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What is LDAP or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol



The LDAP or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol defines a message protocol used by directory clients and directory servers having a standard method for accessing and updating information in a directory.

LDAP is a lightweight implementation of the OSI X.500 Directory Access Protocol.
LDAP requires the OSI protocol stack and TCP/IP protocol stack (lightweight and simple).

The LDAP protocol uses different messages.Some of the requests given bellow.

bind request : This request is from the LDAP client to the LDAP server to establish a connection.
search request: A search Request is used to search for a specific entry in the directory.
modify request: modify request is used to edit specific entry in the directory.
add request: To add a new entry in the directory system by specified distinguished name (DN).

Distinguished Name (DN) :Every entry in the directory has a DN. The DN is the name that uniquely identifies an entry in the directory.

Example for DN :  uid=123456789128,ou=student,ou=people,dc=category
LDAP is an open industry standard that defines a standard method for accessing and updating information in a directory

LDAP client-server

The general interaction between an LDAP client and an LDAP server takes the following form:
1. The client will establish a session with an LDAP server by giving the host name or IP address and TCP/IP port number where the LDAP server is listening. This is known as binding to the server.
2. The client can provide a user name and a password to properly authenticate with the server, or the client can establish an anonymous session with default access rights. The client and server can also establish a session that uses stronger security methods such as encryption of data.
3. The client then performs operations on directory data. LDAP offers both read and update capabilities.Searching is a very common operation in LDAP. A user can specify what part of the directory to search and what information to return. A search filter that uses Boolean conditions specifies what directory data matches the search.
4.When the client is finished making requests, it closes the session with the server. This is also known as unbinding.

 Conclusion:

LDAP or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol does not define the directory service itself.
LDAP client is not dependent on a particular implementation of the LDAP server.
LDAP requires the lightweight TCP/IP stack rather than the entire OSI protocol stack.




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