Models: Getting Started


The LdapRecord ORM provides a beautiful and simple ActiveRecord implementation for working with your LDAP server. Each "Model" represents a type of LDAP object that resides in your directory.

Models allow you query your directory as well as create, update, and delete records.

Before getting started, ensure you've added at least one connection to the container.

By default, there are models included with LdapRecord for popular LDAP directories (namely Active Directory & OpenLDAP) so you can get up and running as fast as possible. More on this below.

Defining Models

To get started, you must create a new class that represents the LDAP object you would like to query.

For example, let's create a model that represents Active Directory users:


use LdapRecord\Models\Model;

class User extends Model
    public static $objectClasses = [

As you can see above, we must add a public static property that contains the object classes of the LDAP record.

These object classes are used to locate the proper objects in your LDAP directory.

If you do not provide any object classes, global directory searches will be performed when retrieving models.

Predefined Models

LdapRecord comes with many predefined models that allow you to get started right away.

You may extend these built-in models and add your own methods & functionality, as well as override built-in functionality.

Entry Model

Use the LdapRecord\Models\Entry model for retrieving all objects from your directory - regardless of type.

Active Directory Models

Each below model references a type of object in Active Directory.


OpenLDAP Models


FreeIPA Models


Don't see a model for the LDAP server you're using? Create a pull request!


By default, all models you create will try to use your default LDAP connection that resides in the connection container. To set your model to use an alternate connection, define a $connection property equal to the name of your other connection.


use LdapRecord\Models\Model;

class User extends Model
    protected $connection = 'domain-b';

Distinguished Names

To get an objects full distinguished name call the getDn method:

$user = User::find('cn=user,dc=local,dc=com');

// Returns 'cn=user,dc=local,dc=com'

To get an objects relative distinguished name, call the getRdn method:

$user = User::find('cn=user,dc=local,dc=com');

// Returns 'cn=user'

To get an objects parent distinguished name, call the getParentDn method:

$user = User::find('cn=user,dc=local,dc=com');

// Returns 'dc=local,dc=com'

To get an objects name, call the getName method:

$user = User::find('cn=user,dc=local,dc=com');

// Returns 'user'

Object GUIDs

To retrieve a models Object GUID (globally unique identifier) call the getConvertedGuid method.

This method will return the string variant of your models GUID. Some LDAP directories (namely Active Directory) use hexadecimal byte arrays to store these, so conversion is necessary.

$user = User::find('cn=user,dc=local,dc=com');


To retrieve the raw GUID value, use the getObjectGuid method.

By default, LdapRecord models will use the objectguid attribute in the above methods. If your directory stores GUIDs in a different attribute, define a $guidKey attribute inside of your model:

class User extends Model
    protected $guidKey = 'entryuuid';

Default Attribute Values

If you would like to define the default values for some of your model's attributes, you may define an $attributes property on your model. This helps you to assign static default values when creating objects in your directory:

Due to LDAP's multi-valued nature, each attribute value you define must be an array, regardless if it is single-valued or or multi-valued.

class User extends Model
    protected $attributes = [
        'company' => ['Acme'],
        'description' => ['User Account'],
        'manager' => ['cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org']

Retrieving Models

Once you've created an LdapRecord model you're ready to start retrieving data from your directory. If you've used Laravel's Eloquent ORM, you'll feel right at home.

You can think of a model as a powerful query builder allowing you to query your directory for objects fluently and easily.


$users = User::get();

foreach ($users as $user) {

Adding Constraints

Each model serves as a query builder for the object classes you've defined inside. You can add constraints to your queries and then call get() to retrieve the results.


$users = User::whereStartsWith('cn', 'John')
            ->whereEndsWith('sn', 'Doe')

Since models are query builders, it's a good idea to review the query builder methods so you can utilize them to their full potential.

Model Constraints

Models come with some built in constraint methods that you may find useful.

The below constraints will only retrieve the models that are equal to the type you have retrieved. For example, retrieving the descendants of an organizational unit will only return organizational units that are direct descendants.

