11. Directory Services

FreeNAS® supports integration with these directory services:

FreeNAS® also supports Kerberos Realms, Kerberos Keytabs, and the ability to add more parameters to Kerberos Settings.

This section summarizes each of these services and the available configuration options within the FreeNAS® web interface. After successfully enabling a directory service,  appears in the top toolbar row. Click  to show the Directory Services Monitor menu. This menu shows the name and status of each directory service.

11.1. Active Directory

Active Directory (AD) is a service for sharing resources in a Windows network. AD can be configured on a Windows server that is running Windows Server 2000 or higher or on a Unix-like operating system that is running Samba version 4. Since AD provides authentication and authorization services for the users in a network, it is not necessary to recreate the same user accounts on the FreeNAS® system. Instead, configure the Active Directory service so account information and imported users can be authorized to access the SMB shares on the FreeNAS® system.

Many changes and improvements have been made to Active Directory support within FreeNAS®. It is strongly recommended to update the system to the latest FreeNAS® 11.3 before attempting Active Directory integration.

Ensure name resolution is properly configured before configuring the Active Directory service. ping the domain name of the Active Directory domain controller from Shell on the FreeNAS® system. If the ping fails, check the DNS server and default gateway settings in Network ➞ Global Configuration on the FreeNAS® system.

By default, Allow DNS updates in the Active Directory options is enabled. This adds FreeNAS® SMB ‘Bind IP Addresses’ DNS records to the Active Directory DNS when the domain is joined. Disabling Allow DNS updates means that the Active Directory DNS records must be updated manually.

Active Directory relies on Kerberos, a time-sensitive protocol. During the domain join process the PDC emulator FSMO role server is added as the preferred NTP server. The time on the FreeNAS® system and the Active Directory Domain Controller cannot be out of sync by more than five minutes in a default Active Directory environment. An Alert is sent when the time is out of sync.

To ensure both systems are set to the same time:

  • use the same NTP server (set in System ➞ NTP Servers on the FreeNAS® system)
  • set the same timezone
  • set either localtime or universal time at the BIOS level

Figure 11.1.1 shows Directory Services ➞ Active Directory settings.


Fig. 11.1.1 Configuring Active Directory

Table 11.1.1 describes the configurable options. Some settings are only available in Advanced Mode. Click the ADVANCED MODE button to show the Advanced Mode settings. Go to System ➞ Advanced and set the Show advanced fields by default option to always show advanced options.

Table 11.1.1 Active Directory Configuration Options
Setting Value Advanced Mode Description
Domain Name string   Name of the Active Directory domain (example.com) or child domain (sales.example.com). This field is mandatory. Save will be inactive until valid input is entered. Hidden when a Kerberos Principal is selected.
Domain Account Name string   Name of the Active Directory administrator account. This field is mandatory. Save will be inactive until valid input is entered. Hidden when a Kerberos Principal is selected.
Domain Account Password string   Password for the Active Directory administrator account. Required the first time a domain is configured. After initial configuration, the password is not needed to edit, start, or stop the service.
Encryption Mode drop-down Choices are Off, SSL (LDAPS protocol port 636), or TLS (LDAP protocol port 389). See http://info.ssl.com/article.aspx?id=10241 and https://hpbn.co/transport-layer-security-tls/ for more information about SSL and TLS.
Certificate drop-down menu

Select the Active Directory server certificate if SSL connections are used. If a certificate does not exist, create a Certificate Authority, then create a certificate on the Active Directory server. Import the certificate to the FreeNAS® system using the Certificates menu.

To clear a saved certificate, choose the blank entry and click SAVE.

