Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List (Pros and Cons)

Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List (Pros and Cons).Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is a lightweight edition of the Directory Access Protocol (DAP). Altogether, LDAP is an open, cross platform application protocol for data access and maintenance. Initial aim was to provide low overhead access to an X.500 Directory, but its uses have grown to include authentication.

Since LDAP is a protocol, it does not specify how directory programs work. Instead, it functions as a language that allows users to query information about persons, organizations, and other assets like files and devices on a network. Basically, it achieves this by storing data in an LDAP directory and validating user access to the directory through a plugin.

All in all, LDAP works with most vendor directory programs, such as Active Directory. Also use LDAP with computers, printers, and other devices on a company’s network.

Let’s continue reading the Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List.

What is an LDAP Server and How Does it Work?

An LDAP server or Directory System Agent (DSA) runs on Windows, Linux, or Unix OS. As a result, it stores user names, passwords, and other critical user identities. It then uses this information to validate users when it receives requests and shares those requests with other DSAs. Multiple services and applications connect to a server simultaneously to authenticate users.

Here are 20 of the best LDAP servers for managing directory services:

1. 389 Directory Server

First solution that we have picked of Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List is 389 Directory Server. A fully featured, business class, and free LDAP server run by Red Hat as part of its community supported Fedora Project. Altogether, it stores groups, identities, and organizational information for Linux network systems. 389 Directory Server is free, and users easily assemble it thanks to the graphical user interface quickly.

389 Directory is a high performing LDAP server capable of handling numerous operations per second over tens of thousands of parallel users. Besides, there is a vast directory that is only limited by your disk space. Not only is 389 Directory very scalable, but it also supports multi master repetition.

Pros of 389 Directory Server

  • Handles tens of thousands of operations per second.
  • Offers customers with localized group, user, and asset management tools for enterprise environments.
  • Easy to use with its authentication mechanism.
  • Improves your organization’s security posture by providing multiple access methods, policy replication, data protection, and certified authentication.

Cons of 389 Directory Server

  • Some authentication vulnerabilities.
  • More resource intensive than other solutions.
  • Feature rich and complex software that requires some skill to use.

2. OpenLDAP

Open LDAP is an open source and second choice in our list of Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List. LDAP implementation by the OpenLDAP project. The application is a Windows LDAP client that helps IT administrators configure and manage directories. Certainly OpenLDAP has a minimal user interface and does not rely heavily on the CLI, so you need a good knowledge of LDAP protocol and directory structure to run it.

However, you supplement OpenLDAP with a third party application such as phpLDAPadmin, enabling you to interact with OpenLDAP through a basic UI. Main features of it includes scheme browsing, binary attribute support, password management, and export & import LDIF. This server software is fast as its code is in C plus, and it is this speed that makes it suitable for application to enterprise grade LDAP suite of development solutions.

Pros of OpenLDAP

  • Excellent documentation and worldwide customer support.
  • Lets you define user privileges and secure communication.
  • The phpLDAPAdmin mechanism allows you to view and modify your organization’s structure using your browser.
  • Offers excellent support for Linux based networking systems and applications.

Cons of OpenLDAP

  • Complex tool that requires much skill to install and configure.
  • Does not provide a Graphical User Interface (GUI).

3. Apache Directory Server

Apache Directory Studio (ApacheDS) by Apache Software Foundation is one of the most popular LDAP servers on the market. Chiefly it is a cross platform directory tool compatible with the latest LDAP version (LDAPv3). Apache was written in Java by its developers and supported the Change Password Protocol and Kerberos 5.

Design of Apache makes it easy to install, configure and manage. UI tool includes an LDAP browser, LDAP schema editor, access control editor, LDIF editor, DSML editor, and more. OpenLDAP’s directory tool comes with many OSGI plugins and is also be used with other LDAP servers to store procedures, create triggers, queue, and view data.

Pros of Apache Directory Server

  • Open source software that is compatible with the majority of operating systems.
  • Supports integration with LDAP platform systems as well as Java 8.
  • Has dynamic and extensible server triggers and queues which add to its efficiency.
  • Gorgeous and intuitive user interface.

Cons of Apache Directory Server

  • Does not integrate with most non Apache solutions.
  • Not much documentation available for features and best practice.

4. Red Hat Directory Server

Red Hat Directory Server is an operating system that provides IT admins with a central location to store data. Allows you to easily manage user access to several systems within a UNIX environment. Accessing data that you saved locally in a UNIX network becomes more difficult as the number of users and systems increases. That said, Red Hat Directory server solves this by enabling you to save user details in the LDAP server, thus making the system expandable, convenient, and secure.

