Install FreeIPA Server on RHEL / CentOS 7 - CentLinux


Friday, 27 July 2018

Install FreeIPA Server on RHEL / CentOS 7

Install & Configure FreeIPA Server on CentOS/RHEL 7

FreeIPA is an integrated identity management and authentication solution for Linux / Unix networks. In this article, you will learn how to install and configure an IPA server on RHEL / CentOS 7.


Table of Contents:


What is FreeIPA Server?:

FreeIPA server provides centralized authentication, authorization and account information by storing data about users, groups, hosts and other objects necessary to manage the security aspects of a network of computers.

FreeIPA is built on top of well-known open-source components and standard protocols with a very strong focus on ease of management and automation of installation and configuration tasks.

The 389 Directory Server is the main data store in FreeIPA and provides a full multi-master LDAPv3 directory infrastructure.

Single-Sign-on authentication is provided via the MIT Kerberos KDC (Key Distribution Center).

Authentication capabilities are augmented by an integrated Certificate Authority based on the Dogtag project.

Optionally Domain Names can be managed using the integrated ISC Bind server.

Security aspects related to access control, delegation of administration tasks and other network administration tasks can be fully centralized and managed via the Web UI or the ipa Command Line tool.

Following diagram will give a clear idea of the FreeIPA components and its interoperability.



Here, configurations are performed through Linux CLI (Command Line Interface). Therefore, we strongly recommend you should read The Linux Command Line, 2nd Edition by William Shotts, to develop a strong understanding of RHEL / CentOS commands.


System Specification:

We have a RHEL 7 virtual machine with following specifications.

  • CPU - 2.4 Ghz (2 cores)
  • Memory - 2 GB
  • Storage - 20 GB
  • Operating System - Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7
  • Hostname -
  • IP Address -
  • Gateway -
  • DNS Server -


Installing FreeIPA Server on RHEL / CentOS 7:

FreeIPA Server is included with RHEL / CentOS 7 ISO. Therefore, you need a local yum repository to install it.

You can refer to our previous post to setup a local yum repository using RHEL 7 ISO and you can use it to install FreeIPA server and relevant packages.

# yum install -y ipa-server bind-dyndb-ldap bind


Configuring FreeIPA Server on RHEL / CentOS 7:

Now, configure the FreeIPA Server as follows.

