LDAP-login on Debian 11/12

The goal

The goal is to be able to login with your Active Directory credentials on a Debian machine.

Only members of the DEB-SRV-Users group and local users are going to be able to login.

Installing prerequisites

apt update
apt install libpam-ldapd

While installing the libpam-ldapd package you will get a series of prompts:

First you need to specify the LDAP server URI. Use ldaps:// if you want an encrypted connection.

The LDAP Search Base

LDAP database authentication. We are going to use a bind user Afterwards you will be prompted for the DistinguishedName and Password of the bind user.

If you want to use an encrypted connection you should pick `demand`

In case you want to rerun those prompts you can just reconfigure the nslcd package:

dpkg-reconfigure nslcd



Add ldap to the passwd, group and shadow lines

passwd:         files systemd ldap
group:          files systemd ldap
shadow:         files ldap


To get the domain-SID you just need to run Get-ADDomain on a domain-joined machine with RSAT. We will need it in the next step.

DomainSID                          : S-1-5-21-2222483658-6132663573-3907530145


# The user and group nslcd should run as.
uid nslcd
gid nslcd

# The location at which the LDAP server(s) should be reachable.
uri ldap://your-ldap-server.company.com/

# The search base that will be used for all queries.
base ou=Users,dc=company,dc=com

# Mapping user attributes to AD attributes
map     passwd          uid             sAMAccountName
map     passwd          gidNumber       primaryGroupID
map     passwd          homeDirectory   "/home/$sAMAccountName"
map     passwd          gecos           displayName
map     passwd          loginShell      "/bin/bash"
map     passwd          uidNumber       objectSid:<DOMAIN-SID-HERE>

# only allow users in the DEB-SRV-Users Group
filter  passwd          (&(objectClass=user)(memberof=CN=DEB-SRV-Users,OU=Groups,DC=example,DC=com))

# The LDAP protocol version to use.
ldap_version 3

# The DN to bind with for normal lookups.
binddn CN=MyBindUser,OU=Users,DC=example,DC=com
bindpw BindUserPassword

# The DN used for password modifications by root.
#rootpwmoddn cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com

# SSL options
ssl start_tls
tls_reqcert allow
tls_cacertfile /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt


If you want to use an encrypted connection to the LDAP-Server, you have to have either a CA-Certificate (you can export it using certlm.msc on Windows) or the LDAP server's certificate. You can get it via this command on Linux:

openssl s_client -connect YOUR-LDAP-SERVER:636 -showcerts </dev/null 2>/dev/null | openssl x509 -outform pem

Save the certificate to /etc/ssl/certs/your-ca-cert.crt for example and change tls_cacertfile accordingly.


We need to create a home directory whenever a new users logs on for the first time. To do this we only need to add the following line to /etc/pam.d/common-session

session optional        pam_mkhomedir.so skel=/etc/skel umask=077

Finishing up

Restart nscd and nslcs service

systemctl restart nscd.service nslcd.service

After that you should already be able to login with AD users.


In case something does not work you can always

  • check /var/log/auth.log
  • Run nslcd in foreground:
    systemctl stop nslcd
    nslcd -d