Using the LdapRecord query builder makes building LDAP queries feel effortless.

It allows you to generate LDAP filters using a fluent and convenient interface, similar to Eloquent in Laravel.

Important: The LdapRecord query builder escapes all fields & values given to its where() methods. There is no need to clean or escape strings before passing them into the query builder.

Creating a new Query

To create a new search query, call the query() method on your Connection instance:

$query = $connection->query();

Or you can chain all your methods if you'd prefer:

$results = $connection->query()->where('cn', '=', 'John Doe')->get();

Important: Querying your LDAP connection manually will return raw LDAP results in a Collection. You must query using models themselves if you would like them to be returned instead.


Important: Fields are case in-sensitive. For example, you can insert CN, cn or cN, they will return the same result.

Selecting only the LDAP attributes you need will increase the speed of your queries.

// Passing in an array of attributes
$query->select(['cn', 'samaccountname', 'telephone', 'mail']);

// Passing in each attribute as an argument
$query->select('cn', 'samaccountname', 'telephone', 'mail');

Executing Searches

Finding a record

If you're trying to find a single record, you must use the find() method and insert the distinguished name of the record you are looking for:

$record = $query->find('cn=John Doe,dc=local,dc=com');

if ($record) {
    // Record was found!
} else {
    // Hmm, looks like we couldn't find anything...

Finding a record (or failing)

If you'd like to try and find a single record and throw an exception when it hasn't been found, use the findOrFail() method:

try {
    $record = $query->findOrFail('cn=John Doe,dc=local,dc=com');
} catch (LdapRecord\Models\ModelNotFoundException $e) {
    // Record wasn't found!

Finding a record by a specific attribute

If you're looking for a single record with a specific attribute, use the findBy() method:

// We're looking for a record with the 'samaccountname' of 'jdoe'.
$record = $query->findBy('samaccountname', 'jdoe');

You can also use findByOrFail() to generate an exception when a record is not found.

Retrieving results

To get the results from a search, simply call the get() method:

$results = $query->select(['cn', 'samaccountname'])->get();

Results will be returned inside of an LdapRecord\Query\Collection instance.

Retrieving the first record

To retrieve the first record of a search, call the first() method:

$record = $query->first();

Results will return the model instance only.

You can also use firstOrFail() to generate an exception when no objects are found.


To limit the results objects returned from your LDAP server and increase the speed of your queries, you can use the limit() method:

// This will only return 5 objects that contain the name of 'John':
$objects = $query->where('cn', 'contains', 'John')->limit(5)->get();


To perform a where clause on the search object, use the where() function:

$query->where('cn', '=', 'John Doe');

This query would look for a record with the common name of 'John Doe' and return the results.

We can also perform a 'where equals' without including the operator:

$query->whereEquals('cn', 'John Doe');

We can also supply an array of key - value pairs to quickly add multiple wheres:

$wheres = [
    'givenname' => 'John',
    'company'   => 'Acme',


Or, if you require conditionals, you can quickly add multiple wheres with nested arrays:

   ['cn', '=', 'John Doe'],
   ['manager', '!', 'Suzy Doe'],

All Operators

Here is a list of all supported operators:

$query->where('field', '=', 'value'); // "Equals" clause

$query->where('field', '!', 'value'); // "Not equals" clause
// Alias for above.
$query->where('field', '!=', 'value');

$query->where('field', '*'); // "Has" clause

$query->where('field', '!*'); // "Does not have" clause

$query->where('field', '>=', 'value'); // "Greater than or equal to" clause

$query->where('field', '<=', 'value'); // "Less than or equal to" clause

$query->where('field', '~=', 'value'); // "Approximately equal to" clause

$query->where('field', 'starts_with', 'value');

$query->where('field', 'not_starts_with', 'value');

$query->where('field', 'ends_with', 'value');

$query->where('field', 'not_ends_with', 'value');

$query->where('field', 'contains', 'value');

$query->where('field', 'not_contains', 'value');

Important: The operators "greater than (>)" or "less than (<)" are not supported in LDAP. You must use the "greater than or equal to (>=)" or "less than or equal to (<=)" operators.

Where Starts With

We could also perform a search for all objects beginning with the common name of 'John' using the starts_with operator:

$results = $query->where('cn', 'starts_with', 'John')->get();

// Or:

$results = $query->whereStartsWith('cn', 'John')->get();

Where Ends With

We can also search for all objects that end with the common name of Doe using the ends_with operator:

$results = $query->where('cn', 'ends_with', 'Doe')->get();

// Or:

$results = $query->whereEndsWith('cn', 'Doe')->get();

Where Between

To search for objects between two values, use the whereBetween method.

