What are the advantages/disadvantages of using Tomcat's built-in HTTP server instead of, say, Apache?

Avi Kak

Regarding Tomcat's disadvantages when used as a stand-alone server, here is a list reproduced from the Tomcat-Apache HOWTO page:

  1. Tomcat is not as fast as Apache when it comes to static pages.
  2. Tomcat is not as configurable as Apache.
  3. Tomcat is not as robust as Apache.
  4. There are many sites with long time investment in certain web servers, for example, sites that are using CGI scripts/Server API modules/perl/php. We cannot assume that all of them will want to ditch this legacy.
The page further says that " For all these reasons it is recommended that real world sites use an industrial strength web server, such as Apache, for serving the static content of the site, and use Tomcat as a Servlet/JSP add-on."

The main thing that Tomcat has going for it is that it the official reference implementation of the Java Servlet 2.2 and JavaServer Pages 1.1 technologies developed under the Apache license by some of the best developers around the world.

[Note that Tomcat has been tuned extensively for version 3.2 and 3.3, and is actually "pretty fast" at serving static pages now (although ymmv and you should perform your own tests. -Alex]