# ipa-server-install --setup-dns The log file for this installation can be found in /var/log/ipaserver-install.log ============================================================================== This program will set up the IPA Server. This includes: * Configure a stand-alone CA (dogtag) for certificate management * Configure the Network Time Daemon (ntpd) * Create and configure an instance of Directory Server * Create and configure a Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC) * Configure Apache (httpd) * Configure DNS (bind) To accept the default shown in brackets, press the Enter key. WARNING: conflicting time&date synchronization service 'chronyd' will be disabled in favor of ntpd Existing BIND configuration detected, overwrite? [no]: yes Enter the fully qualified domain name of the computer on which you're setting up server software. Using the form . Example: Server host name []: Warning: skipping DNS resolution of host The domain name has been determined based on the host name. Please confirm the domain name []: The kerberos protocol requires a Realm name to be defined. This is typically the domain name converted to uppercase. Please provide a realm name [EXAMPLE.COM]: Certain directory server operations require an administrative user. This user is referred to as the Directory Manager and has full access to the Directory for system management tasks and will be added to the instance of directory server created for IPA. The password must be at least 8 characters long. Directory Manager password: Password (confirm): The IPA server requires an administrative user, named 'admin'. This user is a regular system account used for IPA server administration. IPA admin password: Password (confirm): Do you want to configure DNS forwarders? [yes]: Enter the IP address of DNS forwarder to use, or press Enter to finish. Enter IP address for a DNS forwarder: DNS forwarder added Enter IP address for a DNS forwarder: Do you want to configure the reverse zone? [yes]: Please specify the reverse zone name []: Using reverse zone The IPA Master Server will be configured with: Hostname: IP address: Domain name: Realm name: EXAMPLE.COM BIND DNS server will be configured to serve IPA domain with: Forwarders: Reverse zone: Continue to configure the system with these values? [no]: yes The following operations may take some minutes to complete. Please wait until the prompt is returned. Configuring NTP daemon (ntpd) [1/4]: stopping ntpd [2/4]: writing configuration [3/4]: configuring ntpd to start on boot [4/4]: starting ntpd Done configuring NTP daemon (ntpd). Configuring directory server (dirsrv): Estimated time 1 minute [1/38]: creating directory server user [2/38]: creating directory server instance [3/38]: adding default schema [4/38]: enabling memberof plugin [5/38]: enabling winsync plugin [6/38]: configuring replication version plugin [7/38]: enabling IPA enrollment plugin [8/38]: enabling ldapi [9/38]: configuring uniqueness plugin [10/38]: configuring uuid plugin [11/38]: configuring modrdn plugin [12/38]: configuring DNS plugin [13/38]: enabling entryUSN plugin [14/38]: configuring lockout plugin [15/38]: creating indices [16/38]: enabling referential integrity plugin [17/38]: configuring certmap.conf [18/38]: configure autobind for root [19/38]: configure new location for managed entries [20/38]: configure dirsrv ccache [21/38]: enable SASL mapping fallback [22/38]: restarting directory server [23/38]: adding default layout [24/38]: adding delegation layout [25/38]: creating container for managed entries [26/38]: configuring user private groups [27/38]: configuring netgroups from hostgroups [28/38]: creating default Sudo bind user [29/38]: creating default Auto Member layout [30/38]: adding range check plugin [31/38]: creating default HBAC rule allow_all [32/38]: initializing group membership [33/38]: adding master entry [34/38]: configuring Posix uid/gid generation [35/38]: adding replication acis [36/38]: enabling compatibility plugin [37/38]: tuning directory server [38/38]: configuring directory to start on boot Done configuring directory server (dirsrv). Configuring certificate server (pki-tomcatd): Estimated time 3 minutes 30 seconds [1/22]: creating certificate server user [2/22]: configuring certificate server instance [3/22]: stopping certificate server instance to update CS.cfg [4/22]: disabling nonces [5/22]: set up CRL publishing [6/22]: starting certificate server instance [7/22]: creating RA agent certificate database [8/22]: importing CA chain to RA certificate database [9/22]: fixing RA database permissions [10/22]: setting up signing cert profile [11/22]: set certificate subject base [12/22]: enabling Subject Key Identifier [13/22]: enabling CRL and OCSP extensions for certificates [14/22]: setting audit signing renewal to 2 years [15/22]: configuring certificate server to start on boot [16/22]: restarting certificate server [17/22]: requesting RA certificate from CA [18/22]: issuing RA agent certificate [19/22]: adding RA agent as a trusted user [20/22]: configure certificate renewals [21/22]: configure Server-Cert certificate renewal [22/22]: Configure HTTP to proxy connections Done configuring certificate server (pki-tomcatd). Configuring Kerberos KDC (krb5kdc): Estimated time 30 seconds [1/10]: adding sasl mappings to the directory [2/10]: adding kerberos container to the directory [3/10]: configuring KDC [4/10]: initialize kerberos container [5/10]: adding default ACIs [6/10]: creating a keytab for the directory [7/10]: creating a keytab for the machine [8/10]: adding the password extension to the directory [9/10]: starting the KDC [10/10]: configuring KDC to start on boot Done configuring Kerberos KDC (krb5kdc). Configuring kadmin [1/2]: starting kadmin [2/2]: configuring kadmin to start on boot Done configuring kadmin. Configuring ipa_memcached [1/2]: starting ipa_memcached [2/2]: configuring ipa_memcached to start on boot Done configuring ipa_memcached. Configuring ipa-otpd [1/2]: starting ipa-otpd [2/2]: configuring ipa-otpd to start on boot Done configuring ipa-otpd. Configuring the web interface (httpd): Estimated time 1 minute [1/14]: setting mod_nss port to 443 [2/14]: setting mod_nss password file [3/14]: enabling mod_nss renegotiate [4/14]: adding URL rewriting rules [5/14]: configuring httpd [6/14]: setting up ssl [7/14]: setting up browser autoconfig [8/14]: publish CA cert [9/14]: creating a keytab for httpd [10/14]: clean up any existing httpd ccache [11/14]: configuring SELinux for httpd [12/14]: configure httpd ccache [13/14]: restarting httpd [14/14]: configuring httpd to start on boot Done configuring the web interface (httpd). Applying LDAP updates Restarting the directory server Restarting the KDC Restarting the certificate server Configuring DNS (named) [1/11]: adding DNS container [2/11]: setting up our zone [3/11]: setting up reverse zone [4/11]: setting up our own record [5/11]: setting up records for other masters [6/11]: setting up CA record [7/11]: setting up kerberos principal [8/11]: setting up named.conf [9/11]: restarting named [10/11]: configuring named to start on boot [11/11]: changing resolv.conf to point to ourselves Done configuring DNS (named). Global DNS configuration in LDAP server is empty You can use 'dnsconfig-mod' command to set global DNS options that would override settings in local named.conf files Restarting the web server ============================================================================== Setup complete Next steps: 1. You must make sure these network ports are open: TCP Ports: * 80, 443: HTTP/HTTPS * 389, 636: LDAP/LDAPS * 88, 464: kerberos * 53: bind UDP Ports: * 88, 464: kerberos * 53: bind * 123: ntp 2. You can now obtain a kerberos ticket using the command: 'kinit admin' This ticket will allow you to use the IPA tools (e.g., ipa user-add) and the web user interface. Be sure to back up the CA certificate stored in /root/cacert.p12 This file is required to create replicas. The password for this file is the Directory Manager password

Allow aforementioned services and ports through Linux Firewall.

# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service={http,https,ldap,ldaps,dns,kerberos,ntp} ; firewall-cmd --reload success success


Install FTP Server on Linux:

You have to make the CA certificate publicly available, so network clients can download and install it. Therefore, install an Anonymous FTP Server on your Linux operating system.

# yum install -y vsftpd

Start and enable vsftpd service.

# systemctl enable vsftpd && systemctl start vsftpd ln -s '/usr/lib/systemd/system/vsftpd.service' '/etc/systemd/system/'

Allow vsftpd service in Linux firewall.

# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=ftp ; firewall-cmd --reload success success

Copy the CA certificate to the FTP public folder to share it with network clients.

# cp /root/cacert.p12 /var/ftp/pub


Create User on FreeIPA Server:

To add a user we have to obtain a Kerberos ticket first.

# kinit admin Password for admin@EXAMPLE.COM: # klist Ticket cache: KEYRING:persistent:0:0 Default principal: admin@EXAMPLE.COM Valid starting Expires Service principal 07/27/2018 10:51:35 07/28/2018 10:51:32 krbtgt/EXAMPLE.COM@EXAMPLE.COM

You have obtain a Kerberos ticket. You can now run ipa commands.

Set default command shell for users.

# ipa config-mod --defaultshell=/bin/bash Maximum username length: 32 Home directory base: /home Default shell: /bin/bash Default users group: ipausers Default e-mail domain: Search time limit: 2 Search size limit: 100 User search fields: uid,givenname,sn,telephonenumber,ou,title Group search fields: cn,description Enable migration mode: FALSE Certificate Subject base: O=EXAMPLE.COM Password Expiration Notification (days): 4 Password plugin features: AllowNThash SELinux user map order: guest_u:s0$xguest_u:s0$user_u:s0$staff_u:s0-s0:c0.c1023$unconfined_u:s0-s0:c0.c1023 Default SELinux user: unconfined_u:s0-s0:c0.c1023 Default PAC types: MS-PAC, nfs:NONE

Create a user on our FreeIPA Server.

# ipa user-add ahmer --first=ahmer --last=mansoor --password Password: Enter Password again to verify: ------------------ Added user "ahmer" ------------------ User login: ahmer First name: ahmer Last name: mansoor Full name: ahmer mansoor Display name: ahmer mansoor Initials: am Home directory: /home/ahmer GECOS: ahmer mansoor Login shell: /bin/bash Kerberos principal: ahmer@EXAMPLE.COM Email address: UID: 1692200001 GID: 1692200001 Password: True Member of groups: ipausers Kerberos keys available: True


Configuring DNS Server on RHEL / CentOS 7:

FreeIPA uses BIND to provide DNS services. Therefore, you can setup a DNS server for your network as follows.

# ipa dnszone-mod --allow-transfer= Zone name: Authoritative nameserver: Administrator e-mail address: SOA serial: 1532711522 SOA refresh: 3600 SOA retry: 900 SOA expire: 1209600 SOA minimum: 3600 Active zone: TRUE Allow query: any; Allow transfer:;

Add MX and A records of the in DNS Server

# ipa dnsrecord-add @ --mx-rec="0" Record name: @ MX record: 0 NS record: # ipa dnsrecord-add ipaserver --ttl=3600 --a-ip-address= Record name: ipaserver Time to live: 3600 A record: SSHFP record: 1 1 C98798DE70AAF8F555A7C1EC4713A7B0F01F9905, 1 2 25B1928F52075F38A06C67EB8E3DD72D65C4EACF2F7A57F1912DCA83 CD486236, 3 1 5BAEFD0566A4CBEF40C24EC4EAD44371E96BE93B, 3 2 F4A6AAED25D658329C6B5AA865B99B4B87464F90AF547C83A81FF883 C6EAC281

Finally, check the status of FreeIPA services.

# ipactl status Directory Service: RUNNING krb5kdc Service: RUNNING kadmin Service: RUNNING named Service: RUNNING ipa_memcached Service: RUNNING httpd Service: RUNNING pki-tomcatd Service: RUNNING ipa-otpd Service: RUNNING ipa: INFO: The ipactl command was successful

We have successfully installed and configured a FreeIPA server on RHEL / CentOS 7.



In this installation guide, you have learned how to install and configure a Linux based IPA Server by using FreeIPA.


  1. Hello Ahmer i need you help in ipa where i use postfix and dovecot and my client from ipa and i need to add mailQuota tab in GUI when i add user and i need to add more thing some of them in schema and some of them not

    1. Hi, I don't understand your question. Please contact me via Facebook or Linkedin for long discussion.

  2. Assalam o Alaikum ,
    Ahmer , i have a small network setup in which i need to give access to help desk users of network switches and server .
    my passwrod of each switch is same and same is the case with severs..
    if any employee leaves, i have to change every password individually..
    currently i am not using radius server, can you please suggest me an open source solution which can centrally manage all password and easy to manage..?

    1. Walaikum Assalam,
      Try RADIUS or LDAP authentication. Whatever supported by your devices.