Other features include deep control that relies on the user’s identity, data protection with restricted access to directory data, domain name, group membership, domain name, and role identity.

Pros of Red Hat Directory Server

  • Offers a localized user, group, and management platform for enterprises.
  • The 4-way multi master replication improves the flexibility of the architecture.
  • Simplifies user management by automating data maintenance and eliminating data redundancy.
  • Intuitive interface that’s very easy to navigate.

Cons of Red Hat Directory Server

  • New LDAP users may find it difficult to install and configure the software.
  • Sometimes there are issues when integrating with other Red Hat solutions.

5. OpenDj

Further with this list of Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List is OpenDj. Another open source, secure, lightweight, and open source directory server for the Java platform. It is LDAPv3 compliant and supports Directory Service Markup Language (DSMLv2). Concurrently, OpenDj is a secure, high performing and highly available repository for the Identities managed by an organization. Certainly, a Java platform with the software’s easy installation process, it makes OpenDj one of the fastest and easiest LDAP to deploy and manage.

Pros of OpenDJ

  • Fully compliant with LDAPv3 and Directory Service Markup Language.
  • Access control and multi master replication.
  • Straightforward installation and configuration process. 
  • Free to download and use.
  • Written in Java, which makes the platform very robust.

Cons of OpenDJ

  • Does not support alias dereferencing and only offers limited support for LDAP version 2.
  • Complex subtree searches result in a performance drop.

6. Univention Corporate Server

Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is another open source Linux directory tool that enables you to administer data and other assets within the UCS. OS based on Debian GNU/Linux and uses a combined management system for multi platform and central control of clients, servers, users, and computers, as well as services such as the transitive machine’s operation in the server.

The latest editions of Univention Corporate Server support Microsoft Active Directory functionalities. Meaning organizations combine UCS with Samba to administer devices that use MS Windows.

Pros of Univention Corporate Server (UCS)

  • Univention App Center, gathers all apps into one place and enables you to install applications from the Domain.
  • An excellent alternative to Microsoft Active Directory Server.
  • UCS scales according to your organization’s needs and also allows you to expand it with various apps.
  • Fully featured, easy to install and manage, and fully compatible with third-party applications.

Cons of Univention Corporate Server (UCS)

  • Most of its documentation is in German.
  • Some of its advanced features require a high level of technical skill to use.

7. Oracle Internet Directory

Oracle Internet Directory server is an LDAPv3 and DSML compliant directory with meta directory capabilities. The server stores data in custom, binary tree databases, enabling fast searches even for large data loads. Oracle directory server has many features that make it ideal for cross platform environments. Some features that make it popular with admins include a Web Administrative console, Directory server and more.

Pros of Oracle Internet Directory

  • Very convenient password policy setup.
  • Supports Web administrative console.
  • Works well in heterogeneous environments.
  • A lot of modern features, such as an Embedded database, Directory synchronization and directory proxy.
  • Friendly user interface.

Cons of Oracle Internet Directory

  • Modifying file permissions manually is tiresome and complicated.

8. GLAuth

GLAuth, or Golang LDAP Authentication, is a free, lightweight, and secure LDAP server. Server comprises configurable backends, two factor authentication and centrally manageable SSH keys. Consequently, the server makes it easier to manage several accounts across multiple platforms like macOS and Linux from a single location. GLAuth supports applications such as Graylog2, Jenkins Server, and Apache web server.

Pros of GLAuth

  • Enables you to chain multiple back ends to inject features.
  • Allows you to manage Linux accounts, SSH keys, and passwords for cloud servers.
  • Manage accounts across your organization’s infrastructure.
  • Implements a two factor authentication process that is transparent to applications.

Cons of GLAuth

  • Does not provide support for SQL, Mongo, and other datastores.
  • Lacks a proper documentation.

9. Symantec Directory

Broadcom Symantec Directory is a reliable, extremely scalable and high performing LDAP server. As shown, the tool enables you to manage the most demanding cloud and on premises applications at scale across multiple data centers. Symantec achieves all this with minimal infrastructure and labour for a lower TCO. There is critical online service solutions such as data distribution, advanced replication, internal routing, automated disaster recovery, a web based management user interface, and a REST API.

As a matter of fact, it also enables high speed performance for read and write operations and replication to scale and transparent distribution to multiple servers.

Pros of Symantec Directory

  • Lowers TCO by performing operations at speeds of up to 20000 updates or searches per second.
  • Enhances data integrity and performance through write through replication, eliminating the need for master and consumer models.
  • Improves reliability and availability through a smooth failover and failback with automatic data resynchronization.
  • Scales to hundreds of millions of devices and users and billions of entries.
  • Supports geographically remote data centres.

