Chapter 6. Logging in to IdM in the Web UI: Using a Kerberos ticket

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Learn more about how to configure your environment to enable Kerberos login to the IdM Web UI and accessing IdM using Kerberos authentication.


6.1. Kerberos authentication in Identity Management

Identity Management (IdM) uses the Kerberos protocol to support single sign-on. Single sign-on authentication allows you to provide the correct user name and password only once, and you can then access Identity Management services without the system prompting for credentials again.

The IdM server provides Kerberos authentication immediately after the installation if the DNS and certificate settings have been configured properly. For details, see Installing Identity Management.

To use Kerberos authentication on hosts, install:

6.2. Using kinit to log in to IdM manually

Follow this procedure to use the kinit utility to authenticate to an Identity Management (IdM) environment manually. The kinit utility obtains and caches a Kerberos ticket-granting ticket (TGT) on behalf of an IdM user.


Only use this procedure if you have destroyed your initial Kerberos TGT or if it has expired. As an IdM user, when logging onto your local machine you are also automatically logging in to IdM. This means that after logging in, you are not required to use the kinit utility to access IdM resources.


  1. To log in to IdM

    • Under the user name of the user who is currently logged in on the local system, use kinit without specifying a user name. For example, if you are logged in as example_user on the local system:

      [example_user@server ~]$ kinit
      Password for example_user@EXAMPLE.COM:
      [example_user@server ~]$

      If the user name of the local user does not match any user entry in IdM, the authentication attempt fails:

      [example_user@server ~]$ kinit
      kinit: Client 'example_user@EXAMPLE.COM' not found in Kerberos database while getting initial credentials
    • Using a Kerberos principal that does not correspond to your local user name, pass the required user name to the kinit utility. For example, to log in as the admin user:

      [example_user@server ~]$ kinit admin
      Password for admin@EXAMPLE.COM:
      [example_user@server ~]$
  2. Optionally, to verify that the login was successful, use the klist utility to display the cached TGT. In the following example, the cache contains a ticket for the example_user principal, which means that on this particular host, only example_user is currently allowed to access IdM services:

    $ klist
    Ticket cache: KEYRING:persistent:0:0
    Default principal: example_user@EXAMPLE.COM
    Valid starting     	Expires            	Service principal
    11/10/2019 08:35:45  	11/10/2019 18:35:45  	krbtgt/EXAMPLE.COM@EXAMPLE.COM

6.3. Configuring the browser for Kerberos authentication

To enable authentication with a Kerberos ticket, you may need a browser configuration.

The following steps help you to support Kerberos negotiation for accessing the IdM domain.

Each browser supports Kerberos in a different way and needs different set up. The IdM Web UI includes guidelines for the following browsers:

  • Firefox
  • Chrome


  1. Open the IdM Web UI login dialog in your web browser.
  2. Click the link for browser configuration on the Web UI login screen.

    A screenshot of the IdM Web UI log in page with empty entry fields for the Username and Password and a blue "Log in" button below those fields. Text to the right of the "Log in" button explains "to log in with Kerberos please make sure you have valid tickets (obtainable via kinit) and configured the browser correctly then click Log in." The URL for the word "configured" has been highlighted.

  3. Follow the steps on the configuration page.

    A screenshot of a web browser with instructions for "Browser Kerberos Setup."

After the setup, turn back to the IdM Web UI and click Log in.

6.4. Logging in to the web UI using a Kerberos ticket

Follow this procedure to log in to the IdM Web UI using a Kerberos ticket-granting ticket (TGT).

The TGT expires at a predefined time. The default time interval is 24 hours and you can change it in the IdM Web UI.

After the time interval expires, you need to renew the ticket:

  • Using the kinit command.
  • Using IdM login credentials in the Web UI login dialog.


  • Open the IdM Web UI.

    If Kerberos authentication works correctly and you have a valid ticket, you will be automatically authenticated and the Web UI opens.

    If the ticket is expired, it is necessary to authenticate yourself with credentials first. However, next time the IdM Web UI will open automatically without opening the login dialog.

    If you see an error message Authentication with Kerberos failed, verify that your browser is configured for Kerberos authentication. See Configuring the browser for Kerberos authentication.

    A screenshot of the IdM Web UI log in screen displaying an error above the empty Username and Password fields. The error message says "Authentication with Kerberos failed."

6.5. Configuring an external system for Kerberos authentication

Follow this procedure to configure an external system so that Identity Management (IdM) users can log in to IdM from the external system using their Kerberos credentials.

Enabling Kerberos authentication on external systems is especially useful when your infrastructure includes multiple realms or overlapping domains. It is also useful if the system has not been enrolled into any IdM domain through ipa-client-install.

To enable Kerberos authentication to IdM from a system that is not a member of the IdM domain, define an IdM-specific Kerberos configuration file on the external system.


  • The krb5-workstation package is installed on the external system.

    To find out whether the package is installed, use the following CLI command:

    # dnf list installed krb5-workstation
    Installed Packages
    krb5-workstation.x86_64    1.16.1-19.el8     @BaseOS


  1. Copy the /etc/krb5.conf file from the IdM server to the external system. For example:

    # scp /etc/krb5.conf

    Do not overwrite the existing krb5.conf file on the external system.

  2. On the external system, set the terminal session to use the copied IdM Kerberos configuration file:

    $ export KRB5_CONFIG=/etc/krb5_ipa.conf

    The KRB5_CONFIG variable exists only temporarily until you log out. To prevent this loss, export the variable with a different file name.

  3. Copy the Kerberos configuration snippets from the /etc/krb5.conf.d/ directory to the external system.
  4. Configure the browser on the external system, as described in Configuring the browser for Kerberos authentication.

Users on the external system can now use the kinit utility to authenticate against the IdM server.

6.6. Web UI login for Active Directory users

To enable Web UI login for Active Directory users, define an ID override for each Active Directory user in the Default Trust View. For example:

[admin@server ~]$ ipa idoverrideuser-add 'Default Trust View'
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