Validate Certificate checkbox Check server certificates in a TLS session.
Verbose logging checkbox Set to log attempts to join the domain to /var/log/messages.
Allow Trusted Domains checkbox Do not set this unless the network has active domain/forest trusts and managing files on multiple domains is required. Setting this option generates more winbindd traffic and slows down filtering with user and group information. If enabled, also configuring the idmap ranges and a backend for each trusted domain in the environment is recommended.
Use Default Domain checkbox Unset to prepend the domain name to the username. Unset to prevent name collisions when Allow Trusted Domains is set and multiple domains use the same username.
Allow DNS updates checkbox Set to enable Samba to do DNS updates when joining a domain.
Disable FreeNAS Cache checkbox Disable caching AD users and groups. Setting this hides all AD users and groups from web interface drop-down menus and auto-completion suggestions, but manually entering names is still allowed. This can help when unable to bind to a domain with a large number of users or groups.
Site Name string Auto-detected site name. Do not change this unless the detected site name is incorrect for the particular AD environment.
Kerberos Realm drop-down menu Select the realm created using the instructions in Kerberos Realms.
Kerberos Principal drop-down menu Select a keytab created using the instructions in Kerberos Keytabs. Selecting a principal hides the Domain Account Name and Domain Account Password fields. An existing account name is not overwritten by the principal.
Computer Account OU string The OU in which new computer accounts are created. The OU string is read from top to bottom without RDNs. Slashes (/) are used as delimiters, like Computers/Servers/NAS. The backslash (\) is used to escape characters but not as a separator. Backslashes are interpreted at multiple levels and might require doubling or even quadrupling to take effect. When this field is blank, new computer accounts are created in the Active Directory default OU.
AD Timeout integer Increase the number of seconds before timeout if the AD service does not immediately start after connecting to the domain.
DNS Timeout integer Increase the number of seconds before a timeout occurs if AD DNS queries timeout.
Idmap backend drop-down menu and Edit Idmap button Choose the backend to map Windows security identifiers (SIDs) to UNIX UIDs and GIDs. See Table 11.1.2 for a summary of the available backends. Click Edit Idmap to configure the selected backend.
Windbind NSS Info drop-down menu Choose the schema to use when querying AD for user/group information. rfc2307 uses the RFC2307 schema support included in Windows 2003 R2, sfu is for Services For Unix 3.0 or 3.5, and sfu20 is for Services For Unix 2.0.
SASL wrapping drop-down menu Choose how LDAP traffic is transmitted. Choices are plain (plain text), sign (signed only), or seal (signed and encrypted). Windows 2000 SP3 and newer can be configured to enforce signed LDAP connections.
Enable checkbox   Activate the Active Directory service.
Netbios Name string Name for the computer object generated in AD. Limited to 15 characters. Automatically populated with the original hostname of the system. This must be different from the Workgroup name.
NetBIOS alias string Limited to 15 characters.

Table 11.1.2 summarizes the backends which are available in the Idmap backend drop-down menu. Each backend has its own man page that gives implementation details.

Changing idmap backends automatically refreshes the windbind resolver cache by sending SIGHUP (signal hang up) to the parent windbindd process. To find this parent process, start an SSH session with the FreeNAS® system and enter service samba_server status. To manually send the SIGHUP, enter kill -HUP pid, where pid is the parent process ID.

Table 11.1.2 ID Mapping Backends
Value Description
ad AD server uses RFC2307 or Services For Unix schema extensions. Mappings must be provided in advance by adding the uidNumber attributes for users and gidNumber attributes for groups in the AD.
autorid Similar to rid, but automatically configures the range to be used for each domain, so there is no need to specify a specific range for each domain in the forest. The only needed configuration is the range of UID or GIDs to use for user and group mappings and an optional size for the ranges.
ldap Stores and retrieves mapping tables in an LDAP directory service. Default for LDAP directory service.
nss Provides a simple means of ensuring that the SID for a Unix user is reported as the one assigned to the corresponding domain user.
rfc2307 IDs for AD users stored as RFC2307 ldap schema extensions. This module can either look up the IDs in the AD LDAP servers or an external (non-AD) LDAP server.
rid Default for AD. Requires an explicit idmap configuration for each domain, using disjoint ranges where a writeable default idmap range is to be defined, using a backend like tdb or ldap.
script Stores mapping tables for clustered environments in the winbind_cache tdb.
tdb Default backend used by winbindd for storing mapping tables.

REBUILD DIRECTORY SERVICE CACHE immediately refreshes the web interface directory service cache. This occurs automatically once a day as a cron job.

If there are problems connecting to the realm, verify the settings do not include any disallowed characters. Active Directory does not allow $ characters in Domain or NetBIOS names. The length of those names is also limited to 15 characters. The Administrator account password cannot contain the $ character. If a $ exists in the domain administrator password, kinit reports a “Password Incorrect” error and ldap_bind reports an “Invalid credentials (49)” error.