Cons of Symantec Directory

  • Cannot transfer a client from one group to another; the only way to achieve this is from the active directory.
  • You can not switch the mode manually.

10. ForgeRock LDAP

Following with Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List is ForgeRock. Supporting multiple developer options such as REST API, LDAP, SCIM, and DSML based Web Services. If you prefer a more traditional approach, the Directory Services SDK offers a library of interfaces and java classes for accessing and implementing LDAP directory services. The tool supports High Availability Proxy Protocol v1 and v2 for LDAPs. this gives you visibility into a requesting client when your directory service is behind a proxy.

System applies proper security protocol to authenticate client access. Offers a flexible data model that allows developers to choose between SCIM, REST, Web services or LDAP for access to directory data.

Pros of ForgeRock LDAP Server

  • Very scalable and supports thousands of users.
  • Easy way to navigate and manage applications.
  • Easily customizable and adapts well to most network environments.
  • Support for multi factor authentication.
  • Integrates with a wide range of developer solutions.

Cons of ForgeRock LDAP

  • Although it is user friendly, users might still find it difficult to implement.
  • The UI could use some improvement, as it is chunky and outdated.

11. JumpCloud

The JumpCloud directory platform is a business grade version of an LDAP server. As well as, it is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as several other protocols such as SCIM, RADIUS, Jit provisioning, and SAML. In turn, this enables you to securely connect to the resources you need from anywhere and on any device.

JumpCloud lets you manage the elements within your IT environment according to your  preferences. Manage multiOS environments with GPO like policies, secure networks with VLANs and RADIUS, or even connect to file servers on premises and in the cloud.

Pros of JumpCloud

  • Plenty of documentation to guide users.
  • Ideal for smaller enterprises with fewer IT personnel.
  • Extremely affordable with 10 free service users. 
  • Provides users with MDM features across MACOS and Windows.
  • Very intuitive user interface that works on most browsers.

Cons of JumpCloud

  • The functionality for importing users from Gsuite lacks granular import options.
  • Although documentation is readily available, the instructions is vague.

12. FreeDSx LDAP

Surely with Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List there is FreeDSx LDAP.  Pure PHP LDAP library with no requirement on the core PHP LDAP extension. Currently, this library implements most client functionality described in RFC 4511 and a few LDAP server functionality. Also implements client features from various RFCs, such as VLC Control Support, PAGING Control Support, String Representation of Search Filters, Server Side Sort Control, SASL authentication, and Password Modify Request.

Pros of FreeDSx LDAP

  • Very simple installation process.
  • Supports encryption of LDAP connection through TLS via the OpenSSL extension.
  • Supports all major PHP frameworks.
  • Free to use.

Cons of FreeDSx LDAP

  • FreeDSx LDAP source code is written in PHP and is slow.

13. IBM Security Directory Server

IBM Security Directory Server is an enterprise grade LDAP for corporate networks and the internet. Equally, it stores directory information using a DB2 database. Comes with a proxy server that you use to route LDAP operations to directory servers with a database.

At the same time, it offers graphical user interfaces and client utilities, like Configuration Tool and Administration Tool, to manage servers. Equally robust and authoritative enterprise structure that improves your organization’s security posture.

Pros of IBM Security Directory Server

Cons of IBM Security Directory Server

  • The distinguished name (DN) has a 1000 character length limit.
  • On Windows systems, you might be unable to drop the database immediately after you halt a directory server instance.

14. Isode M-Vault

Isode M-Vault is a high performing, secure LDAP/X.500 server. By all means, it uses M-Vault as an independent Directory server part of a distributed Directory Service. Alternatively, you use M-Vault to store configuration and user authentication credentials for Isodes messaging products.

Its cross platform management tools and modern security features enable it to manage millions of entries and process thousands of queries per second. Features transactional integrity, high availability and management capabilities.

Pros of Isode M-Vault

  • Has a unique set of security features such as Oauth 2.0, role based access control, audit logging and password policy.
  • Design boosts the performance of the read, search and modification functions.
  • The solution’s multi threaded and multi protocol architecture enables you to scale M-Vault to multi processor platforms.
  • Has an underlying high end database transaction system that ensures fault tolerance in case the OS, hardware or applications fail.

Cons of Isode M-Vault

  • The community is not very dynamic.
  • Customizing M-Vault is challenging.

15. UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java

UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java is a fast, user friendly, free java library for communicating with LDAP directory servers. By and large, it is easy to use and contains more features than most Java based LDAP APIs. 