If you would like to avoid this, use the default LdapRecord\Models\Entry model, which provides no objectclass constraints on queries.


To retrieve the direct ancestors of a model, call the ancestors() constraint on a retrieved model:

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=Accountants,ou=Users,dc=local,dc=com');

$ancestors = $ou->ancestors()->get();

The above example will execute a listing on your LDAP directory in the distinguished name dc=local,dc=com. This effectively pulls the ancestors of the model.


To retrieve the siblings of a model, call the siblings() constraint on a retrieved model:

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=Accountants,ou=Users,dc=local,dc=com');

$siblings = $ou->siblings()->get();

The above example will execute a listing on your LDAP directory in the distinguished name ou=Users,dc=local,dc=com. This effectively pulls the siblings of the model. The current model will also be included in the resulting collection.


To retrieve the descendants of a model, call the descendants() constraint on a retrieved model:

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=Accountants,ou=Users,dc=local,dc=com');

$descendants = $ou->descendants()->get();

The above example will execute a listing on your LDAP directory in the distinguished name ou=Accountants,ou=Users,dc=local,dc=com. This effectively pulls the descendants of the model.

Refreshing Models

To re-retrieve a new model from your directory, call the fresh() method. Doing so will not affect the existing instance you already have:

$user = User::where('cn', '=', 'jdoe')->first();

$freshUser = $user->fresh();

If you would like to re-retrieve the existing model, call the refresh() method. This will re-retrieve the models attributes from the directory:

$user = User::where('cn', '=', 'jdoe')->first();



When you query your models, returned results will be contained inside of a LdapRecord\Query\Collection. The Collection class directly extends Laravel's collection. Be sure to check out its documentation for all of the available helpful methods.


$users = User::get();

$usersWithEmail = $users->filter(function (User $user) {
    return $user->hasAttribute('mail');

Retrieving Single Models

If you would like to retrieve a single model from your directory, you can utilize a variety of methods. Here is a list and usage of each:

findBy($attributeName, $attributeValue)
// Retrieve the first model of a global LDAP search...
$user = User::first();

// Retrieve a model by its distinguished name...
$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Retrieve the first model that matches the attribute...
$user = User::findBy('cn', 'John Doe');

// Retrieve the first model that matches an array of ANR attributes...
$user = User::findByAnr('John Doe');

// Retrieve a model by its object guid...
$user = User::findByGuid('bf9679e7-0de6-11d0-a285-00aa003049e2');

Not Found Exceptions

Occasionally you may want to throw an exception if a specific record you're looking for cannot be found on your directory. You can substitute the above methods with OrFail() variants:

findByOrFail($attributeName, $attributeValue)
try {
    // Retrieve the first model of a global LDAP search or fail...
    $user = User::firstOrFail();

    // Retrieve a model by its distinguished name or fail...
    $user = User::findOrFail('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

    // Retrieve the first model that matches the attribute or fail...
    $user = User::findByOrFail('cn', 'John Doe');

    // Retrieve the first model that matches an array of ANR attributes or fail...
    $user = User::findByAnrOrFail('John Doe');

    // Retrieve a model by its object guid or fail...
    $user = User::findByGuidOrFail('bf9679e7-0de6-11d0-a285-00aa003049e2');
} catch (\LdapRecord\Models\ModelNotFoundException $e) {
    // One of the models could not be located...

Creating & Updating Models


Before we begin it is paramount to know that LDAP objects require a Distinguished Name to be created successfully in your LDAP directory. LdapRecord will always attempt to generate a Distinguished Name for models that do not have one upon save. In addition, some LDAP objects require more attributes to be set for successful creation.

For example, to create a User object in Active Directory, the cn (Common Name) attribute is required. If you do not set this attribute, an exception will be thrown upon saving your LDAP model. For another example, OrganizationlUnit's must have the ou attribute set.

LdapRecord cannot validate this for you as LDAP objects differ widely in their attribute requirements.

