Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata
Table of Contents

New CAS documentation site

CAS documentation has moved over to, starting with CAS version 4.x. The wiki will no longer be maintained. For the most recent version of the documentation, please refer to the aforementioned link.

LDAP Authentication Handler

Including the Handler

In the pom.xml file for your CAS Maven2 WAR Overlay, add the following dependency:



Version 3.3.5, due to a mistake in its build, included this by default. Prior and future versions do not include it by default.

You'll also need to create a new property in the pom file with the name "apache.commons.pool.version" and give the value of the apache commons pool version you intend to use, (i.e 1.5.6) if connection pooling is needed.

Core Classes

You need to decide how you would like CAS to authenticate the credentials. Should it merely attempt to authenticate to (bind to) the LDAP server using the credentials directly as the user? Or should it first look up the user in some subtree and then attempt to bind as that user? It is more efficient and more secure to use fastbind, but that is not always possible. This is explained in detail later in this document.

Both methods require you to configure an LDAP context bean: this is the configuration to access your directory. It is recommended to configure a new bean in the top list and reference that from the configuration of the AuthenticationHandler, as explained in the instructions on this page.


Use this handler when a user DN may be directly composed from the username, e.g. uid=%u,ou=people,dc=vt,edu, where %u is the username provided on the CAS login form.

The FastBindLdapAuthenticationHandler supports the following properties:

  • filter - The filter property is the LDAP filter that will be used for the search. When constructing the filter, wherever you want the username to appear, place a "%u".
  • ignorePartialResultException - This property informs Spring LDAP to ignore PartialResultExceptions that may get thrown when connecting to an Active Directory.
  • contextSource - This is a reference to a LdapContextSource (see below) which will contain the settings for connecting to the LDAP server.


This component performs a typical two-phase LDAP authentication process:

  1. Search for the user DN based on an arbitrary search filter.
  2. Construct the DN and bind with it using the password from the CAS login form.

Use this handler when the DN cannot be directly composed from the username, for example when the directory uid is an opaque identifier that is distinct from a memorable username or the common sense of username is based on an alternative attribute such as mail (email address). Since two LDAP operations are performed for every authentication, this method is inherently less efficient than FastBindLdapAuthenticationHandler and should be used when required.

The BindLdapAuthenticationHandler supports the following properties:

  • filter - The filter property is the LDAP filter that will be used for the search. When constructing the filter, wherever you want the username to appear, place a "%u".
  • ignorePartialResultException - This property informs LdapTemplate to ignore PartialResultExceptions that may get thrown when connecting to an Active Directory.
  • contextSource - LdapContextSource used for the LDAP bind operation. (And search in versions prior to 3.4.9).
  • searchContextSource - New in 3.4.9 LdapContextSource used for the LDAP search operation. This property is intended to support LDAP connection pooling for improved performance. See for data on performance improvements.
  • allowMultipleAccounts - Allows more than one account to be returned.
  • maxNumberOfResults - this is the maximum number of results we allow.
  • scope - One of the predefined "SearchControl" Scopes: SearchControls.OBJECT_SCOPE, SearchControls.ONELEVEL_SCOPE, or SearchControls.SUBTREE_SCOPE
  • searchBase - The search base is the node in the directory from where the search will be performed. (See LDAP Authentication with Multiple Search Bases if, well, you want to use more than one search base.)
  • timeout - This is the amount of time we are willing to wait for the search results to return.


Note that all configuration should happen in cas-server-webapp/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/deployerConfigContext.xml

Define a ContextSource

BindLdapAuthenticationHandler and FastBindLdapAuthenticationHandler require a Spring ContextSource to provide an LDAP connection on which to perform authentication operations.

<bean id="contextSource" class="">
  <!-- DO NOT enable JNDI pooling for context sources that perform LDAP bind operations. -->
  <property name="pooled" value="false"/>

    Although multiple URLs may defined, it's strongly recommended to avoid this configuration
    since the implementation attempts hosts in sequence and requires a connection timeout
    prior to attempting the next host, which incurs unacceptable latency on node failure.
    A proper HA setup for LDAP directories should use a single virtual host that maps to multiple
    real hosts using a hardware load balancer.
  <property name="url" value="ldaps://" />

    Manager credentials are only required if your directory does not support anonymous searches.
    Never provide these credentials for FastBindLdapAuthenticationHandler since the user's
    credentials are used for the bind operation.
  <property name="userDn" value="manager"/>
  <property name="password" value="your_manager_password"/>