It can take a few minutes after configuring the Active Directory service for the AD information to be populated to the FreeNAS® system. Once populated, the AD users and groups will be available in the drop-down menus of the Permissions screen of a dataset.

The Active Directory users and groups that are imported to the FreeNAS® system are shown by typing commands in the FreeNAS® Shell:

  • View users: wbinfo -u
  • View groups: wbinfo -g

In addition, wbinfo -m shows the domains and wbinfo -t tests the connection. When successful, wbinfo -t shows a message similar to:

checking the trust secret for domain YOURDOMAIN via RPC calls succeeded

To manually check that a specified user can authenticate, open the Shell and enter smbclient// -U DOMAIN\username, where SHARE is the SMB share name, DOMAIN is the name of the trusted domain, and username is the user account for authentication testing.

getent passwd and getent group can provide more troubleshooting information if no users or groups are listed in the output.


Sometimes network users do not appear in the drop-down menu of a Permissions screen but the wbinfo commands display these users. This is typically due to the FreeNAS® system taking longer than the default ten seconds to join Active Directory. Increase the value of AD timeout to 60 seconds.

To change a certificate, enable Advanced Mode, set the Encryption Mode to Off, then disable AD by unchecking Enable. Click SAVE. Select the new Certificate, set the Encryption Mode as desired, check Enable to re-enable AD, and click SAVE to restart AD.

11.1.1. Leaving the Domain

A Leave Domain button appears on the service dialog when a domain is connected. To leave the domain, click the button and enter credentials with privileges sufficient to permit leaving.

11.1.2. Troubleshooting Tips

When running AD in a 2003/2008 mixed domain, this forum post has instructions to prevent the secure channel key from becoming corrupt.

Active Directory uses DNS to determine the location of the domain controllers and global catalog servers in the network. Use host -t srv _ldap._tcp.domainname.com to determine the SRV records of the network and change the weight and/or priority of the SRV record to reflect the fastest server. More information about SRV records can be found in the Technet article How DNS Support for Active Directory Works.

The realm used depends on the priority in the SRV DNS record. DNS can override the system Active Directory settings. When unable to connect to the correct realm, check the SRV records on the DNS server.

An expired password for the administrator account will cause kinit to fail. Ensure the password is still valid and double-check the password on the AD account being used does not include any spaces, special symbols, and is not unusually long.

If the Windows server version is lower than 2008 R2, try creating a Computer entry on the Windows server Organizational Unit (OU). When creating this entry, enter the FreeNAS® hostname in the name field. Make sure it is under 15 characters, the same name as the one set in the Hostname field in Network ➞ Global Configuration, and the same NetBIOS alias in Directory Service ➞ Active Directory ➞ Advanced settings.

If the cache becomes out of sync due to an AD server being taken off and back online, resync the cache using Directory Service ➞ Active Directory ➞ REBUILD DIRECTORY SERVICE CACHE.

If any of the commands fail or result in a traceback, create a bug report at https://bug.ixsystems.com. Include the commands in the order in which they were run and the exact wording of the error message or traceback.

11.2. LDAP

FreeNAS® includes an OpenLDAP client for accessing information from an LDAP server. An LDAP server provides directory services for finding network resources such as users and their associated permissions. Examples of LDAP servers include Microsoft Server (2000 and newer), Mac OS X Server, Novell eDirectory, and OpenLDAP running on a BSD or Linux system. If an LDAP server is running on the network, configure the FreeNAS® LDAP service so network users can authenticate to the LDAP server and have authorized access to the data stored on the FreeNAS® system.


LDAP authentication for SMB shares is disabled unless the LDAP directory has been configured for and populated with Samba attributes. The most popular script for performing this task is smbldap-tools. The LDAP server must support SSL/TLS and the certificate for the LDAP server CA must be imported with System ➞ CAs ➞ Import CA. Non-CA certificates are not currently supported.


Apple’s Open Directory is an LDAP-compatible directory service into which FreeNAS® can be integrated. The forum post FreeNAS with Open Directory in Mac OS X environments has more information.

Figure 11.2.1 shows the LDAP Configuration section from Directory Services ➞ LDAP.