To create a new record in your directory, create a new model instance and call the save() method. Upon calling save(), if no Distinguished Name is set on a new model, one will be generated based on your configured base_dn that you have set inside your connections configuration:

$conn = new Connection([
    // ...
    'base_dn' => 'dc=local,dc=com',


$user = new User();

$user->cn = 'John Doe';

// User will be saved with the DN: 'cn=John Doe,dc=local,dc=com

Dynamic Distinguished Name Generation

LdapRecord generates a models distinguished name via the model method getCreatableRdn. This method is responsible for generating the "Relative Distinguished Name" which is the true name of the object inside of your LDAP directory that does not include your base Distinguished Name.

Since most LDAP objects require a Common Name (cn) this is defaulted to:

 * Get a creatable RDN for the model.
 * @return string
public function getCreatableRdn()
    $name = $this->escape($this->getFirstAttribute('cn'))->dn();

    return "cn=$name";

As you can see above, the attribute is escaped before being passed into the RDN string. You must do this, otherwise if commas or other reserved characters are inside the attribute you are using, it will generate a malformed distinguished name.

You may override this method to allow your models Distinguished Name's to be dynamically generated rather than creating them yourself manually. For example, here is how we would set the Relative Distinguished Name (RDN) for an Active Directory OrganizationalUnit model:

public function getCreatableRdn()
    $name = $this->escape($this->getFirstAttribute('ou'))->dn();

    return "ou=$name";

This then gets prepended onto your connections configured base_dn, for a resulting "Full" Distinguished Name:


You may set the base DN of where you would like the object to be created inside by using the inside() method, rather than your base_dn from your configuration:

$user = new User(['cn' => 'John Doe']);



You may also pass in an LdapRecord Model instance. This is convenient so you know the container / organizational unit distinguished name is valid:

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::findOrFail('ou=Users,dc=acme,dc=org');

$user = new User(['cn' => 'John Doe']);


The above examples will save the user inside the Users OU resulting in the full distinguished name:

cn=John Doe,ou=Users,dc=acme,dc=org

Setting A Distinguished Name

To set the models distinguished name, call the setDn() method on your model and populate it with any organization unit or container that you would like it to be created inside:

$user = new User();

$user->cn = 'John Doe';

$user->setDn('cn=John Doe,ou=Users,dc=acme,dc=org');



Updating models is as easy as creating them. When you have a model returned from a query, set its attributes as you would for creating and call the save() method:

$user = User::first();

$user->company = 'My Company';
$user->samaccountname = 'jdoe';
$user->department = 'Accounting';
$user->displayname = 'Johnathan Doe';



To move existing models into Organizational Units or Containers, call the move() method:

When moving a model is successful, the users distinguished name will be automatically updated to reflect its new location in your directory, so you may continue to run operations on it during the same request.

$user = User::find('cn=Steve Bauman,dc=local,dc=com');

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=Office Users,dc=local,dc=com');


// Displays 'cn=Steve Bauman,ou=Office Users,dc=local,d=com'
echo $user->getDn();


To rename existing models, call the rename() method and supply the new objects RDN (relative distinguished name):

When renaming is successful, the users distinguished name is automatically updated to reflect its new name in the directory, so you may run further operations on it during the same request.

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=local,dc=com');

$user->rename('cn=Jane Doe');

// Displays 'cn=Jane Doe,dc=local,dc=com'
echo $user->getDn();

Restoring Deleted Models

Important: This feature is only possible when connecting to an Active Directory server.

To restore a deleted object, we must first query the directory for deleted objects by using the whereDeleted method:

use LdapRecord\LdapRecordException;
use LdapRecord\Models\ActiveDirectory\User;

$user = User::whereDeleted()
            ->where('mail', '=', '')

try {

    // Successfully restored user.
} catch (LdapRecordException $ex) {
    // Failed restoring user.

