Authentication with LDAP

This tutorial introduces GeoServer LDAP support and walks through the process of setting up authentication against an LDAP server. It is recommended that the LDAP authentication section be read before proceeding.

LDAP server setup

A mock LDAP server will be used for this tutorial. Download and run the acme-ldap jar:

java -jar acme-ldap.jar

The output of which should look like the following:

Directory contents:
    member: uid=bob,ou=people,dc=acme,dc=org
    member: uid=alice,ou=people,dc=acme,dc=org
    member: uid=bill,ou=people,dc=acme,dc=org

  Server running on port 10389

The following diagram illustrates the hierarchy of the LDAP datatabse:


The LDAP tree consists of:

  • The root domain component, dc=acme,dc=org

  • Two organizational units (groups) named user and admin

  • Two users named bob and alice who are members of the user group

  • One user named bill who is a member of the admin group

Configure the LDAP authentication provider

  1. Start GeoServer and login to the web admin interface as the admin user.

  2. Click the Authentication link located under the Security section of the navigation sidebar.

  3. Scroll down to the Authentication Providers panel and click the Add new link.

  4. Click the LDAP link.

  5. Fill in the fields of the settings form as follows:

  6. Test the LDAP connection by entering the username “bob” and password “secret” in the connection test form located on the right and click the Test Connection button.


    A successful connection should be reported at the top of the page.

  7. Save.

  8. Back on the authentication page scroll down to the Provider Chain panel and move the acme-ldap provider from Available to Selected.

  9. Save.

Test a LDAP login

  1. Navigate to the GeoServer home page and log out of the admin account.

  2. Login as the user “bob” with the password “secret”.


Logging in as bob doesn’t yield any administrative functionality because the bobaccount has not been mapped to the administrator role. In the next section GeoServer will be configured to map groups from the LDAP database to roles.

Map LDAP groups to GeoServer roles

When using LDAP for authentication GeoServer maps LDAP groups to GeoServer roles by prefixing the group name with ROLE_ and converting the result to uppercase. For example bob and alice are members of the user group so after authentication they would be assigned a role named ROLE_USER. Similarly bill is a member of the admin group so he would be assigned a role named ROLE_ADMIN.

  1. Log out of the web admin and log back in as the admin user.

  2. Navigate to the Authentication page.

  3. Scroll to the Authentication Providers panel and click the acme-ldap link.

  4. On the settings page fill in the following form fields:

    • Set Group search base to “ou=groups”

    • Set Group search filter to “member={0}”

    The first field specifies the node of the LDAP directory tree at which groups are located. In this case the organizational unit named groups. The second field specifies the LDAP query filter to use in order to locate those groups that a specific user is a member of. The {0} is a placeholder which is replaced with the uid of the user.

    • Set Group to use as ADMIN to “ADMIN”

    • Set Group to use as GROUP_ADMIN to “ADMIN”

    If you want support for hierarchical LDAP groups:

    • Check Enable Hierarchical groups search box.

    • Set Max depth for hierarchical groups search to 10 (-1 for infinite depth, or the depth number you want to support).

    • Set Nested group search filter to “member={0}”


    These settings let users in the LDAP admin group to be recognized as GeoServer administrators.

  5. Save.

At this point the LDAP provider will populate an authenticated user with roles based on the groups the user is a member of.

At this point members of the admin LDAP group should be given full administrative privileges once authenticated. Log out of the admin account and log in as “bill” with the password “hello”. Once logged in full administrative functionality should be available.

Configure the LDAP role service

An additional step permits to configure a role service to get GeoServer roles from the LDAP repository and allow access rights to be assigned to those roles.

  1. Click the Users,Group,Roles link located under the Security section of the navigation sidebar.

  2. Click the Add new link under the Role Services section.

  3. Click the LDAP option under the New Role Service section.

  4. Enter ldaprs in the Name text field.

  5. Enter ldap://localhost:10389/dc=acme,dc=org in the Server URL text field.

  6. Enter ou=groups in the Group search base text field.

  7. Enter member=uid={0},ou=people,dc=acme,dc=org in the Group user membership search filter text field.

  8. Enter cn=* in the All groups search filter text field.

Then we need to a choose a user to authenticate on the server (many LDAP server don’t allow anonymous data lookup).

  1. Check the Authenticate to extract roles checkbox.

  2. Enter uid=bill,ou=people,dc=acme,dc=org in the Username text field.

  3. Enter hello in the Password text field.

If we want Hierarchical groups working we need:

  1. Check the Enable Hierarchical groups search checkbox.

  2. Enter 10 in the Max depth for hierarchical groups search text field.

  3. Enter member={1} in the Nested group search filter text field.

  4. Save.

  5. Click the ldaprs role service item under the Role Services section.

  6. Select ROLE_ADMIN from the Administrator role combo-box.

  7. Select ROLE_ADMIN from the Group administrator role combo-box.

  8. Save again.

You should now be able to see and assign the new ROLE_ADMIN and ROLE_USER roles wherever an Available Roles list is shown (for example in the Data and Services rules sections.