data and Services rules sections.