Combination of authentication schemes

Authentication Users Password


This backend allows one to chain authentication method, for example to failback to LDAP authentication if Remote authentication failed…


You have to use Combination as authentication module (users module must be set to “Same”). Then go in Combination parameters to :

  • declare the modules that will be used
  • set the rule chain

Modules declaration

Each module that will be used in combination rule must be declared. You must set:

  • the name used in the rule (a uniq string)
  • the type (LDAP, DBI,…)
  • the scope:
    • authentication and user DB
    • authentication only
    • user DB only
  • overloaded parameters: you can redefine any LLNG string parameters. For example, if you use 2 different LDAP, the first can use normal configuration and for the second, overwritten parameter can redefine ldapServer,…


To overload parameters, you must select a module, add a parameter and set its value. For example:

Name Type Scope Parameters
DB1 DBI Auth only  
DB2 DBI User DB only dbiAuthChain => “mysql:…”

Usually, you can’t declare two modules of the same type if they don’t have the same parameters. For example, usually you can’t declare a MySQL DBI and a PostgreSQL DBI, because there is no extra field for PostgreSQL parameters. Now with Combination, you can declare some overloaded parameters.

For example, if DBI is configured to use PostgreSQL but DB2 is a MySQL DB, you can override the “dbiChain” parameter.

You can also override a complex key like ldapExportedVars, by setting a JSON value:

{"cn" => "cn", "uid" => "sAMAccounName", "mail" => "mail"}


If your JSON is corrupted, LLNG will use it as string and just report a warning in logs.

Rule chain

Combination allows:

  • to chain schemes (example: [LDAP] and [DBI])
  • to test different schemes (example: [LDAP] or [DBI])
  • to mix schemes (example: [Kerberos,LDAP] or [LDAP,LDAP])
  • to choose authentication scheme depending on some request values

Each scheme must be enclose in []. A comma separates auth and user DB modules. If only one value is set, the same is used for both.

Boolean expression

Remember that schemes in rules are the names declared above.

Example Explanation
[myLDAP] or [myDBI] If myLDAP fails, use myDBI
[mySSL, myLDAP] or [myLDAP, myLDAP] Try mySSL for auth and myLDAP for userDB. If fails, switch to myLDAP for both
[myLDAP] or [myDBI1] or [myDBI2] Try myLDAP, then if it fails, myDBI1, then if it fails myDBI2
[mySSL and myLDAP, myLDAP ] Use mySSL and myLDAP to authentify, myLDAP to get user


Note that “or” can’t be used inside a scheme. If you think to “[mySSL or myLDAP, myLDAP]”, you must write [mySSL, myLDAP] or [myLDAP, myLDAP]

Example Explanation
[myDBI1] and [myDBI2] or [myLDAP] Try myDBI1 and myDBI2, if it fails, try myLDAP
[myDBI1] and [myDBI2] or [myLDAP] and [myDBI2] Try myDBI1 and myDBI2, if it fails, try myLDAP and myDBI2


You can’t use brackets in a boolean expression and “and” has precedence on “or”.

If you think to “( [myLDAP] or [myDBI1] ) and [myDBI2]”, you must write [myLDAP] and [myDBI2] or [myDBI1] and [myDBI2]


Test can use only the $env variable. It contains the FastCGI environment variables.

Example Explanation
if($env->{REMOTE_ADDR} =~ /^10\./) then [myLDAP] else [mySSL, myLDAP] If user doesn’t come from network, use SSL as authentication module
if($env->{REMOTE_ADDR} =~ /^10\./) then [myLDAP] else if($env->{REMOTE_ADDR} =~ /^192/) then [myDBI1] else [myDBI2] Chain tests


Note that brackets can’t be used except to enclose test.

If you wants to write if(...) then if..., you must write if(not ...) then ... else if(...)...

Let’s be crazy

The following rule is valid:

if($env->{REMOTE_ADDR} =~ /^192\./) then [mySSL, myLDAP] or [myLDAP] else [myLDAP and myDBI, myLDAP]

Combine second factor

Imagine you want to authenticate users either by SSL or LDAP+U2F, you can’t directly write this rule: this is done in 2 steps:

  • use this combination rule: [SSL,LDAP] or [LDAP]
  • enable U2F with this rule: $_auth eq "LDAP" or $_authenticationLevel < 4 (and adapt U2F authentication level)

Now if you want to authenticate users either by LDAP or LDAP+U2F (to have 2 different authentication level), 2 possibilities:

  • configure 2 portals and overwrite U2F activation in the second
  • Modify login template to propose the choice (add a “submit” button that points to the second portal)

Display multiple forms

Combination module returns the form corresponding to the first authentication scheme available for the current request. You can force it to display the forms chosen using combinationForms in lemonldap-ng.ini. Example:

combinationForms = standardform, openidform

Known problems

Federation protocols

SAML, OpenID-Connect, CAS or old OpenID can’t be chained with a “and” for authentication part. So “[SAML] and [LDAP]” isn’t valid. This is because their authentication kinematic don’t use the same steps.

Bad expression Solution Explanation
[SAML] and [LDAP] [SAML, SAML and LDAP] Authentication is done by SAML only but user must match an LDAP entry
[SAML] and [LDAP] or [LDAP] [SAML, SAML and LDAP] or [LDAP] Authentication is done by SAML or LDAP but user must match an LDAP entry

Auth::Apache authentication

When using this module, LL::NG portal will be called only if Apache does not return “401 Authentication required”, but this is not the Apache behaviour: if the auth module fails, Apache returns 401. So it can be used only with a “and” boolean expression.


The new Kerberos authentication module solve this for Kerberos: you just have to use it instead of Apache and enable authentication by Ajax in Kerberos parameters.

Example: [ Apache and LDAP, LDAP ]

To bypass this, follow the documentation of AuthApache module

SSL authentication

To chain SSL, you have to set “SSLRequire optional” in Apache configuration, else users will be authenticated by SSL only.

Migrating from Multi

Old Multiple backends stack implemented only `if` and `or` keywords. Examples:

Multi expressions Combination
LDAP;DBI [myLDAP] or [myDBI]
DBI $ENV{REMOTE_ADDR}=~/^192/;LDAP $ENV{REMOTE_ADDR}!~/^192/ if $env->{REMOTE_ADDR} then [myDBI] else [myLDAP]