First of all, Tomcat is a Web server and a servlet container and Apache is a Web server. Tomcat is often integrated with Apache to enhance Apache with servlet capabilities and to capitalize on Apache's optimized and robust static-page delivery mechanisms. IIS (Internet Information Services) is Microsoft's Web server.
Apache is by far the most widely used Web server and runs on Unix, Linux, Mac OS and Windows. IIS runs only on Windows. Both Apache and IIS have their strong points and weaknesses. The most obvious advantage of Apache is the fact that it is cross-platform. The most obvious advantage of IIS is its tight integration with Microsoft and Windows technologies. This strong integration of IIS with Windows has led hackers to develop endless streams of viruses that target Windows desktops via IIS and in the process, make IIS administrators' lives very interesting. Apache has known its share of viruses as well.
So, which one is better? That depends on your needs. If you are working in
a Windows-only shop, take a long look at IIS. If you need to run a Web
server on Unix, Linux, NetWare, Mac OS or even Windows; take a look at
This was first published in July 2002