LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and is a networking protocol for searching and modifying directory services.

LDAP is a common protocol to access data that is stored in a central directory services server (database). There are many different directory services servers such as (slapd, IBM Lotus Domino Directory, Microsoft Active Directory, Mozilla Open Directory Project, Novell eDirectory, and others)

Many email address books (like Apple's included "Address Book".app) have built-in LDAP support.


LDAP can be used to access user information that is stored in a directory services server (a database of user details such as name, permissions, email address). That information may include user data and permissions for a complex website, or collaborative address book data.

  • Email users would use LDAP to access a directory service to search for a user's email address.
  • Web application developers would use LDAP in their application designs to centrally store and retrieve authorized user information stored in a directory service via LDAP.

Why? The benefit of a central directory service (user database) is that several web applications could all save time and resources by sharing the same user data.

LDAP at DreamHost

LDAP system packages are installed on all DreamHost servers, however PHP libraries are not. To use LDAP, you would need to manually install a custom version of PHP. During installation, adjust the make file to use the correct location of libldap.so.

LDAP is not suited for Shared Hosting as it uses a lot of CPU resources. VPS or Dedicated Hosting is the best option. If sudo is required during installation, you must upgrade to a Dedicated Server and create an admin user.

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