For the example below, we'll retrieve all objects that were created between two dates:

$from = (new DateTime('October 1st 2016'))->format('YmdHis.0\Z');
$to = (new DateTime('January 1st 2017'))->format('YmdHis.0\Z');

$users = $query->whereBetween('whencreated', [$from, $to])->get();

Where Contains

We can also search for all objects with a common name that contains John Doe using the contains operator:

$results = $query->where('cn', 'contains', 'John Doe')->get();

// Or:

$results = $query->whereContains('cn', 'John Doe')->get();

Where Not Contains

You can use a 'where not contains' to perform the inverse of a 'where contains':

$results = $query->where('cn', 'not_contains', 'John Doe')->get();

// Or:

$results = $query->whereNotContains('cn', 'John Doe');

Where Has

Or we can retrieve all objects that have a common name attribute using the wildcard operator (*):

$results = $query->where('cn', '*')->get();

// Or:

$results = $query->whereHas('cn')->get();

This type of filter syntax allows you to clearly see what your searching for.

Where Not Has

You can use a 'where not has' to perform the inverse of a 'where has':

$results = $query->where('cn', '!*')->get();

// Or:

$results = $query->whereNotHas($field)->get();

Where Deleted

To retrieve only deleted models from your LDAP server, use the whereDeleted method:

$results = $query->whereDeleted()->get();

If you would like to include deleted models from your LDAP server in your query results, use the withDeleted method:

$results = $query->withDeleted()->get();

Or Wheres

To perform an or where clause on the search object, use the orWhere() method.

For example:

$results = $query->where('cn', '=', 'John Doe')
                 ->orWhere('cn', '=', 'Suzy Doe')

This query will return objects that have the common name of John Doe or Suzy Doe.

You can also use all where methods as an or where, for example: orWhereHas(), orWhereContains(), orWhereStartsWith(), orWhereEndsWith()

Dynamic Wheres

To perform a dynamic where, simply suffix a where with the field you're looking for.

This feature was directly ported from Laravel's Eloquent.

Here's an example:

// This query:
$result = $query->where('cn', '=', 'John Doe')->first();

// Can be converted to:
$result = $query->whereCn('John Doe')->first();

You can perform this on any attribute:

$result = $query->whereTelephonenumber('555-555-5555')->first();

You can also chain them:

$result = $query->whereTelephonenumber('555-555-5555')
                ->whereGivenname('John Doe')

You can even perform multiple dynamic wheres by separating your fields by an And:

// This would perform a search for a user with the
// first name of 'John' and last name of 'Doe'.
$result = $query->whereGivennameAndSn('John', 'Doe')->first();

Nested Filters

By default, the LdapRecord query builder automatically wraps your queries in and / or filters for you. However, if any further complexity is required, nested filters allow you to construct any query fluently and easily.


The andFilter method accepts a closure which allows you to construct a query inside of an and LDAP filter:

// Creates the filter: (&(givenname=John)(sn=Doe))
$results = $query->andFilter(function (LdapRecord\Query\Builder $q) {
    $q->where('givenname', '=', 'John')
      ->where('sn', '=', 'Doe');

The above query would return objects that contain the first name John and the last name Doe.


The orFilter method accepts a closure which allows you to construct a query inside of an or LDAP filter:

// Creates the filter: (|(givenname=John)(sn=Doe))
$results = $query->orFilter(function (LdapRecord\Query\Builder $q) {
    $q->where('givenname', '=', 'John')
      ->where('sn', '=', 'Doe');

The above query would return objects that contain the first name John or the last name Doe.


The notFilter method accepts a closure which allows you to construct a query inside a not LDAP filter:

// Creates the filter: (!(givenname=John)(sn=Doe))
$results = $query->notFilter(function (LdapRecord\Query\Builder $q) {
    $q->where('givenname', '=', 'John')
      ->where('sn', '=', 'Doe');

The above query would return objects that do not contain the first name John or the last name Doe.

Complex Nesting

The above methods andFilter / orFilter can be chained together and nested as many times as you'd like for larger complex queries:

$query = $query->orFilter(function (LdapRecord\Query\Builder $q) {
    $q->where('givenname', '=', 'John')->where('sn', '=', 'Doe');
})->andFilter(function (LdapRecord\Query\Builder $q) {
    $q->where('department', '=', 'Accounting')->where('title', '=', 'Manager');

echo $query; // Returns '(&(|(givenname=John)(sn=Doe))(&(department=Accounting)(title=Manager)))'

Raw Filters

Raw filters are not escaped. Do not accept user input into the raw filter method.

Sometimes you might just want to add a raw filter without using the query builder. You can do so by using the rawFilter() method:

$results = $query->rawFilter('(samaccountname=jdoe)')->get();

// Or use an array
$filters = [

$results = $query->rawFilter($filters)->get();

// Or use multiple arguments
$results = $query->rawFilter($filters[0], $filters[1])->get();

// Multiple raw filters will be automatically wrapped into an `and` filter:
$query = $query->getUnescapedQuery();

echo $query; // Returns (&(samaccountname=jdoe)(surname=Doe))


Paginating your search results will allow you to return more results than your LDAP cap (usually 1000).

For example, if your LDAP server contains 10,000 objects and you paginate by 1000, 10 queries will be executed.

