I imported a shapefile successfully to GeoServer.

When I query the WMS service for its capabilities, i.e.: https://<domain>/geoserver/ows?service=wms&version=1.3.0&request=GetCapabilities

If the user is logged in as admin, the layer itself and all its capabilities show up fine.

If the user is logged out (using another browser, a private window, another computer, etc...), the Layer simply doesn't seem to show up.

A more specific example - When I specifically query for the layer while having an admin session, i.e. https://<domain>/geoserver/wms?service=WMS&version=1.1.0&request=GetMap&layers=<my layer> [other parameters omitted for brevity]

The layer is shown just fine if I have admin logged in.

If the user is logged out, I get the error Could not find layer.

A few more details about my setup: My GeoServer is based on the Docker image: https://hub.docker.com/r/geonode/geoserver - Version 2.18.2

I checked security/layer.properties and they seem to be:

#Thu May 20 10:14:42 GMT 2021

Which I think means "Anyone" can read any layers, right?

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this? Is there any privacy parameter that I might have overlooked? Any specific Docker parameter that I missed? I ask this because this doesn't seem to happen with my other non-Docker deployment.

  • most likely issue is you have changed something in the permissions settings - either at the workspace, layer or service level.
    – Ian Turton
    May 20, 2021 at 15:47
  • Just noticed that you are using the GeoNode build - that has a lot of security turned on by default and is probably not a good base to start experimenting with.
    – Ian Turton
    May 20, 2021 at 15:48
  • Yep, that was indeed the case. I used Kartoza's kartoza/geoserver build and everything seems to work just fine. When I found GeoNode's GeoServer build I was unaware it was going to have specific security configurations for GeoNode (the application). Thanks!
    – Alex
    May 24, 2021 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


In my case, resolved by adding new rule on GeoFence Data Rules. It's possible to add rules for specific layers, but I made it for all (*), one rule for WMS and another for WFS.

Add GeoFence Data Rules


In my case, it was an issue with the data access role. need to give access to ROLE_ANONYMOUS

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