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LDAP Authenticator for JupyterHub





TravisCI (.com) build status Latest PyPI version Latest conda-forge version GitHub Discourse Gitter

Simple LDAP Authenticator Plugin for JupyterHub


You can install it from pip with:

pip install jupyterhub-ldapauthenticator

...or using conda with:

conda install -c conda-forge jupyterhub-ldapauthenticator

Logging people out

If you make any changes to JupyterHub's authentication setup that changes which group of users is allowed to login (such as changing allowed_groups or even just turning on LDAPAuthenticator), you must change the jupyterhub cookie secret, or users who were previously logged in and did not log out would continue to be able to log in!

You can do this by deleting the jupyterhub_cookie_secret file. Note that this will log out all users who are currently logged in.


You can enable this authenticator with the following lines in your

c.JupyterHub.authenticator_class = 'ldapauthenticator.LDAPAuthenticator'

Required configuration

At minimum, the following two configuration options must be set before the LDAP Authenticator can be used:


Address of the LDAP Server to contact. Just use a bare hostname or IP, without a port name or protocol prefix.

LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn or LDAPAuthenticator.bind_dn_template

To authenticate a user we need the corresponding DN to bind against the LDAP server. The DN can be acquired by either:

  1. setting bind_dn_template, which is a list of string template used to generate the full DN for a user from the human readable username, or
  2. setting lookup_dn to True, which does a reverse lookup to obtain the user's DN. This is because ome LDAP servers, such as Active Directory, don't always bind with the true DN.
lookup_dn = False

If lookup_dn = False, then bind_dn_template is required to be a non-empty list of templates the users belong to. For example, if some of the users in your LDAP database have DN of the form uid=Yuvipanda,ou=people,dc=wikimedia,dc=org and some other users have DN like uid=Mike,ou=developers,dc=wikimedia,dc=org where Yuvipanda and Mike are the usernames, you would set this config item to be:

c.LDAPAuthenticator.bind_dn_template = [

Don't forget the preceeding c. for setting configuration parameters! JupyterHub uses traitlets for configuration, and the c represents the config object.

The {username} is expanded into the username the user provides.

lookup_dn = True
c.LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn = True

If bind_dn_template isn't explicitly configured, i.e. the empty list, the dynamically acquired value for DN from the username lookup will be used instead. If bind_dn_template is configured it will be used just like in the lookup_dn = False case.

The {username} is expanded to the full path to the LDAP object returned by the LDAP lookup. For example, on an Active Directory system {username} might expand to something like CN=First M. Last,OU=An Example Organizational Unit,DC=EXAMPLE,DC=COM.

Also, when using lookup_dn = True the options user_search_base, user_attribute, lookup_dn_user_dn_attribute and lookup_dn_search_filter are required, although their defaults might be sufficient for your use case.

Optional configuration


LDAP groups whose members are allowed to log in. This must be set to either empty [] (the default, to disable) or to a list of full DNs that have a member attribute that includes the current user attempting to log in.

As an example, to restrict access only to people in groups researcher or operations,

c.LDAPAuthenticator.allowed_groups = [

All usernames will be checked against this before being sent to LDAP. This acts as both an easy way to filter out invalid usernames as well as protection against LDAP injection attacks.

By default it looks for the regex ^[a-z][.a-z0-9_-]*$ which is what most shell username validators do.


Boolean to specify whether to use SSL encryption when contacting the LDAP server. If it is left to False (the default) LDAPAuthenticator will try to upgrade connection with StartTLS. Set this to be True to start SSL connection.


Port to use to contact the LDAP server. Defaults to 389 if no SSL is being used, and 636 is SSL is being used.


Only used with lookup_dn=True. Defines the search base for looking up users in the directory.

c.LDAPAuthenticator.user_search_base = 'ou=People,dc=example,dc=com'

Only used with lookup_dn=True. Defines the attribute that stores a user's username in your directory.

# Active Directory
c.LDAPAuthenticator.user_attribute = 'sAMAccountName'

# OpenLDAP
c.LDAPAuthenticator.user_attribute = 'uid'

How to query LDAP for user name lookup, if lookup_dn is set to True. Default value '({login_attr}={login})' should be good enough for most use cases.

LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn_search_user, LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn_search_password

Technical account for user lookup, if lookup_dn is set to True. If both lookup_dn_search_user and lookup_dn_search_password are None, then anonymous LDAP query will be done.


Attribute containing user's name needed for building DN string, if lookup_dn is set to True. See user_search_base for info on how this attribute is used. For most LDAP servers, this is username. For Active Directory, it is cn.


If set to True, escape special chars in userdn when authenticating in LDAP. On some LDAP servers, when userdn contains chars like '(', ')', '' authentication may fail when those chars are not escaped.


An optional list of attributes to be fetched for a user after login. If found these will be returned as auth_state.


If set to True (the default) the username used to build the DN string is returned as the username when lookup_dn is True.

When authenticating on a Linux machine against an AD server this might return something different from the supplied UNIX username. In this case setting this option to False might be a solution.


This has been tested against an OpenLDAP server, with the client running Python 3.4. Verifications of this code working well with other LDAP setups are welcome, as are bug reports and patches to make it work with other LDAP setups!

Active Directory integration

Please use following options for AD integration. This is useful especially in two cases:

  • LDAP Search requires valid user account in order to query user database
  • DN does not contain login but some other field, like CN (actual login is present in sAMAccountName, and we need to lookup CN)
c.LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn = True
c.LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn_search_filter = '({login_attr}={login})'
c.LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn_search_user = 'ldap_search_user_technical_account'
c.LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn_search_password = 'secret'
c.LDAPAuthenticator.user_search_base = 'ou=people,dc=wikimedia,dc=org'
c.LDAPAuthenticator.user_attribute = 'sAMAccountName'
c.LDAPAuthenticator.lookup_dn_user_dn_attribute = 'cn'
c.LDAPAuthenticator.escape_userdn = False
c.LDAPAuthenticator.bind_dn_template = '{username}'

In setup above, first LDAP will be searched (with account ldap_search_user_technical_account) for users that have sAMAccountName=login Then DN will be constructed using found CN value.

Configuration note on local user creation

Currently, local user creation by the LDAPAuthenticator is unsupported as this is insecure since there's no cleanup method for these created users. As a result, users who are disabled in LDAP will have access to this for far longer.

Alternatively, there's good support in Linux for integrating LDAP into the system user setup directly, and users can just use PAM (which is supported in not just JupyterHub, but ssh and a lot of other tools) to log in. You can see and lots of other documentation on the web on how to set up LDAP to provide user accounts for your system. Those methods are very widely used, much more secure and more widely documented. We recommend you use them rather than have JupyterHub create local accounts using the LDAPAuthenticator.

Issue #19 provides additional discussion on local user creation.


Did you know?

Socket installs a GitHub app to automatically flag issues on every pull request and report the health of your dependencies. Find out what is inside your node modules and prevent malicious activity before you update the dependencies.


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