Calling paginate() will retrieve all objects from your LDAP server for the current query. Be careful with large result sets -- as you may run out of memory. Use chunking with large directories to avoid this.

// Perform global "all" search, paginating by 1000 objects:
$results = $query->paginate(1000);

foreach ($results as $result) {


Chunking your search results will prevent you from running out of memory when executing pagination requests on large directories.

The chunk method executes a paginated request indentically to the above paginate method, except it will return each "page" of objects, passing them into a closure for processing.

// Perform global "all" search, chunking by 1000 objects:
$query->chunk(1000, function ($entries) {
    foreach ($entries as $entry) {


Important: Your LDAP server must support Virtual List View.

Slicing your search results allows you to retrieve only a particular set of results based on an offset, similar to a database offset. This helps in dramatically reducing memory usage and query execution time. However, there are some caveats to be aware of:

  • You must provide an "order by" clause (via $query->orderBy()) prior to executing slice(). If one is not present on the query builder, then LdapRecord will sort by the cn attribute in an ascending manor. This is required for the LDAP server to process the VLV request.
  • Your query must search less than 10,000 total records (this is a configurable limit in Active Directory).
$query = $connection->query();

$slice = $query->slice($page = 1, $perPage = 100): \LdapRecord\Query\Slice;

$slice->items(): array|\LdapRecord\Query\Collection;

$slice->total(): int;

$slice->perPage(): int;

$slice->currentPage(): int;

$slice->hasMorePages(): bool;

$slice->hasPages(): bool;

$slice->onFirstPage(): bool;

$slice->onLastPage(): bool;

$slice->isEmpty(): bool;

$slice->isNotEmpty(): bool;


To add an LDAP_CONTROL_SORTREQUEST control to the LDAP query to indicate to the LDAP server to sort the search results, you may use the orderBy() method:

// Sort by the common name in ascending order:
$results = $query->orderBy('cn')->get();

// Sort by the common name in descending order:
$results = $query->orderBy('cn', 'desc')->get();

// Sort by the common name in descending order (alias):
$results = $query->orderByDesc('cn')->get();

Base DN

To set the base DN of your search you can use one of two methods:

// Using the `in()` method:
$results = $query->in('ou=Accounting,dc=local,dc=com')->get();

// Using the `setDn()` method:
$results = $query->setDn('ou=Accounting,dc=local,dc=com')->get();

Either option will return the same results. Use which ever method you prefer to be more readable.

Automatic Base DN Substitution

Since your LDAP configuration contains your connection's base DN, LdapRecord can automatically substitute it into the setDn(), in(), or find() methods using a {base} replacement template string.

For example, if our configuration contains the base_dn of dc=local,dc=com, we can insert {base} alongside the other RDN's of the LDAP DN we are looking for:

// Queries for "ou=Accounting,dc=local,dc=com"
$results = $query->setDn('ou=Accounting,{base}')->get();

// Alias for the above.
$results = $query->in('ou=Accounting,{base}')->get();

// Queries for "ou=John Doe,ou=Users,dc=local,dc=com"
$object = $query->find('cn=John Doe,ou=Users,{base}');

This helps reduce the possibility for error and also allows you to use a single source of truth for your base DN.

Root DSE

To fetch the Root DSE object in your directory, execute the below query:

$rootDse = $query->query()

Or, if you're using models:

use LdapRecord\Models\Entry;

$rootDse = Entry::getRootDse();

Search Options


By default, all searches performed are recursive. This means that all nested entries of the base DN will be searched.

If you'd like to disable recursive search and perform a single level search, use the list() method:

$result = $query->list()->get();

This would perform an ldap_list() operation.


If you'd like to perform a read instead of a list or a recursive search, use the read() method:

Performing a read() will always return one record in your result.

$result = $query->read()->where('objectClass', '*')->get();

This would perform an ldap_read() operation.

Search / Recursive

If you'd like to perform a recursive search, use the search() (or recursive()) method:

This is only useful if you've switched a query builder to a list() or read(), as by default all queries are recursive.

$result = $query->search()->get();

// Or:

$result = $query->recursive()->get();

This would perform an ldap_search() operation.

Custom Controls

If you'd like to add server controls to your query, use the addControl method:

$result = $query->addControl('1.2.840.113556.1.4.417', $isCritical = true)->get();

Retrieving the ran query

If you'd like to retrieve the current query to save or run it at another time, use the getQuery() method on the query builder.

This will return the escaped filter.

$query = $query->where('cn', '=', 'John Doe')->getQuery();

echo $query; // Returns '(cn=\4a\6f\68\6e\20\44\6f\65)'

To retrieve the unescaped filter, call the getUnescapedQuery() method:

$query = $query->where('cn', '=', 'John Doe')->getUnescapedQuery();

echo $query; // Returns '(cn=John Doe)'

Now that you know how to search your directory, lets move onto creating / modifying LDAP objects.

Generated on June 28, 2024
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