Liferay DXP fully supports LDAP as a user store. Use the LDAP tab in Instance Settings’s Authentication page to connect to an LDAP directory. Users can be imported from LDAP or exported to LDAP. If your organization already stores user information on an LDAP server, it’s convenient for both users and administrators to import Users. In this article, you’ll learn how to connect to an LDAP server and how to configure import settings, export settings, and related LDAP configuration settings.

Configuring LDAP Settings

To access LDAP configuration settings, navigate to Control Panel → ConfigurationInstance Settings, then scroll down and expand the form’s Authentication section. Go to the LDAP tab. Use this form to connect to an LDAP directory.

You configure the global values from the LDAP tab of the Authentication page.

Enabled: Check this box to enable LDAP Authentication.

Required: Check this box if LDAP authentication is required. Users then can’t log in unless they can bind to the LDAP directory successfully. Uncheck this box if users with Liferay DXP accounts but no LDAP accounts can log in.

Method: Choose Bind (the default) or Password Compare. Bind does a standard LDAP bind; Password Compare attempts to compare Liferay and LDAP passwords using the encryption algorithm specified in the field below. Password Compare is rarely used.

Password Encryption Algorithm: Choose the password encryption algorithm your LDAP server uses to encrypt passwords, so they can be compared, if using the Password Compare bind method. This is rarely used.

LDAP Servers: Liferay DXP supports connections to multiple LDAP servers. Use the Add button beneath this heading to add LDAP servers. Each LDAP server has several configuration options that are explained in the next article.

Import/Export: You can import and export user data from LDAP directories using the following options:

Enable Import: Check this box to do a mass import from your LDAP directories. Otherwise, Users are imported as they log in.

Enable Import on Startup: Check this box to do the mass import when Liferay DXP starts. Note: this box only appears if you check Enable Import, described above. Definitely leave this unchecked if you have a Liferay DXP cluster, or all your nodes will do a mass import when each of them starts up.

Import Interval: When mass importing users, import users every X minutes.

Import Method: Set either User or Group. If you set this to User, Liferay DXP imports all users from the specified portion of the LDAP tree. If you set this to Group, Liferay DXP searches all the groups and imports the users in each group. If you have users who do not belong to any groups, they are not imported.

Lock Expiration Time: Set the account lock expiration time for LDAP User import. The default is one day.

Import User Sync Strategy: Set the strategy used to sync user accounts. Options are Auth Type (i.e., the way the user authenticates, like with screen name) and UUID (requires a UUID attribute in LDAP).

Enable User Password on Import: Assign a default password (see below) when users are imported, so they can be synced between the two systems.

Autogenerate User Password on Import: Create a random password on user import.

Default User Password: Enter the default password users are assigned when they first log in via LDAP.

Enable Group Cache on Import: Cache the imported groups so import isn’t slowed by database access.

Create Role per Group on Import: For every LDAP group, create a corresponding Liferay Role.

Enable Export: Check this box to export user accounts to LDAP. A listener tracks changes made to the User object and pushes updates to the LDAP server whenever a User object is modified. Note that by default on every login, fields such as lastLoginDate are updated. When export is enabled, this causes a user export every time the user logs in. You can prevent updates to users’ lastLoginDate fields from triggering LDAP user exports by setting the following property in your portal-ext.properties file:


Enable Group Export: Export groups to LDAP.

Use LDAP Password Policy: Liferay DXP uses its own password policy by default. This can be configured on the Control Panel’s Password Policies page. Check the Use LDAP Password Policy box if you want to use the password policies defined by your LDAP directory. Once this is enabled, the Password Policies tab states that you are not using a local password policy. You must now use your LDAP directory’s mechanism for setting password policies. Liferay DXP cannot enforce these policies; the best it can do is pass through the messages returned by your LDAP server. It does this by parsing the messages in the LDAP controls the server returns. By default, Liferay DXP is configured to parse the messages returned by the Fedora Directory Server. If you use a different LDAP server, you must customize the messages in System SettingsSecurityLDAPConnection.

Once you’ve finished configuring LDAP, click the Save button.

LDAP Options Available in System Settings

Although most LDAP configuration can be done from Instance Settings, there are several configuration parameters that are only available in System Settings.

If you must change any of these options, navigate to Control PanelConfigurationSystem Settings. Go to the Security section and find the entries with LDAP in the title.

Note: To use config files for LDAP server configuration, you must specify the Virtual Instance ID (in the source, the variable name is companyId) in the exported configuration file, because servers are defined at the instance scope, not the system scope. To do this, specify the virtual instance ID somewhere in the file like this:


You can find your Virtual Instance ID in Control Panel → Configuration → Virtual Instances.

Use the Connection entry to manage error properties like Error password age keywords which lets you set a list of phrases from error messages which can possibly be returned by the LDAP server. When a user binds to LDAP, the server returns controls with its response of success or failure. These controls contain a message describing the error or the information that is returned with the response. Though the controls are the same across LDAP servers, the messages can be different. The properties described here contain snippets of words from those messages and work with Red Hat’s Fedora Directory Server. If you are not using that server, the word snippets may not work with your LDAP server. If they don’t, you can replace the values of these properties with phrases from your server’s error messages. This enables Liferay DXP to recognize them.

In summary, if there’s a configuration option you need with LDAP, and you don’t find it in Instance Settings, look in the LDAP System Settings entries.

Next, you’ll learn how to add LDAP server connections.

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