Managing the master password

The master password for GeoServer provides administrator access. It is used as the password to the GeoServer root account, which is a built-in administrator account. The root account is different from other GeoServer administrator accounts such as the default admin account, in that it is not possible to change the user name or roles of of the root account. The root account always has the role of ROLE_ADMINISTRATOR which provides access to all configuration options and functionality.

The master password also provides access to the keystore, the collection of reversible passwords that GeoServer saves for access to resources such as PostGIS datastores and other database connections.

Read more about the master password in the GeoServer reference.

Why change the master password

The master password is initially set in one of two ways depending on how the software was installed.

  • In a clean installation, the master password will be a randomly generated collection of eight characters.
  • In an upgrade from a version that didn’t contain a master password, the master password will be set to be the password for the administrator account.

Both situations create an initial security risk. In a clean installation, the master password is stored in the GeoServer data directory at <data_dir>/security/ This file should be deleted after verifying that this password works. In an upgrade, the older password information is stored in plain text at <data_dir>/security/ This file should also be deleted.

In all cases, the master password should be changed after installation. As well, it is recommended to change the master password regularly.

Verifying the master password

One should only need to log in to the GeoServer web admin interface as root for purposes of disaster recovery, such as when security configurations result in no administrative user being able to log in. An administrative user is defined as a user with the ROLE_ADMINISTRATOR role.

That said, one can log in to the GeoServer web admin interface as root to verify the master password. Use the following credentials:

  • User name: root
  • Password: <master password>

If the login is successful, the password is correct.

Changing the master password

  1. Log in to the GeoServer web admin interface with an administrator account (a user that possesses the ROLE_ADMINISTRATOR role).

  2. Once logged in, click Passwords in the Security section.


    Passwords link in the Security menu

  3. At the very top of the screen next to Active master password provider, click Change password .


    Link to change the master password

  4. In the form that follows, enter the current master password, then the new master password, then again for confirmation. Click Change password when done.


    The password will need to conform to the master password policy. By default, the policy states that the master password must be at least eight characters.


    Changing the master password

  5. Now that the password has been changed, delete the file <data_dir>/security/ and <data_dir>/security/, as they are a security risk and are unnecessary.

  6. Guard the new master password the same as any root or administrator account credentials.