RADIUS plugin


If you want to install the FreeRADIUS Plugin on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or 18.04 LTS, this can be easily done since there is a ready made package available (see FreeRADIUS).

However, it can also be installed on other distributions. The FreeRADIUS plugin is a perl module, that e.g. requires on a Ubuntu/Debian system the following packages to be installed:

  • libconfig-inifiles-perl

  • libdata-dump-perl

  • libtry-tiny-perl

  • libjson-perl

The module itself may be downloaded at 2 and placed at, e.g., /usr/share/privacyidea/freeradius/privacyidea_radius.pm.


Then you need to configure your FreeRADIUS site and the perl module. The latest FreeRADIUS plugin uses the /validate/check REST API of privacyIDEA.

You need to configure the perl module in FreeRADIUS modules/perl to look something like this:

perl {
    module = /usr/share/privacyidea/freeradius/privacyidea_radius.pm

Your freeradius enabled site config should contain something like this:

authenticate {
     Auth-Type Perl {

While you define the default authenticate type to be Perl in the users file:

DEFAULT Auth-Type := Perl


The privacyIDEA module uses other perl modules that were not thread safe in the past. So in case you are using old perl dependencies and are experiencing thread problems, please start FreeRADIUS with the -t switch.


The RADIUS plugin configuration is read from the file /opt/privacyIDEA/rlm_perl.ini.

Starting with version 2.7 the plugin first tries to read from the following locations:

  • /etc/privacyidea/rlm_perl.ini

  • /etc/freeradius/rlm_perl.ini

  • /opt/privacyIDEA/rlm_perl.ini.

If no file exists, the default values are:

URL = https://localhost/validate/check

But it can also look like this:

URL = https://your.server/validate/check
REALM = someRealm
RESCONF = someResolver
SSL_CHECK = true
DEBUG = true

serial = privacyIDEA-Serial

[Mapping user]
group = Class


The default behaviour is to not check the SSL certificate. So in a productive environment where the privacyIDEA system is located on another server than the RADIUS server, you should set “SSL_CHECK = true”.

Radius and Realms

FreeRADIUS also has a notion of realms. In general the RADIUS realms are not necessarily the same as the privacyIDEA realms, but they can be mapped.

A user can authenticate to the FreeRADIUS either with a simple username “fred”, or a username combined with a RADIUS realm in the format like “fred@realm1” or “realm1\fred”.


The format of the realms is defined in /etc/freeradius/modules/realm as “suffix” and “ntdomain”. I.e. you could also change the delimiter. The “suffix” and “ntdomain” is referenced in the authorize section in /etc/freeradius/sites-enabled/privacyidea.

The RADIUS server tries to split the realms according to the definition of “suffix” or “ntdomain”. I.e. a User-Namefred@realmRadius” would be split into Stripped-User-Name “fred” and Realm (RADIUS realm) “realmRadius”. But only if FreeRADIUS can identify “realmRadius” as a RADIUS realm. For FreeRADIUS to identify this as a REALM you need to add this to the file /etc/freeradius/proxy.conf:

realm realmRadius {

Realm processing in FreeRADIUS

A User-Namefred@realmRadius” or “realmRadius\fred” is sent to the FreeRADIUS server.

If “realmRadius” can not be identified as RADIUS realm (missing entry in proxy.conf), then no realm can be split and the complete User-Name will be sent to privacyIDEA for validation. This can work out with “fred@realmRadius”, since privacyIDEA might split the @-sign. But this probably will not work out for “realmRadius\fred”.

If the “realmRadius” can be identified as RADIUS realm (entry in proxy.conf), then FreeRADIUS will split the User-Name into the RADIUS attributes Stripped-User-Name and Realm and the “fred” will be sent as user and “realmRadius” as the realm to privacyIDEA.

This way you can directly map RADIUS realms in the RADIUS user name to realm in privacyIDEA.


If the User-Name could be split into the RADIUS attributes Stripped-User-Name and Realm, then these values are sent to the privacyIDEA server. If the User-Name could not be split (and Stripped-User-Name is empty) then User-Name is sent to the privacyIDEA server.

For a deeper insight take a look at the code https://github.com/privacyidea/FreeRADIUS/blob/master/privacyidea_radius.pm#L276


The NAS-IP-Address is sent as the client parameter to the privacyIDEA server. Using Override Authorization Client you can pass the RADIUS client IP to the privacyIDEA server to perform policies based on the RADIUS client’s IP address.


You can define a realm in /opt/privacyIDEA/rlm_perl.ini. Such a realm definition will override a RADIUS realm in the User-Name.

Mapping privacyIDEA return values to RADIUS Attribute-Value pairs

The plugin can use information from the detail section (see Validate endpoints) of the privacyIDEA response to map these values to arbitrary RADIUS Attribute-Value pairs.

To do this use the [Mapping] section in the rlm_perl.ini file.

Using the Token serial number

In case of a successful authentication privacyIDEA returns the serial number of the token used.

If available (see no_detail_on_success and no_detail_on_fail) the FreeRADIUS server can receive this serial number.

In rlm_perl_ini use:

serial = privacyIDEA-Serial

This will map the detail->serial in the privacyIDEA response and add an attribute privacyIDEA-Serial in your RADIUS response.

To use the privacyIDEA-Serial in the RADIUS response, you need to include the dictionary.netknights in your FreeRADIUS dictionary. You can get it here 1.

Return user attributes

If the authorization policy add_user_in_response is configured the privacyIDEA response contains an additional tree detail->user with user information.

The FreeRADIUS plugin can also map these user information to RADIUS Attribute-Value pairs. Certain VPN systems use RADIUS return values to put users into certain groups to allow access to special sub networks.

If you want to map such user values you need to add a section in rlm_perl.ini:

[Mapping user]
a_user_attribute = any_RADIUS_Attribute_even_vendor_specific

This way you can map any user attribute like name, email, realm, group to any arbitrary RADIUS attribute.

You can also address different sections in the privacyIDEA detail response by changing the keyword in rlm_perl.ini to [Mapping other_section].

Debugging RADIUS

If you need to DEBUG the FreeRADIUS go like this.

Add “DEBUG = true” to /opt/privacyIDEA/rlm_perl.ini. Then stop the FreeRADIUS and run it in debug mode as user root:

/etc/init.d/freeradius stop; freeradius -X

Now you can send requests to the RADIUS server like this:

echo 'User-Name=realm3\\cornelius, User-Password=test' | radclient -s \ auth test

Of course you need to replace the IP of your RADIUS server and the RADIUS secret “test” with your clients secret.