The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP, is an application protocol for querying and modifying directory services running over TCP/IP.
A directory is a set of objects with similar attributes organized in a logical and hierarchical manner.
The most common example is the telephone directory, which consists of a series of names (either of persons or organizations) organized alphabetically, with each name having an address and phone number attached. Due to this basic design (among other factors) LDAP is often used by other services for authentication, despite the security problems this causes.
An LDAP directory tree often reflects various political, geographic, and/or organizational boundaries, depending on the model chosen. LDAP deployments today tend to use Domain name system (DNS) names for structuring the topmost levels of the hierarchy.
Deeper inside the directory might appear entries representing people, organizational units, printers, documents, groups of people or anything else which represents a given tree entry (or multiple entries).
Its current version is LDAPv3, which is specified in a series of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Standard Track Requests for comments (RFCs) as detailed in RFC 4510.