LDAP vs Active Directory – Difference between LDAP & Active Directory

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,BUZZ,Services and Applications


LDAP (abbreviation for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) is an open standard, vendor agnostic, an industry-standard protocol for retrieving and maintaining directory information services over the IP network.

Also that LDAP is a protocol which defines the “language” used for client programs to talk to servers (and servers to servers, too). LDAP is a way of speaking to Active Directory.

AD or Active Directory –

AD (Active Directory) is a directory service developed by Microsoft and provides a number of network-related services using standardized protocols. AD optionally supports Kerberos based authentication and supports LDAP versions 2 and 3. Also, it provides DNS based services.


Related – What is Tree in Active Directory

Active Directory provides the ability for the administrator to manage the administration and security tasks from a central location. It stores all information and configuration details in a centralized database.AD manages Windows devices through Group Policy Objects (GPOs).

It is a centralized hierarchical directory database that contains information of all user accounts in the network.

LDAP vs Active Directory –

below table consist of key comparisons & difference in LDAP vs AD –

Abbreviation for
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
Active Directory
An application protocol for querying and modifying items in directory service providers like Active Directory, which supports a form of LDAP.
Active Directory is a database based system that provides authentication, directory, policy, and other services in a Windows environment. It is a centralized hierarchical directory database which contains information of all user accounts in the network.
LDAP is one of the protocols you can use to communicate with Active directory
AD is a directory services database
LDAP is a standard
AD is Microsoft's proprietary
Supported platforms
Focused on the Linux / Unix environment.
Microsoft’s AD is largely a directory for Windows users, devices, and applications

Download this LDAP vs Active Directory difference table here.





Related – Active Directory vs Domain Controller


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