Fig. 11.2.1 Configuring LDAP

Table 11.2.1 summarizes the available configuration options. Some settings are only available in Advanced Mode. Click the ADVANCED MODE button to show the Advanced Mode settings. Go to System ➞ Advanced and set the Show advanced fields by default option to always show advanced options.

Those new to LDAP terminology should read the OpenLDAP Software 2.4 Administrator’s Guide.

Table 11.2.1 LDAP Configuration Options
Setting Value Advanced Mode Description
Hostname string   LDAP server hostnames or IP addresses. Separate entries with an empty space. Multiple hostnames or IP addresses can be entered to create an LDAP failover priority list. If a host does not respond, the next host in the list is tried until a new connection is established.
Base DN string   Top level of the LDAP directory tree to be used when searching for resources (Example: dc=test,dc=org).
Bind DN string   Administrative account name on the LDAP server (Example: cn=Manager,dc=test,dc=org).
Bind Password string   Password for the Bind DN. Click SHOW/HIDE PASSWORDS to view or obscure the password characters.
Allow Anonymous Binding checkbox Instruct the LDAP server to disable authentication and allow read and write access to any client.
Kerberos Realm drop-down menu The realm created using the instructions in Kerberos Realms.
Kerberos Principal drop-down menu The location of the principal in the keytab created as described in Kerberos Keytabs.
Encryption Mode drop-down menu

Options for encrypting the LDAP connection:

  • OFF: do not encrypt the LDAP connection.
  • ON: encrypt the LDAP connection with SSL on port 636.
  • START_TLS: encrypt the LDAP connection with STARTTLS on the default LDAP port 389.
Certificate drop-down menu Certificate to use when performing LDAP certificate-based authentication. To configure LDAP certificate-based authentication, create a Certificate Signing Request for the LDAP provider to sign. A certificate is not required when using username/password or Kerberos authentication.
Validate Certificate checkbox Verify certificate authenticity.
Disable LDAP User/Group Cache checkbox Disable caching LDAP users and groups in large LDAP environments. When caching is disabled, LDAP users and groups do not appear in dropdown menus, but are still accepted when manually entered.
LDAP timeout integer Increase this value in seconds if obtaining a Kerberos ticket times out.
DNS timeout integer Increase this value in seconds if DNS queries timeout.
Idmap Backend drop-down menu Backend used to map Windows security identifiers (SIDs) to UNIX UIDs and GIDs. See Table 11.1.2 for a summary of the available backends. To configure the selected backend, click EDIT IDMAP.
Samba Schema checkbox Set if LDAP authentication for SMB shares is required and the LDAP server is already configured with Samba attributes.
Auxiliary Parameters string Additional options for sssd.conf(5).
Schema drop-down menu If Samba Schema is set, select the schema to use. Choices are rfc2307 and rfc2307bis.
Enable checkbox   Unset to disable the configuration without deleting it.

LDAP users and groups appear in the drop-down menus of the Permissions screen of a dataset after configuring the LDAP service. Type getent passwd in the FreeNAS® Shell to verify the users have been imported. Type getent group to verify the groups have been imported.

If the users and groups are not listed, refer to Common errors encountered when using OpenLDAP Software for common errors and how to fix them. When troubleshooting LDAP, open the FreeNAS® Shell and look for error messages in /var/log/auth.log.

To clear LDAP users and groups from FreeNAS®, go to Directory Services ➞ LDAP, clear the Hostname field, unset Enable, and click SAVE. Confirm LDAP users and groups are cleared by going to the Shell and viewing the output of the getent passwd and getent group commands.

11.3. NIS

The Network Information Service (NIS) maintains and distributes a central directory of Unix user and group information, hostnames, email aliases, and other text-based tables of information. If an NIS server is running on the network, the FreeNAS® system can be configured to import the users and groups from the NIS directory.

Click the Rebuild Directory Service Cache button if a new NIS user needs immediate access to FreeNAS®. This occurs automatically once a day as a cron job.


In Windows Server 2016, Microsoft removed the Identity Management for Unix (IDMU) and NIS Server Role. See Clarification regarding the status of Identity Management for Unix (IDMU) & NIS Server Role in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview and beyond.

