This section provides an overview of the GeoServer security subsystem API.

Security Manager

The GeoServerSecurityManager class is the main facade for the security subsystem. It plays a similar role to that of the GeoServer and Catalog interfaces for the configuration and catalog subsystems respectively. Some of the duties of this class include:

  • Access to security services such as user group and role services, authentication providers, etc…

  • Manage the lifecycle of security services

  • CRUD operations for security service configurations

  • Access to various singleton classes such as ResourceAccessManager, KeyStoreProvider, AuthenticationCache, GeoServerSecurityFilterChain, etc..

  • Implement the spring security AuthenticationProviderManager interface providing the list of active Authentication Provider instances.

Security Services

GeoServerSecurityService is the base interface for all security services, including:

  • User/group services

  • Role services

  • Authentication filters

  • Authentication providers

  • Keystore password providers

The interface provides some common methods for all security services, including:

void initializeFromConfig(SecurityNamedServiceConfig config);

Every type of security service corresponds to a configuration object for that service. The configuration object is a simple java bean that contains the service configuration. These objects are persisted via xstream in the GeoServer data directory. See Security Plugin Provider for more details.

Security services are created via methods provided by the security manager. For instance to create a new xml user group service:

GeoServerSecurityManager mgr = ...;
XMLSecurityServiceConfig config = new XMLSecurityServiceConfig();

An instance of a security service is obtained by looking it up by the name matching its configuration object:

GeoServerUserGroupService ugService = mgr.loadUserGroupService("foo");

The config object for the service can be looked up in a similar way:

SecurityUserGroupServiceConfig config = mgr.loadUserGroupServiceConfig("foo");

And modified accordingly:


UserGroup Service/Store

The GeoServerUserGroupService and GeoServerUserGroupStore interfaces provides a database for users and groups. A GeoServerUserGroupService may be read only in that it acts solely as a source without the ability to create new or edit existing users and groups.

The interfaces provide access to users and groups:

GeoServerUserGroupService ugService = mgr.loadUserGroupService("default");

GeoServerUser user = ugService.getUserByUsername("admin");

GeoServerUserGroup group = ugService.getGroupByGroupname("users");

The service interface advertises whether it is read only:

if (ugService.canCreateStore()) {
  GeoServerUserGroupStore store = ugService.createStore();
  store.addUser(new GeoServerUser("bob"));;

The GeoServerUserGroupService implements the spring security UserDetailsService interface in order to integrate with existing facilities such as remember me services which require a user details service for loading user information at runtime.

Role Service/Store

GeoServerRoleService and GeoServerRoleStore provide a database for roles and role associations for users and groups. Like user group services a GeoServerRoleService may be read only:

GeoServerRoleService roleService = mgr.loadRoleService("default");

if (roleService.canCreateStore()) {
  GeoServerRoleStore store = roleService.createStore();
  GeoServerRole role = new GeoServerRole("ROLE_FOO");

  store.associateRoleToGroup(role, "users");;

Authentication Provider

GeoServerAuthenticationProvider is an extension of the spring security AuthenticationProvider interface and is responsible for performing authentication of user credentials.

The class extends the AuthenticationProvider contract and provides methods for authentication that provide access to the current request to make it easier for providers that require request information to perform authentication:

public final Authentication authenticate(Authentication authentication)
    throws AuthenticationException {
    return authenticate(authentication, request());

 * Same function as {@link #authenticate(Authentication)} but is provided with
 * the current request object.
public abstract Authentication authenticate(Authentication authentication,
    HttpServletRequest request) throws AuthenticationException;

The list of active authentication providers is maintained by the GeoServerSecurityManager which extends the spring security AuthenticationProviderManager interface.

Authentication Filter

GeoServerSecurityFilter is the base class for servlet filters that play a part in the authentication process. Such filters can play two roles. The first is to gather authentication credentials to passed off to a provider for actual authentication. An example would be a filter for doing HTTP basic auth.

The second role is to perform “pre-authentication” in which involves doing authentication by recognizing authentication that has already taken place “outside” of GeoServer. An example would be when using a security proxy such as Siteminder or a “J2ee” authentication which involves delegating to the servlet container for doing authentication.

Security filters are maintained in the filter chain which maintains the mapping of the filters to be applied to a specific type of request. For example the filters applied to a web UI request are different than those applied to an OGC or REST request.


Password Policy

PasswordPolicy is the interface for validating user passwords, applying constraints such as password length, character mix, etc…


Security service that provides a method for obtaining the GeoServer keystore password. The keystore password serves two purposes.

  1. Is the password for the GeoServer “root” account

  2. Protects the GeoServer keystore that is used to store encryption keys

Security Plugin Provider

The GeoServerSecurityProvider is the actual extension point that allows for the plugging in of instances of the services discussed above. The single interface covers all the security services.

For each type of security service the provider has two methods to implement. For example with a user group service:

public Class<? extends GeoServerUserGroupService> getUserGroupServiceClass() {
    return null;

public GeoServerUserGroupService createUserGroupService(SecurityNamedServiceConfig config)
    throws IOException {
    return null;

The first method reports on the specific class of user group service it implements. This is how a specific security provider is chosen from a specific configuration object. SecurityNamedServiceConfig.getClassName() is used to locate the provider.

