The Apache Tomcat Servlet/JSP Container

The Apache Tomcat 5.5 Servlet/JSP Container

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User Guide


Apache Tomcat Development

The Apache Tomcat 5.5 Servlet/JSP Container

Tomcat Setup

Table of Contents

This document introduces several ways to set up Tomcat for running on different platforms. Please note that some advanced setup issues are not covered here: the full distribution (ZIP file or tarball) includes a file called RUNNING.txt which discusses these issues. We encourage you to refer to it if the information below does not answer some of your questions.


Installing Tomcat on Windows can be done easily using the Windows installer. Its interface and functionality is similar to other wizard based installers, with only a few items of interest.

  • Installation as a service: Tomcat will be installed as a Windows service no matter what setting is selected. Using the checkbox on the component page sets the service as "auto" startup, so that Tomcat is automatically started when Windows starts. For optimal security, the service should be run as a separate user, with reduced permissions (see the Windows Services administration tool and its documentation).
  • Java location: The installer will provide a default JRE to use to run the service. The installer uses the registry to determine the base path of a JRE, including the JRE installed as part of the full JDK. When running on a 64-bit operating system, the installer will first look for a 64-bit JRE and only look for a 32-bit JRE if a 64-bit JRE is not found. It is not mandatory to use the default JRE detected by the installer. You may select any installed 32-bit or 64-bit Java 5 or later JRE.
  • Tray icon: When Tomcat is run as a service, there will be a tray icon visible. Note that when choosing to run Tomcat at the end of installation, the tray icon will be loaded at the same time.
  • Refer to the Windows Service HOW-TO for information on how to manage Tomcat as Windows service.

The installer will create shortcuts allowing starting and configuring Tomcat. It is important to note that the Tomcat administration web application can only be used when Tomcat is running.

Note that while Tomcat 5.5 supports running with Java 1.4, the compatibility package required for that is not included in the installer to minimize download size. If you need it, you have to download it and expand into the folder where Tomcat is installed. See RUNNING.txt for details.

Unix daemon

Tomcat can be run as a daemon using the jsvc tool from the commons-daemon project. Source tarballs for jsvc are included with the Tomcat binaries, and need to be compiled. Building jsvc requires a C ANSI compiler (such as GCC), GNU Autoconf, and a JDK.

Before running the script, the JAVA_HOME environment variable should be set to the base path of the JDK. Alternately, when calling the ./configure script, the path of the JDK may be specified using the --with-java parameter, such as ./configure --with-java=/usr/java.

Using the following commands should result in a compiled jsvc binary, located in the $CATALINA_HOME/bin folder. This assumes that GNU TAR is used, and that CATALINA_HOME is an environment variable pointing to the base path of the Tomcat installation.

Please note that you should use the GNU make (gmake) instead of the native BSD make on FreeBSD systems.

    cd $CATALINA_HOME/bin
    tar xvfz commons-daemon-native.tar.gz
    cd commons-daemon-1.0.x-native-src/unix
    cp jsvc ../..
    cd ../..

Tomcat can then be run as a daemon using the following commands.

    ./bin/jsvc -Djava.endorsed.dirs=./common/endorsed -cp ./bin/bootstrap.jar \
        -outfile ./logs/catalina.out -errfile ./logs/catalina.err \

jsvc has other useful parameters, such as -user which causes it to switch to another user after the daemon initialization is complete. This allows, for example, running Tomcat as a non privileged user while still being able to use privileged ports. jsvc --help will return the full jsvc usage information. In particular, the -debug option is useful to debug issues running jsvc.

The file $CATALINA_HOME/bin/commons-daemon-1.0.x-native-src/unix/native/ can be used as a template for starting Tomcat automatically at boot time from /etc/init.d.

Note that the Commons-Daemon JAR file must be on your runtime classpath to run Tomcat in this manner. The Commons-Daemon JAR file is in the Class-Path entry of the bootstrap.jar manifest, but if you get a ClassNotFoundException or a NoClassDefFoundError for a Commons-Daemon class, add the Commons-Daemon JAR to the -cp argument when launching jsvc.

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