Pros of UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java

  • Offers full support for the most recent LDAPv3 protocol. 
  • Built support for various de facto and official protocol extensions like extended operations, controls, and SASL mechanisms.
  • Very intuitive and convenient API that minimizes the amount of code you need to write to run an operation.
  • Improved support for several special entry types such as changelog, subschema subentries and the root DSE.

Cons of UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java

  • The OID registry JSON file needs an update.
  • There is not much support and documentation available about the product.

16. Microfocus NetIQ Directory

NetIQ Directory allows you to securely delegate admin privileges across Active Directory, Windows server, Group Policy and Exchange server networks. With thorough auditing and reporting capabilities, NetIQ Directory provides users with high levels of accountability while minimizing operation costs.

Furthermore, lets you control who accesses the contents within Active Directory while safeguarding the integrity and consistency of data by authorizing all administrative changes.

Pros of Microfocus NetIQ Directory

  • The self service portal is very easy to use.
  • Provides robust activity monitoring
  • Synchronizes different directories like Active Directory.
  • Integrate a lot of external systems.
  • Capable of automatically transferring large amounts of identity data.

Cons of Microfocus NetIQ Directory

  • Does not allow you to customize the self service portal.
  • The interface is a little out of date.

17. Ldapjs

Ldapjs is a pure JavaScript framework for implementing LDAP clients and servers in Node.js. Development tool to interact with HTTP services in the node and rectify. Runs in most of the common operations in the LDAP version 3 RFC for clients and servers.

Fully wire compatible with the LDAP protocol and seamlessly integrates with OpenLDAP and other LDAPv3 compliant solutions. Provides a strong routing and “intercepting filter” for server implementation.

Pros of Ldapjs

  • Has a lot of comprehensive documentation.
  • LDAP access point without burdening users with bulky backends.
  • Event driven asynchronous server that efficiently manages connections.
  • Very developer friendly solution.

Cons of Ldapjs

  • Its functioning relies on request response times and network bandwidth.
  • Users may encounter issues when trying to interact with LDAP groups.

18. Symas OpenLDAP

Symas OpenLDAP is a directory server engine that works with Linux, AIX, Windows, Mac OS and UNIX. The tool is unique for its high performance and stability and is available as a subscription for enterprises. In addition to comprehensive support, Symas OpenLDAP comprises features like password policy management.

Generally, relies on existing open source software such as Cyrus SASL, OpenSSL and Heimdal Kerberos for its OpenLDAP distributions. Provides advanced technologies for higher security with the Lightning Memory Mapped Database (LMDB) database.

Pros of Symas OpenLDAP

  • Delivers high performance and high availability.
  • Regular security updates.
  • Offers users direct packaging by the main developers.
  • Gives users access to improvements even before they are available in a general release.
  • Users receive third level support from the technical team at Symas.

Cons of Symas OpenLDAP

  • There is a limit to how many files are opened by the system, and exceeding this limit may slow down the processing speed,
  • The system has a slow startup.

19. Oracle Unified Directory

Oracle Unified Directory is a comprehensive directory solution with proxy, virtualization, storage and synchronization capabilities. With this central approach, Oracle Unified Directory provides users with the services they need for carrier grade and enterprise environments, such as scalability to billions of entries.

Pros of Oracle Unified Directory

  • Very convenient password policy setup,
  • Allows you to activate and deactivate user accounts using the organization’s payroll news.
  • Compliant with most regulatory authority guidelines.
  • Excellent commercial support to its customers.

Cons of Oracle Unified Directory

  • Less flexible compared to other tools.
  • The certificate management for SSL/TLS needs improvement.

20. Microsoft Active Directory

Last tool on the list Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List is Active Directory. Microsoft’s directory service that runs on windows servers. Even more, This service allows IT admins to handle permissions and access to network assets. AD stores data as objects. An object is an individual element like a user, device, group, or application. AD offers many services, such as access policies, authentication and group management

Pros of Microsoft Active Directory

  • Offers a central point for admins to manage user access and network permissions.
  • Provides a smooth user experience.
  • Numerous versions of AD are available for different use cases.
  • Has extensive policies with group policy objects.

Cons of Microsoft Active Directory

  • Relatively expensive to set up and maintains
  • Vulnerable to security risks, such as root domains exposing the entire framework to vulnerabilities

Thank you for reading Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List. We shall conclude the article now. 

Top 20 Best LDAP Servers List (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

Finally, LDAP servers are essential as they provide a secure way to manage and store user data. The list above has some of the best servers that fit your business. If you are looking for an LDAP server, consider its capabilities and specific requirements before choosing one.

Do explore more of our LDAP content in our blog by navigating here

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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