Skip to main content

Utility to manage SSH public keys stored in LDAP.

Project description

[![Build Status](]( [![Code Climate](]( [![version](](

This project provides an utility to manage SSH public keys stored in LDAP and also a script for OpenSSH server to load authorized keys from LDAP.


When you have dozen of servers it becomes difficult to manage your authorized keys. You have to copy all your public keys to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on every server you want to login to. And what if you someday change your keys?

It’s a good practice to use some kind of a centralized user management, usually an LDAP server. There you have user’s login, uid, e-mail, … and password. What if we could also store public SSH keys on LDAP server? With this utility it’s easy as pie.


If you need just a lightweight utility for OpenSSH server to load authorized keys from LDAP, then you can use [ssh-getkey-ldap]( written in Lua or [this one]( written in POSIX shell (but it requires ldapsearch utility and may not work well on some systems).


  • Python 3.4+ or 2.7+
  • [pyldap] (or [python-ldap])
  • [docopt]

You can install both Python modules from PyPI. pyldap (and python-ldap) requires additional system dependencies – OpenLDAP. Refer to [Stack Overflow]( for distribution-specific information.


### PyPI:

pip install ssh-ldap-pubkey

### Alpine Linux

apk add ssh-ldap-pubkey

Note: The package is currently in the (official) _community_ repository; make sure that you have community in /etc/apk/repositories.


List SSH public keys stored in LDAP for the current user:

ssh-ldap-pubkey list

List SSH public keys stored in LDAP for the specified user:

ssh-ldap-pubkey list -u flynn

Add the specified SSH public key for the current user to LDAP:

ssh-ldap-pubkey add ~/.ssh/

Remove SSH public key(s) of the current user that matches the specified pattern:

ssh-ldap-pubkey del flynn@grid

Specify LDAP URI and base DN on command line instead of configuration file:

ssh-ldap-pubkey list -b ou=People,dc=encom,dc=com -H ldaps:// -u flynn

As the LDAP manager, add SSH public key to LDAP for the specified user:

ssh-ldap-pubkey add -D cn=Manager,dc=encom,dc=com -u flynn ~/.ssh/

Show help for other options:

ssh-ldap-pubkey –help


Configuration is read from /etc/ldap.conf — file used by LDAP nameservice switch library and the LDAP PAM module. An example file is included in [etc/ldap.conf][ldap.conf]. The following subset of parameters are used:

  • uri … URI(s) of the LDAP server(s) to connect to, separated by a space. The URI scheme may
    be ldap, or ldaps. Default is ldap://localhost.
  • nss_base_passwd … distinguished name (DN) of the search base.
  • base … distinguished name (DN) of the search base. Used when nss_base_passwd is not set.
  • scope … search scope; _sub_, _one_, or _base_ (default is _sub_).
  • referrals … should client automatically follow referrals returned by LDAP servers (default is _on_)?
  • pam_filter … filter to use when searching for the user’s entry, additional to the login
    attribute value assertion (pam_login_attribute=<login>). Default is _objectclass=posixAccount_.
  • pam_login_attribute … the user ID attribute (default is _uid_).
  • ldap_version … LDAP version to use (default is 3).
  • sasl … enable SASL and specify mechanism to use (currently only GSSAPI is supported).
  • binddn … distinguished name (DN) to bind when reading the user’s entry (default is to bind
  • bindpw … credentials to bind with when reading the user’s entry (default is none).
  • ssl … LDAP SSL/TLS method; _off_, _on_, or _start_tls_. If you use LDAP over SSL (i.e. URI ldaps://), leave this empty.
  • timelimit … search time limit in seconds (default is 10).
  • bind_timelimit … bind/connect time limit in seconds (default is 10). If multiple URIs are
    specified in _uri_, then the next one is tried after this timeout.
  • tls_cacertdir … path of the directory with CA certificates for LDAP server certificate
  • pubkey_class … objectClass that should be added/removed to/from the user’s entry when adding/removing first/last public key and the pubkey_attr is mandatory for this class. This is needed for the original openssh-lpk.schema (not for the one in this repository). Default is ldapPublicKey.
  • pubkey_attr … name of LDAP attribute used for SSH public keys (default is sshPublicKey).

The only required parameter is nss_base_passwd or _base_, others have sensitive defaults. You might want to define _uri_ parameter as well. These parameters can be also defined/overriden with –bind and –uri options on command line.

For more information about these parameters refer to ldap.conf man page.

Setup OpenSSH server

To configure OpenSSH server to fetch users’ authorized keys from LDAP server:

  1. Make sure that you have installed ssh-ldap-pubkey and ssh-ldap-pubkey-wrapper in /usr/bin with owner root and mode 0755.

  2. Add these two lines to /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

    AuthorizedKeysCommand /usr/bin/ssh-ldap-pubkey-wrapper AuthorizedKeysCommandUser nobody

  3. Restart sshd and check log file if there’s no problem.

Note: This method is supported by OpenSSH since version 6.2-p1 (or 5.3 onRedHat). If you have an older version and can’t upgrade, for whatever weird reason, use [openssh-lpk] patch instead.

Setup LDAP server

Just add the [openssh-lpk.schema] to your LDAP server, or add an attribute named sshPublicKey to any existing schema which is already defined in people entries. That’s all.

Note: Presumably, you’ve already setup your LDAP server for centralized unix users management, i.e. you have the [NIS schema]( and users in LDAP.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Files for ssh-ldap-pubkey, version 1.3.3
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size ssh_ldap_pubkey-1.3.3-py3.7.egg (19.6 kB) File type Egg Python version 1.3.3 Upload date Hashes View
Filename, size ssh-ldap-pubkey-1.3.3.tar.gz (16.1 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing Datadog Datadog Monitoring DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate Facebook / Instagram Facebook / Instagram PSF Sponsor Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Salesforce Salesforce PSF Sponsor Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page