Geoserver vs. Mapserver

Geoserver and Mapserver are both quite powerful but their developers pursued different goals.

To make the choice easier for you (I hope), here comes a general feature comparison:

Geoserver Mapserver
WMS both are good maybe a bit better [1]
WFS better, supports WFS-T [1] no WFS-T [1]
Technology J2EE [1] CGI [1]
Project start 2003 [1] 1996 [1]
Administration Web tool Mapfile generation can be aided by QGIS, but not comparable to Geoserver’s web admin tool
Extensibility good for Java developers [1] PHP Mapscript, good for PHP developers [1]
Cartography uses standardized SLDs powerful; styles are part of mapfile
Services one WMS/WFS/WCS service for all users [1] a mapfile means a service [1]
Querying CQL and OGC filters embedded SQL statements

New benchmarking results should be available soon [2]. Meanwhile, you might wanna watch last years results [3].




  1. what do you mean by “one WMS/WFS/WCS service for all users”?

    We’re going through the MapServer vs GeoServer debate and trying to decide on one going forward. We deal with a lot of time series raster data. We also currently use GeoNetwork for metadata. Any advice? I know it’s a loaded question. Our use case is so varied and we want the most flexibility going forward but prefer to take advantage of already produced software instead of cobbling customizations onto everything.


    • Hi Tom,

      “one WMS/WFS/WCS service for all users” means that there is only one configuration for all services in Geoserver while different services are spread over separate mapfiles in Mapserver.

      I haven’t looked much into the topic since this post in 2010. I went with Geoserver because it’s easier to configure in my opinion and because i wanted a WFS.

      Nowadays, I’m using QGIS Server because it’s even easier :)
      Just copy-paste the QGIS project file and the service is good to go.

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