GeoWebCache is automatically configured for use with GeoServer using the most common options, with no setup required. All communication between GeoServer and GeoWebCache happens by passing messages inside the JVM.

By default, all layers served by GeoServer will be known to GeoWebCache. See the Tile Layers page to test the configuration.


Version 2.2.0 of GeoServer introduced changes to the configuration of the integrated GeoWebCache.

Integrated user interface

GeoWebCache has a full integrated web-based configuration. See the Tile Caching section in the Web Administration Interface.

Determining tiled layers

In versions of GeoServer prior to 2.2.0, the GeoWebCache integration was done in a such way that every GeoServer layer and layer group was forced to have an associated GeoWebCache tile layer. In addition, every such tile layer was forcedly published in the EPSG:900913 and EPSG:4326 gridsets with PNG and JPEG output formats.

It is possible to selectively turn caching on or off for any layer served through GeoServer. This setting can be configured in the Tile Layers section of the Web Administration Interface.

Configuration files

It is possible to configure most aspects of cached layers through the Tile Caching section in the Web Administration Interface or the GeoWebCache REST API.

GeoWebCache keeps the configuration for each GeoServer tiled layer separately, inside the <data_dir>/gwc-layers/ directory. There is one XML file for each tile layer. These files contain a different syntax from the <wmsLayer> syntax in the standalone version and are not meant to be edited by hand. Instead you can configure tile layers on the Tile Layers page or through the GeoWebCache REST API.

Configuration for the defined gridsets is saved in <data_dir>/gwc/geowebcache.xml` so that the integrated GeoWebCache can continue to serve externally-defined tile layers from WMS services outside GeoServer.

If upgrading from a version prior to 2.2.0, a migration process is run which creates a tile layer configuration for all the available layers and layer groups in GeoServer with the old defaults. From that point on, you should configure the tile layers on the Tile Layers page.

Changing the cache directory

GeoWebCache will automatically store cached tiles in a gwc directory inside your GeoServer data directory. To set a different directory, stop GeoServer (if it is running) and add the following code to your GeoServer web.xml file (located in the WEB-INF directory):


Change the path inside <param-value> to the desired cache path (such as C:\temp or /tmp). Restart GeoServer when done.


Make sure GeoServer has write access in this directory.

GeoWebCache with multiple GeoServer instances

For stability reasons, it is not recommended to use the embedded GeoWebCache with multiple GeoServer instances. If you want to configure GeoWebCache as a front-end for multiple instances of GeoServer, we recommend using the standalone GeoWebCache.

Geoserver Data Security

GWC Data Security is an option that can be turned on and turned off through the Caching defaults page. By default it is turned off.

When turned on, the embedded GWC will do a data security check before calling GeoWebCache, i.e. verify whether the user actually has access to the layer, and reject the request if this is not the case. In the case of WMS-C requests, there is also limited support for data access limit filters, only with respect to geographic boundaries (all other types of data access limits will be ignored). The embedded GWC will reject requests for which the requested bounding box is (partly) inaccessible. It is only possible to request a tile within a bounding box that is fully accessible. This behaviour is different from the regular WMS, which will filter the data before serving it. However, if the integrated WMS/WMS-C is used, the request will be forwarded back to WMS and give the desired result.

When using the default GeoServer security system, rules cannot combine data security with service security. However, when using a security subsystem it may be possible to make such particular combinations. In this case the WMS-C service inherits all security rules from the regular WMS service; while all other GWC services will get their security from rules associated with the ‘GWC’ service itself.