The second method creates an instance of the security service from a specified configuration object. Providers are registered via spring, for example:

<bean id="ldapSecurityProvider" class="">
  <constructor-arg ref="geoServerSecurityManager"/>

Security Configuration

Service Configuration

As mentioned above each type of security service corresponds to a configuration class. The SecurityNamedServiceConfig is the base class for all such configuration classes and maintains three properties that all classes inherit. The first is name for the configuration:

 * The name of the service.
String getName();

This name is used to reference both the configuration directly, or to the corresponding service implementation. For example consider a user group service named “foo”:

GeoServerUserGroupService service = mgr.loadUserGroupService("foo");
SecurityUserGroupServiceConfig config = mgr.loadUserGroupServiceConfig("foo");

The second property is the fully qualified class name of the service implementation that the config object corresponds to:

 * Name of class for implementation of the service.
String getClassName();

For instance consider creating an XML user group service:

XMLUserGroupServiceConfig config = new XMLUserGroupServiceConfig();

The third property is an internal identifier, similar to how catalog and configuration objects have an id:

 * Internal id of the config object.
 * <p>
 * This method should be used by client code.
 * </p>
String getId();

The main purpose of this id is to detect if the security service config has been persisted or not.

Service configuration objects are persisted in the geoserver data directory under the security directory. Under security are sub directories for each service type:


Under each directory are additional subdirectories for each named service of that type. For example, out of the box GeoServer security is configured with the following:

  • Single user/group service named “default”

  • Single role service named “default”

  • Single authentication provider named “default”

This would correspond to the following directory structure:


Let’s say an additional authentication provider named “ldap” was added. The tree would look like:


Inside each named configuration directory is a file named config.xml that contains the direct xstream serialization of the configuration object. For example the default user group service configuration is persisted in the file security/usergroup/default/config.xml and looks like:


Global Configuration

Aside from configuration objects for the various security services is the SecurityManagerConfig class which provides the same function but for global security settings. It contains a number of configuration properties such as the active role service, the list of authentication providers and filters making up the active Authentication Chain, and configuration for remember me services.

Interacting with the global configuration is much like interacting with a security service configuration:

SecurityManagerConfig config = mgr.getSecurityConfig();

Authentication Chain

The GeoServerSecurityFilterChain class is a data structure that maintains mappings from request type to a list of named security filters. This class is persisted with the rest of the global security configuration as available as a property of the SecurityManagerConfig class:

GeoServerSecurityFilterChain filterChain = mgr.getSecurityConfig().getFilterChain();

The filterChain is essentially a map whose keys are strings corresponding to ant request patterns. The values are lists of Authentication Filter names.

GeoServerSecurityFilterChainProxy is an extension of the spring security FilterChainProxy and is responsible for creating the actual filter chain from the GeoServerSecurityFilterChain configuration object.

Pluggable Login Endpoints

To enable a new Login button just add lines similar to the following configuration into the applicationContext.xml:

<!-- login button -->
<bean id="geoserverFormLoginButton" class="org.geoserver.web.LoginFormInfo">
        <property name="id" value="geoserverFormLoginButton" />
        <property name="titleKey" value="login" />
        <property name="descriptionKey" value="GeoServerBasePage.description" />
        <property name="componentClass" value="org.geoserver.web.GeoServerBasePage" />
        <property name="name" value="form" />
        <property name="icon" value="img/icons/silk/door-in.png" />
        <property name="include" value="include_login_form.html" />
        <property name="loginPath" value="j_spring_security_check" />

The same can be done for any other Security Filter which needs a specific button for a Login Endpoint.

The properties of LoginFormInfo are:

  1. id; a unique ID to be provided to the extension.

  2. titleKey; key of the message with internationalization. If null or not present, the Login button won’t have any text.

  3. descriptionKey; optional image alt message. This value represents the key of the message with internationalization.

  4. componentClass; base class which will provide base package path for resources. Wicket will look for resources relative to the componentClass package.

  5. name; used for ordering. The Login buttons will be displayed in alphabetical order accordingly to this value. The name must also contain a keyword present on the associated Security Filter name defined by User.

  6. icon; optional resource path to the button icon. If not specified GeoServer will use the default “door-in” one. The path must be relative to the componentClass package.

  7. include; optional static HTML file resource to be rendered into the Login form. The path must be relative to the componentClass package.

  8. loginPath; Login custom endpoint used by the associated Security Filter.

Example of include HTML can be:

<label class="noshow" for="username"><wicket:message key="username">Username</wicket:message></label>
<input id="username" type="text" name="username" value="" title="username" placeholder="username" wicket:message="title:username,placeholder:username"/>
<label class="noshow" for="password"><wicket:message key="password">Password</wicket:message></label>
<input id="password" type="password" name="password" value="" title="password" placeholder="password" wicket:message="title:password,placeholder:passwordGeoServer"/>
<label class="shown" for="_spring_security_remember_me"><wicket:message key="rememberMe">Remember me</wicket:message></label>
<input id="_spring_security_remember_me" type="checkbox" name="_spring_security_remember_me" />