For teams working with Java-based applications, Apache Tomcat is a popular choice. As the top open source Java web server and Java Servlet container, teams trust Tomcat for all manner of enterprise use cases.

In our Apache Tomcat overview, we discuss this popular technology and provide useful Tomcat resources that can help beginners and experts alike learn more about Tomcat.

Apache Tomcat History

What is Apache Tomcat? Tomcat is a lightweight Java application server originally developed in 1998 as a Sun Microsystems reference implementation of the Java Server Pages and Java Servlet specifications. It was donated to the Apache Software Foundation in 1999. Tomcat has a long history of successful releases, and became a top-level Apache project in 2005, between the 5.5 and 6.0 releases.

Apache Tomcat Versions and Support Lifecycle

For the purposes of this resource, we’re going to focus on Tomcat versions developed as a top-level Apache project

Tomcat VersionRelease DateSupport End of Life
Apache Tomcat 6February 28, 2007December 31, 2016
Apache Tomcat 7January 13, 2011March 31, 2021
Apache Tomcat 8February 2, 2014March 2024 (Estimated)
Apache Tomcat 9October 4, 20172027 (Estimated)
Apache Tomcat 10December 8, 20202030 (Estimated)
Apache Tomcat 11June 2024 (Estimated)2034 (Estimated)

Tomcat versions after 2007 typically have a support lifecycle of around 10 years after the initial release date. Tomcat 7, for instance, was initially released in January 2011 and didn’t reach community support end of life until March of 2021. Based on this trend, we can expect major Tomcat releases to have around 10 years of support before they reach end of life.

Apache Tomcat Alternatives

Tomcat, while popular, isn’t the only open source Java web server and Java servlet container available today. As we get to in the next section, it’s not even the only open source Java web server that’s an Apache Software Foundation project.


TomEE was started in 2011 by contributors to the OpenEJB project, and serves as the enterprise edition (EE) of Apache Tomcat. TomEE comes in four flavors with a varying number of supplied specifications, including TomEE WebProfile, MicroProfile, Plus, and Plume.

Read more about Tomcat vs. TomEE >>


The main difference between Apache Tomcat and NGINX is that Tomcat is an application server and NGINX is a web server. Both are open source, web infrastructure technologies and they can be used together or independently, depending on your use case. 

Read more about Tomcat vs. NGINX >>

Other Tomcat Alternatives

Aside from TomEE, there are many available Tomcat alternatives, both open source and commercial. Popular options include JBoss, WildFly, GlassFish, Payara, Jetty, WebSphere, WebLogic, WLP, and others.

Ensuring Success for Your Tomcat Deployments

Choosing Tomcat is easy. But finding success with Tomcat can be harder than expected. At the most basic level, many teams don’t spend enough time properly configuring Tomcat for performance, security, or application resilience. These same teams are often guilty of not revisiting these configurations as the scope or needs of the application (or applications) change.

Spending time ensuring your Tomcat deployments are configured according to known best practices and matching that configuration to the needs of your applications(s) is critical to finding ongoing success with Tomcat.

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A poorly-configured Tomcat deployment can have a big impact on performance, and consequentially operating costs and application stability. Ensuring your Tomcat is configured for optimal performance can save a lot of headaches for enterprise teams.

Read more about best practices for Tomcat performance >>
Get tips for troubleshooting Tomcat >>


Tomcat, at least out of the box, can expose your application to increased security risks. Ensuring your team is configuring Tomcat correctly can help to negate those risks and decrease your attack surface.

Read more about Tomcat security >>
Learn about Tomcat patching best practices >>


Mission critical applications need to be available to their users at all times (or at least 99.9% of the time). That makes reliability techniques like clustering crucial to the ongoing success of Tomcat deployments. These reliability techniques can have other benefits, too, including improved scalability, easier maintenance, and more.

Read more about Tomcat configuration >>

Application Logging

Logs are used in Tomcat to record and report information about its operations, issues, and other important events. Understanding Tomcat's logging framework is critical for troubleshooting, monitoring, and maintaining applications running on Tomcat servers.

Read more about logging in Tomcat >>

Other Configuration Tips

Whether teams are configuring Tomcat for the first time, or managing existing Tomcat deployments, there are many other areas that teams need to pay close attention to. Ultimately, finding the right configuration for your Tomcat deployments will come down to how closely you can match that configuration to the needs of your application(s).

Read more about Tomcat memory configuration >>

Ensuring Support for Your Tomcat Deployments

Tomcat is a community-supported Apache project. But, because it’s often deployed in enterprise use cases, supporting Tomcat can often require expertise or time that isn’t available in house. That means finding expert, around-the-clock support for Tomcat is essential.

For teams who need that enterprise-ready support, OpenLogic offers 24/7/365 Tomcat support – delivered directly by enterprise architects with 15+ years of experience deploying, configuring, and maintaining enterprise Tomcat deployments.

Learn more about how OpenLogic can support your Tomcat deployments today by visiting our solutions page, or downloading our datasheet below.

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