If you're including deleted results in your queries using the withDeleted clause, you can call the isDeleted method to check if an object has been deleted:

$users = User::withDeleted()->get();

foreach ($users as $user) {
    if ($user->isDeleted()) {

If you call restore on a non-deleted object, it will simply return false:

$user = User::where('cn', '=', 'Steve Bauman')->first();

$result = $user->restore();

// Displays bool(false)



There are several built-in methods on models you may like to utilize:


The getAttributes method returns all of the values on the model:

$user = User::first();

$attributes = $user->getAttributes();

foreach ($attributes as $name => $values) {

In the above example, $values will always be an array.


The getAttribute method returns all of the values inside the given key. This will return an array if the attribute exists:

$group = Group::first();

$members = $group->getAttribute('member');

if ($members) {
    foreach ($members as $member) {
        echo $member;


The getFirstAttribute method returns the first value of the given key. This will always return null or string:

$group = Group::first();

$firstMember = $group->getFirstAttribute('member');


The hasAttribute method determines whether the model contains the key in the models attributes:

$user = User::first();

if ($user->hasAttribute('company')) {

Model::addAttributeValue($name, $value)

To add a value to an attribute without clearing it, use the addAttributeValue method:

$user = User::first();

$user->addAttributeValue('proxyaddresses', '');


The countAttributes method returns the number of attributes the model contains:

$user = User::first();

echo $user->countAttributes();

Array Conversion

Attributes you retrieve from an LdapRecord model will always return and array. This is due to LDAP's multi-valued nature.

For example, if you would like to retrieve the users mail attribute, you must request the first key from it:

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Get the users email address.
echo $user->mail[0] ?? null;

Or if you'd prefer, use the getFirstAttribute() method:

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Get the users email address.
echo $user->getFirstAttribute('mail');

When setting attributes on models, they will automatically be converted to an array for you if you do not provide one.

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Both approaches will set the attribute identically:
$user->mail = '';
$user->mail = [''];

Similarly, you can use the setFirstAttribute() method to set the attributes first value in its array, even if it does not currently exist on the model:

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Set the users email address.
$user->setFirstAttribute('mail', '');

Determining Attribute Existence

To check if a model has an attribute, you can use the hasAttribute() method:

if ($user->hasAttribute('mail')) {
    // This user has an email address.

As with all other attribute methods, this check is case-insensitive. You may pass any type of casing of the attribute you are looking for:

// Both will return 'true':

Casing & Hyphens

Attribute Casing

LdapRecord automatically normalizes all attribute keys to lowercase. This means when setting or getting model attributes, you can use alternate casing and the same attribute will be set or retrieved.

This is extremely handy so you do not have to look up the casing of each attribute every time you want to set or retrieve one. This also means you can use your own attribute convention:

$user = new User();

// Each will set the same attribute:
$user->samaccountname = 'John Doe';
$user->sAMAccountName = 'John Doe';
$user->samAccountName = 'John Doe';

Attribute Hyphens

Since LDAP does not support underscores in LDAP attributes but does support using hyphens, anytime you would like to set an attribute that contains a hypen, set it using an underscore instead. LdapRecord will automatically convert the underscore to a hyphen dynamically:

$user = new User();

$user->some_attribute = 'Value';

Similarly, when retrieving attributes that contain a hyphen, use an underscore instead:

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Each method below will act identically:
echo $user->some_attribute[0];
echo $user->getAttribute('some-attribute')[0];
echo $user->getFirstAttribute('some-attribute');

Deleting Models

To delete a record from your directory, call the delete() method on a model you have retrieved:


$user = User::first();


The account you have configured to bind to your LDAP server must have permission to delete the record you have retrieved. If it does not, you will receive an exception upon deletion.

Deleting Models By Distinguished Name

In the example above, we are retrieving the record from the directory prior to deletion. However, if you'd like to simply delete a model by its distinguished name, call the destroy() method. The number of deleted models will be returned from this method:


// Deleting single object...
$deleted = User::destroy('cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org');

// Deleting multiple objects...
$deleted = User::destroy([
    'cn=John Doe,dc=acme,dc=org',
    'cn=Jane Doe,dc=acme,dc=org',

You may also pass in true into the second parameter to recursively delete leaf entries if a record is located by the distinguished name you have given.

