Creating a Kerberos Keytab file with ktutil

NOTE: Creating a keytab file is easy enough but I have to refresh myself each time so I thought I would document it in a blog post.


I’m assuming for anyone who is doing this that you have your /etc/krb5.conf in order and that isn’t going to get in your way.

One thing you’re going to want to know is what your permitted and default enctypes and the realm are from this file. In my case I’m going to use aes128-cts-hmac-sha1-96 and my realm is DPE.INTERNAL.

Creating the keytab file

To create the keytab file you’re going to need ktutil (and a number of other kxxxxxx commands)


sudo yum install krb5-workstation


sudo apt-get install krb5-user

Now you have the required programs installed, you can create your keytab file using ktutil.


This will present you with a prompt for you to add the entries in the keytab file

add_entry -password -p user@DPE.INTERNAL -k 1 -e aes256-cts-hmac-sha1-96
Password for user@DPE.INTERNAL: <enter password here>

write_kt user.keytab

Breaking this down, we are saying that we want to add an entry to the keytab using a password for authentication.

The -p is the principal that we will be logging in as using the end file.

The -k refers to the Key Version Number which in some situations isn’t really needed and is ignored (in Windows environment for example). You can get the current Key version number (kvno) by using the kvno command

kvno user@DPE.INTERNAL
user@DPE.INTERNAL: kvno = 1

The -e refers to the enctype mentioned earlier. This needs to be one of those that are permitted in your krb5.conf file so you’re using an accepted and appropriate encryption.

Testing the Key

We can now test the keytab for successfully login

kinit -kt user.keytab user@DPE.INTERNAL

This should exit normally, then we can check we’ve got a ticket using klist


Ticket cache: FILE:/tmp/krb5cc_1000
Default principal: user@DPE.INTERNAL

Valid Starting           Expires                Service principal
01/23/2019 14:27:28      01/24/2019 00:27:28    user@DPE.INTERNAL

To clear out the ticket, you can use kdestroy. This will remove all current authentications.