Figure 11.3.1 shows the Directory Services ➞ NIS section. Table 11.3.1 summarizes the configuration options.


Fig. 11.3.1 NIS Configuration

Table 11.3.1 NIS Configuration Options
Setting Value Description
NIS domain string Name of NIS domain.
NIS servers string Comma-delimited list of hostnames or IP addresses.
Secure mode checkbox Set to have ypbind(8) refuse to bind to any NIS server not running as root on a TCP port over 1024.
Manycast checkbox Set to have ypbind to bind to the server that responds the fastest. This is useful when no local NIS server is available on the same subnet.
Enable checkbox Unset to disable the configuration without deleting it.

11.4. Kerberos Realms

A default Kerberos realm is created for the local system in FreeNAS®. Directory Services ➞ Kerberos Realms can be used to view and add Kerberos realms. If the network contains a Key Distribution Center (KDC), click ADD to add the realm. The configuration screen is shown in Figure 11.4.1.


Fig. 11.4.1 Adding a Kerberos Realm

Table 11.4.1 summarizes the configurable options. Some settings are only available in Advanced Mode. To see these settings, either click ADVANCED MODE or configure the system to always display these settings by setting Show advanced fields by default in System ➞ Advanced.

Table 11.4.1 Kerberos Realm Options
Setting Value Advanced Mode Description
Realm string   Name of the realm.
KDC string Name of the Key Distribution Center.
Admin Server string Server where all changes to the database are performed.
Password Server string Server where all password changes are performed.

11.5. Kerberos Keytabs

Kerberos keytabs are used to do Active Directory or LDAP joins without a password. This means the password for the Active Directory or LDAP administrator account does not need to be saved into the FreeNAS® configuration database, which is a security risk in some environments.

When using a keytab, it is recommended to create and use a less privileged account for performing the required queries as the password for that account will be stored in the FreeNAS® configuration database. To create the keytab on a Windows system, use the ktpass command:

ktpass.exe /out freenas.keytab /princ http/useraccount@EXAMPLE.COM /mapuser useraccount /ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL /crypto ALL /pass userpass


  • freenas.keytab is the file to upload to the FreeNAS® server.
  • useraccount is the name of the user account for the FreeNAS® server generated in Active Directory Users and Computers.
  • http/useraccount@EXAMPLE.COM is the principal name written in the format host/user.account@KERBEROS.REALM. By convention, the kerberos realm is written in all caps, but make sure the case used for the Kerberos Realm matches the realm name. See this note about using /princ for more details.
  • userpass is the password associated with useraccount.

Setting /crypto to ALL allows using all supported cryptographic types. These keys can be specified instead of ALL:

  • DES-CBC-CRC is used for compatibility.
  • DES-CBC-MD5 adheres more closely to the MIT implementation and is used for compatibility.
  • RC4-HMAC-NT uses 128-bit encryption.
  • AES256-SHA1 uses AES256-CTS-HMAC-SHA1-96 encryption.
  • AES128-SHA1 uses AES128-CTS-HMAC-SHA1-96 encryption.

This will create a keytab with sufficient privileges to grant tickets.

After the keytab is generated, add it to the FreeNAS® system using Directory Services ➞ Kerberos Keytabs ➞ Add Kerberos Keytab.

To instruct the Active Directory service to use the keytab, select the installed keytab using the drop-down Kerberos Principal menu in Directory Services ➞ Active Directory Advanced Mode. When using a keytab with Active Directory, make sure that username and userpass in the keytab matches the Domain Account Name and Domain Account Password fields in Directory Services ➞ Active Directory.

To instruct LDAP to use a principal from the keytab, select the principal from the drop-down Kerberos Principal menu in Directory Services ➞ LDAP Advanced Mode.

11.6. Kerberos Settings

Configure additional Kerberos parameters in the Directory Services ➞ Kerberos Settings section. Figure 11.6.1 shows the fields available:


Fig. 11.6.1 Additional Kerberos Settings

  • Appdefaults Auxiliary Parameters: Define any additional settings for use by some Kerberos applications. The available settings and syntax is listed in the [appdefaults] section of krb.conf(5).
  • Libdefaults Auxiliary Parameters: Define any settings used by the Kerberos library. The available settings and their syntax are listed in the [libdefaults] section of krb.conf(5).