Recursive Deleting

Sometimes you will be working with containers or organizational units that contain nested records inside of them. Calling delete() on these records will generate an exception without first deleting the records inside. If you would like to delete all records contained inside of another model, pass in true in the first parameter of the delete() method:


$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=Users,dc=acme,dc=org');

$ou->delete($recursive = true);

Comparing Models

If you ever need to compare to models to see if they are the same, call the the is() method. This method will determine if the models have the same distinguished name and connection:

if ($user->is($anotherUser)) {

To see if a model is contained inside an organizational unit or another type of container, call the isDescendantOf() method:

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');
$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');

if ($user->isDescendantOf($ou)) {
    // This user is contained inside this organizational unit.

You may also want to know whether a model is an ancestor of another. To do so, call the isAncestorOf() method:

$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');
$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');

if ($ou->isAncestorOf($user)) {
    // This OU is an ancestor of this user.

Calling isDescendantOf() or isAncestorOf() performs recursive checks. If a model is contained in a nested OU / container of the one you are checking, the methods will return true.

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');
$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,ou=Accounting,ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');

// This will return true:
if ($user->isDescendantOf($ou)) {

// This will return true:
if ($ou->isAncestorOf($user)) {

To perform non-recursive checks, such as checking if a model is a direct child of another model, call the isChildOf method:

$ou = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');
$user = User::find('cn=John Doe,ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');

if ($user->isChildOf($ou)) {

To perform the opposite, such as checking if a model is a parent of another, call the isParentOf method:

$officeOu = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=Office,ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');
$userAccountsOu = OrganizationalUnit::find('ou=User Accounts,dc=acme,dc=org');

if ($userAccountsOu->isParentOf($officeOu)) {


LdapRecord models fire several different event during the creation, updating and deletion. Here is a list of all the events you can listen for:


To listen for these events, call the getEventDispatcher() on the LdapRecord\Container to retrieve the dispatcher, then call listen() on the returned dispatcher:


$dispatcher = \LdapRecord\Container::getEventDispatcher();

$dispatcher->listen(\LdapRecord\Models\Events\Creating::class, function ($event) {
    $model = $event->getModel();

You will want to setup any listeners prior to making changes to models, otherwise your listener will not be executed due to them not existing yet.


All model instances can be converted to an array for JSON serialization. To serialize a model instance, simply pass the model into json_encode(). This calls jsonSerialize() on the model to retrieve is serializable data:


$user = User::first();

echo json_encode($user);

Hiding Attributes

You may want to exclude certain attributes from being included in the serialization of your model, such as userPassword for OpenLDAP.

To do this, add a $hides property to your model:

use LdapRecord\Models\Model;

class User extends Model
    protected $hides = ['userPassword'];

Now when you json_encode($model), all attributes will be included except the userPassword attribute.

If you'd prefer a white-list of attributes, you can add a $visible property instead, which will ensure only the attributes specified will be included in serialization:

use LdapRecord\Models\Model;

class User extends Model
    protected $visible = ['cn', 'mail', 'sn'];

Converting Attributes to JSON

Depending on the type of LDAP directory and model you are working with, you may need to convert some attributes to a string before it can be properly serialized. For example, if you your model is from Active Directory, you will need to convert the objectguid property to a string since it is in binary, otherwise json_encode() will throw an exception.

This can be done by adding a convertAttributesForJson() method to your model:

By default, the objectguid and objectsid attributes are converted for you when using the built-in Active Directory models.


use LdapRecord\Models\Model;

class User extends Model
    protected function convertAttributesForJson(array $attributes = [])
        if ($this->hasAttribute('objectguid')) {
            // If the model has a GUID set, we need to convert it due to it being in
            // binary. Otherwise we will receive a JSON serialization exception.
            return array_replace($attributes, [
                'objectguid' => [$this->getConvertedGuid()]

        return $attributes;
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