Difference Between LDAP and AD A secure and efficient user authentication system is necessary when an enterprise grow…

Difference Between LDAP and AD

A secure and efficient user authentication system is necessary when an enterprise grow in size. Microsoft has introduced the Active Directory. LDAP on the other hand is an application protocol. It is used for directory services. Actually, AD supports authentication based on LDAP.


LDAP is developed by University of Michigan. It is an adaptation of X.5.00 directory system. LDAP is a protocol application which is used by other applications like email programs. LDAP-aware client programs can demand information form a server in different way. The information asked by it resides in directories. LDAP server indexes all the data entries. When one requests for specific information, certain filters are used to find out the desired information. For instance a client can search the information about all the emails addresses of the persons named John living in a particular city. In addition, LDAP can find out encryption certificates and pointers to resources. It can be used for SSO too. LDAP servers are ideal when the data is rarely updated. LDAP server is a public server as well as an organizational server. Public LDAP servers are prone to the threat of spam, so they are no longer popular.


Active Directory of AD is developed by Microsoft. It is a directory service. It provides a number of network services. A variety of standardized protocols are used by it. AD supports the 2 and 3 versions of LDAP. It also supports authentication based on Kerberos. It also provides services based on DNS. AD enables the administrator to manage the security from central location. With the help of AD, an administrator can deploy and update software and can carry out assignment policies. It is scalable directory. It is used in various networks. Companies use it to provide standardized access to applications.

The difference between LDAP and AD

LDAP is an application protocol while AD is a directory service provider. LDAP is used by AD. AD supports authentication based on Kerberos too. AD is developed by Microsoft and is its property and supports windows servers. On the other hand LDAP can support different operating systems.


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