What is Tomcat Server and How it Works (Explained)

What is Tomcat Server and How it Works (Explained). In this blog post, we will introduce Tomcat, it’s working principle, advantages and disadvantages.

Beginning it’s journey as the reference frame, Apache Tomcat implemented the first Java Server Pages and the Java Servlet API. Although, both of this technology did not last long, they created an authority to develop Tomcat’s upgraded version.

The Java Server still uses the older version of Tomcat, since it provides specific features like the application’s extensibility, stable core engine, expert developers for testing and durability.

Let’s move further in this blog about what is Tomcat Server and How it Works (Explained) to learn more about the meaning and working of Tomcat Server.

What Is Tomcat Server?

First of all Tomcat Server is an open source Java servlet container that enables users to implement multiple Java Enterprise Specs. It includes Website API, Java Servlet, and Java Server Pages. Developed under the open source environment in 1998 with the contribution of multiple developers, it is one of the best software.

Moreover, its software holds the HTTP server and servlet container characteristics. The HTTP protocol enables you to access the website content on the server. Using HTML coding, you can display static content on your website or send the data to the server. In return, the server then manages all these functionalities, which run on the HTTP protocol to produce outcomes in a safe environment.

Usually, the status websites operate on the HTTP server. However, if you are willing to display the content on the dynamic website, you should consider Servelet. Since the web content is served using the HTTP server, the container needs to operate the servlet. Therefore, when combining the Servlet and HTTP, you tend to achieve Tomcat apache.

How Does Apache Tomcat Work?

With the help of Apache Tomcat, you can acquire the necessary resources and deployment methods for Java web apps. Application deployment is a relatively straightforward process. You only have to locate the war files or directory that contains the web application from the web apps folder. Moreover, you get some programmed app to upload a file to deploy it on the server.

To learn the working of Apache Tomcat, it is essential to learn the fundamentals of Java web applications. This application provides access through a browser because Java apps share similarities to websites but differ in some ways. Further, since users are familiar with the web application, Apache Tomcat has become the most appropriate tool for serving these websites. Lightweight and fast and is much better than its alternatives.

Moreover, Servlet specifications only expect to handle a specific part of the data transaction process. Servlets never listen to particular ports’ requests. They also do not directly communicate with the client and take responsibility for managing resource accessibility. The servlet container, Tomcat, handles these things. Additionally it allows services to get re used in various environments. Also enables components to develop asynchronously from one another.

Uses cases of Apache Tomcat

All in all Tomcat Server is the best tool for Java Ecosystem. Why? Because Java supports multiple application servers, like Tomcat.

Besides Tomcat is a server application that embeds the Java Servlet specification. It provides a base to host Java Servlets. It implements the Java specifications on the web server that works as the remote controller to the physical computer design to server the files.

Using Internet connectivity, Tomcat renders and presents the data to the web application. This way, you can access data from the web server anywhere worldwide.

While Java Server Pages and Servlet produce dynamic pages, Tomcat works in the center. This server side programming language enables the developers to run and create independent dynamic content.

On the other hand, the Java Servelet enables the platform to run on Java based software components. It allows developers to extend the core features to enhance the server’s capabilities.

Therefore, you can host multiple applications on the web server as it is capable of running numerous requests at a time without crashing. Consequently Tomcat also handles routine appropriately. You only have to manage the Java Server Pages because Tomcat operates the rest of them.

Advantages of Tomcat Server

The following reasons make Tomcat Server the most appropriate choice.

Open Source Application

Primarily speaking, Tomcat is an open source application released with a general public license. With the help of Tomcat, anyone can use the core file for developing personal or commercial applications. You can download or install it for free on your computer license.


Secondly, Tomcat contains a built in customization option which provides the advantage of developing the application. Flexible, whilst enabling users to run applications differently to fulfil their requirements. You can tweak the application in any way you want and it will perform appropriately and generate excellent results.

Additional Security

With Apache Tomcat, users get additional security. Usually, cooperates like to put their data behind firewall protection. Installing Tomcat helps them in doing so.


Enterprise level application development requires the support of lightweight applications to run smoothly. Since Apache Tomcat is lightweight, you can acquire fast data processing power that makes content development effortless.


Since its inception, Tomcat has undergone several important updates, making it a highly stable platform on the web. Even if one feature fails to run the application, the remaining server will run well without interruption, making your application live all the time.

Well Documented

Apache Tomcat is well documented as it provides comprehensive information to developers willing to learn the Tomcat application development. Various web based tutorials, including installation guides, startup settings, platform support, and server configuration, are available for Tomcat.

Disadvantages of Apache Tomcat

Besides having advantages, Apache Tomcat has some disadvantages as well:

  • It has a primary user interface, which is not of high quality.
  • In terms of static analysis, Tomcat is not as fast as Apache.
  • Users usually face problems in installing SSL with Tomcat.
  • Tomcat has a memory leak.

With article what is Tomcat Server and How it Works (Explained), is there more differences compared to Apache? Let’s find out. 

Differences Between Apache and Tomcat Server

Let’s see few major differences between the Apache we bserver and the Tomcat server:

  • Apache Web Server is an HTTP server eligible for hosting more than one web based server. On the other hand, Apache Tomcat Web Server is a web container that enables users to run Servlet and Java Server Pages.
  • Advantage of Apache Web Server is that it handles both static and dynamic pages. It creates static pages using HTML and dynamic pages using PHP, Ruby, and other languages. On the contrary, Apache Tomcat Server also handles static and dynamic pages. However, while static pages are developed using HTML, dynamic ones are developed using Servlet or JSP.
  • Comparatively Apache codes in C programming language, whereas Apache Tomcat Server codes in pure JAVA.
  • You can use Apache Web Server to host applications on the basis of programming language. But, Tomcat Server is only used to host JAVA codes.

Thank you for reading What is Tomcat Server and How it Works (Explained). We shall conclude. 

What is Tomcat Server and How it Works (Explained) Conclusion

Finally, the Apache Tomcat server does not require complete Java EE specifications primarily used for serving Java web apps. Moreover, since it is a web server or servlet container, it cannot act as an entire application server. However, it is not its disadvantage. Several applications need features that only Tomcat can fulfil. In a nutshell, it is a production ready tool with several web apps.

Summing up this article, Tomcat is very popular and boasts a market share of over 60%. Well, Apache Tomcat is the best solution for you if you are looking to host applications that process thousands of requests.

Why don’t you take  a look at more Tomcat content here

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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