  <!-- Place JNDI environment properties here. -->
  <property name="baseEnvironmentProperties">
      <!-- Three seconds is an eternity to users. -->
      <entry key="com.sun.jndi.ldap.connect.timeout" value="3000" />
      <entry key="" value="3000" />

      <!-- Explained at -->
      <entry key="" value="simple" />

SSL Considerations

  • Make sure LDAP is connecting over SSL by using the ldaps protocol in the url above. The default ldaps port is 636. Failing to do so will generate LDAP authentication exceptions with the error code 49.
  • Please note that the JVM needs to trust the certificate of your SSL enabled LDAP server, else CAS will refuse to connect to your LDAP server. You can add the LDAP server's certificate to the JVM trust store ($JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/security/cacerts by default) to solve that issue.JVM will throw "unable to find valid certification path to requested target" exception when it doesn't find certificate sent by ldap server into keystore. There is a nice open source utility called available from Sun which can add certificate returned by ldap server into your JVM keystore, use that to solve this problem.

Connection Pooling

The use of PoolingContextSource is strongly recommended in cases where it is supported. This component uses commons-pool object pooling and has performance characteristics suitable for HA environments. This is in stark contrast to the JNDI pooling feature enabled by com.sun.jndi.ldap.connect.pool=true that uses a strategy that will incur unacceptable latency in the case of LDAP node failure.

Connection pooling is supported for BindLdapAuthenticationHandler as of CAS 3.4.9. The searchContextSource property of BindLdapAuthenticationHandler may reference a ContextSource other than the one used for binds and is an ideal opportunity to leverage LDAP connection pooling for improved performance.

Sample Pooled ContextSource
<bean id="pooledContextSource"
  p:contextSource-ref="contextSource" />

<bean id="dirContextValidator"
  <property name="searchControls">
    <bean class=""
      p:returningAttributes="" />

The following property values should serve as a reasonable starting point for pool tuning. They could simply be put into your file alongside other property values. 

Sample Pool Configuration Properties

# Maximum time in ms to wait for connection to become available
# under pool exhausted condition.

# == Evictor configuration ==

# Period in ms at which evictor process runs.

# Maximum time in ms at which connections can remain idle before
# they become liable to eviction.

# == Connection testing settings ==

# Set to true to enable connection liveliness testing on evictor
# process runs.  Probably results in best performance.

# Set to true to enable connection liveliness testing before every
# request to borrow an object from the pool.

Practical Examples

BindLdapAuthenticationHandler without Pooling
<bean class="org.jasig.cas.adaptors.ldap.BindLdapAuthenticationHandler"
  p:contextSource-ref="contextSource" />
BindLdapAuthenticationHandler with Pooling (3.4.9 and Above)
<bean class="org.jasig.cas.adaptors.ldap.BindLdapAuthenticationHandler"
  p:searchContextSource-ref="pooledContextSource" />
Typical Active Directory Configuration
<bean class="org.jasig.cas.adaptors.ldap.BindLdapAuthenticationHandler"
  p:ignorePartialResultException="true" />
Integration with authenticationManager Bean in deployerConfigContext.xml
<bean id="authenticationManager"
  <property name="credentialsToPrincipalResolvers">
      <ref bean="usernameCredentialsResolver" />
      <bean class="org.jasig.cas.authentication.principal.HttpBasedServiceCredentialsToPrincipalResolver" />

  <property name="authenticationHandlers">
        | This is the authentication handler that authenticates services by means of callback via SSL, thereby validating
        | a server side SSL certificate.
      <bean class=""
        p:httpClient-ref="httpClient" />

    <bean class="org.jasig.cas.adaptors.ldap.BindLdapAuthenticationHandler"
      p:searchContextSource-ref="pooledContextSource" />

  <property name="authenticationMetaDataPopulators">
        class="org.jasig.cas.authentication.SamlAuthenticationMetaDataPopulator" />
DIGEST-MD5 Configuration
<bean id="saslMd5ContextSource"
  <property name="baseEnvironmentProperties">
      <entry key="com.sun.jndi.ldap.connect.timeout" value="3000" />
      <entry key="" value="3000" />
      <entry key="" value="DIGEST-MD5" />

<!-- Note the unusual form of the filter; DIGEST-MD5 uses a bare username for a credential -->
<bean id="saslMd5FastBindAuthHandler"

LDAP Attributes

There are cases where it is necessary to pull additional LDAP attributes (Eg. "mail") into the CAS principal (ie. user object). Please see Attributesfor more on this.
One such application is described in Google Apps from MS-AD using the 'mail' attribute

  • No labels