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Creating a captive portal with Zentyal 3

What is a captive portal? When you attach your wifi to a public wifi in Starbucks, at a Hotel, in the airport and it needs a login and password, that is a captive portal, it opens and puts you on an enclosed monitored Wifi network. These can be useful in offices where users would like to put their mobile devices onto Wifi rather than use their own 3G..

Zentyal is a Linux Small Business server based on Ubuntu and provides you with a simple web based interface for setting up many different types of service a small business might need. In doing so presents the user with a nice simple view of the  same thing you could do on an Ubuntu server without the fuss of a command line.

To create the captive portal you will need a PC with 2 network cards, one going to the wifi router/gateway and one which attaches to the Broadband connection. And you will need a basic understanding of IP Addressing, default gateways and routing.

Source for Instructions:

Configuring a captive portal with Zentyal

Through the Captive Portal menu you can access the Zentyal’s captive portal configuration.

_images/main.pngCaptive portal configuration


If you define a group, only users belonging to it will be allowed to access through the captive portal. By default access is allowed to all registered users.

HTTP port and HTTPS port

You can find the web redirection service under HTTP port, and the registration portal in HTTPS port. Zentyal will automatically redirect the web requests to the registration portal, located in https://ip_address:https_port/

Captive interfaces

Here you can find a list of all the internal network interfaces. The captive portal will limit the access to the interfaces that are checked in this list.

You can also see a form that allows you to limit the bandwidth to a given amount over a given time interval. To use this option, you have to have the module Bandwidth Monitor installed and enabled. If you have enabled a limit, after enabling the captive limit over one of the interfaces, the Bandwidth Monitor will also be enabled over the same interface. You can see the configuration and reports going to Network ‣ Bandwidth Monitor.


You can set up exceptions to the captive portal, so that certain Objects or Services will be able to access the external network without having to pass through the log-in forms.

_images/exceptions.pngExceptions to the captive portal

List of Users

The Current users tab contains a list of the users which are currently registered in the captive portal.

_images/userslist.pngCurrent users

The following information for each user is available:


Name of the registered user.

IP address

IP address of the user

Bandwidth use (Optional)

If the Bandwidth Monitor module is enabled, this field will show the bandwidth use (in MB) of the user for the configured period.

From this list it is also possible to “kick” the users or “Extend Bandwidth Quota” their credit. Kicking the user will instantly close the user’s session, leaving him without Internet access. Extending the quota will add the default quota to his/her current credit.

Using the captive portal

When a user, connected to Zentyal through a captive interface, tries to access any web page using his/her browser, he/she will be automatically redirected to the Captive Portal, asking for authentication.

_images/login.pngCaptive Portal authentication webpage

After a successful login, a pop-up window will be shown to the user. This window keeps the user session open, so it should be kept open until the user disconnects from the Captive Portal.


Most browsers will automatically block the pop-up, you have to always allow pop-upsfrom Zentyal.


2 comments on “Creating a captive portal with Zentyal 3

  1. jose A
    July 16, 2013

    i got error trying to install captive portal on zentyal. there is an issue with the versions on zentyal-services…. how can i get it fixed? I cannot find older versions to check. thanks!

    • projectzme
      July 16, 2013

      Not knowing what version of the Distro you are using, what your install path was or what the actual error is, it is almost impossible to provide you with any help.

      My suggestion would be drop to a command prompt, so an apt-get upgrade -f and see if that fixes things, otherwise go to the zentyal forums and provide them with all the above information.

      In the years I’ve been using the Distro I have never come across this issue.. Sorry

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2012 by in guides, howto, Linux, Ubuntu and tagged , , , , , , , .
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