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Tomcat versus Apache

What is the difference between the Tomcat server and Apache server? Are there any differences?

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Apache is an HTTP/1.1 compliant Web server and Tomcat is a servlet container and JSP engine. They are often used together to optimize static and dynamic content handling. When running them together, Tomcat is typically configured as an add-on to the Apache Web server to handle JSPs and servlets.

When using Apache and Tomcat together, the scenario usually goes like this:

  1. Apache listens for HTTP requests.
  2. When a request arrives, Apache checks whether it is a servlet request, a request for a JavaServer Page or a request for static content.
  3. If the request targets a servlet or JSP page, Apache forwards the request to Tomcat.
  4. If the request is for static content (non-servlet or JSP), Apache handles the request.
More information about the details of how Tomcat and Apache can be used together can be found at:

This was first published in February 2003

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