Apache Tomcat is an open-source implementation of the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language, and Java WebSocket technologies. It is one of the most widely adopted applications and web servers in the world today. Tomcat is simple to use and has a robust ecosystem of add-ons.
This tutorial explains to install and configure Tomcat 9 on Ubuntu 18.04. The same instructions apply for Ubuntu 16.04 and any Ubuntu-based distribution, including Linux Mint and Elementary OS.
To be able to install packages on your Ubuntu system, you must be logged in as a user with sudo privileges.
Step 1: Install OpenJDK
Tomcat requires Java to be installed. We’ll install OpenJDK, which is the default Java development and runtime in Ubuntu 18.04.
The installation of Java is pretty simple. Begin by updating the package index:
sudo apt update
Install the OpenJDK package by running:
sudo apt install default-jdk
Step 2: Create Tomcat User
For security purposes, Tomcat should not be run under the root user. We will create a new system user and group with home directory
/opt/tomcat that will run the Tomcat service:
sudo useradd -r -m -U -d /opt/tomcat -s /bin/false tomcat
Step 3: Install Tomcat
We will download the latest binary release of Tomcat 9 from the Tomcat 9 downloads page.
At the time of writing, the latest version is
9.0.27. Before continuing with the next step, you should check the download page for a new version. If there is a new version, copy the link to the Core
tar.gz file, which is under the Binary Distributions section.
Start by download the Tomcat archive in the
/tmp directory using the following
wget http://www-eu.apache.org/dist/tomcat/tomcat-9/v9.0.27/bin/apache-tomcat-9.0.27.tar.gz -P /tmp
Once the download is complete, extract the Tomcat archive and move it to the
sudo tar xf /tmp/apache-tomcat-9*.tar.gz -C /opt/tomcat
To have more control over Tomcat versions and updates, create a symbolic link called
latest that points to the Tomcat installation directory:
sudo ln -s /opt/tomcat/apache-tomcat-9.0.27 /opt/tomcat/latest
Later if you want to upgrade your Tomcat instance, simply unpack the newer version and change the symlink to point to the latest version.
As we mentioned in the previous section Tomcat will run under the
tomcat user. This user needs to have access to the tomcat installation directory.
The following command changes the directory ownership to user and group tomcat:
sudo chown -RH tomcat: /opt/tomcat/latest
The scripts inside
bin directory must have executable flag:
sudo sh -c 'chmod +x /opt/tomcat/latest/bin/*.sh'
Step 4: Create a systemd Unit File
To run Tomcat as a service you need to create a new unit file.
Open your text editor and create a file named
tomcat.service in the
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/tomcat.service
Paste the following configuration:
[Unit] Description=Tomcat 9 servlet container After=network.target [Service] Type=forking User=tomcat Group=tomcat Environment="JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/default-java" Environment="JAVA_OPTS=-Djava.security.egd=file:///dev/urandom -Djava.awt.headless=true" Environment="CATALINA_BASE=/opt/tomcat/latest" Environment="CATALINA_HOME=/opt/tomcat/latest" Environment="CATALINA_PID=/opt/tomcat/latest/temp/tomcat.pid" Environment="CATALINA_OPTS=-Xms512M -Xmx1024M -server -XX:+UseParallelGC" ExecStart=/opt/tomcat/latest/bin/startup.sh ExecStop=/opt/tomcat/latest/bin/shutdown.sh [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
CopyModify the value of
JAVA_HOME if the path to your Java installation is different.
Save and close the file and notify systemd that we created a new unit file:
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
Start the Tomcat service by executing:
sudo systemctl start tomcat
Check the service status with the following command:
sudo systemctl status tomcat
* tomcat.service - Tomcat 9 servlet container Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/tomcat.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Wed 2018-09-05 15:45:28 PDT; 20s ago Process: 1582 ExecStart=/opt/tomcat/latest/bin/startup.sh (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS) Main PID: 1604 (java) Tasks: 47 (limit: 2319) CGroup: /system.slice/tomcat.service
If there are no errors enable the Tomcat service to be automatically started at boot time:
sudo systemctl enable tomcat
Step 5: Adjust the Firewall
If your server is protected by a firewall and you want to access Tomcat from the outside of your local network, you need to open port
To allow traffic on port
8080 type the following command:
sudo ufw allow 8080/tcp
Usually when running a Tomcat application in a production environment you will have a load balancer or reverse proxy. It’s a best practice to restrict access to port
8080 only to your internal network.
Step 6: Configure Tomcat Web Management Interface
Now that Tomcat is installed and running, the next step is to create a user with access the web management interface.
Tomcat users and roles are defined in the
tomcat-users.xml file. This file is a template with comments and examples describing how to configure the create a user or role.
sudo nano /opt/tomcat/latest/conf/tomcat-users.xml
To add a new user with access to the Tomcat web interface (manager-gui and admin-gui) we need to define the user in the
tomcat-users.xml file, as shown below. Make sure you change the username and password to something more secure:
<tomcat-users> <!-- Comments --> <role rolename="admin-gui"/> <role rolename="manager-gui"/> <user username="admin" password="admin_password" roles="admin-gui,manager-gui"/> </tomcat-users>
By default Tomcat web management interface is configured to restrict access to the Manager and Host Manager apps only from the localhost.
If you want to be able to access the web interface from a remote IP, you will have to remove these restrictions. This may have various security implications, and it is not recommended for production systems.
To enable access to the web interface from anywhere open the following two files and comment or remove the lines highlighted in yellow.
For the Manager app, open the following file:
sudo nano /opt/tomcat/latest/webapps/manager/META-INF/context.xml
For the Host Manager app, open the following file:
sudo nano /opt/tomcat/latest/webapps/host-manager/META-INF/context.xml
<Context antiResourceLocking="false" privileged="true" > <!-- <Valve className="org.apache.catalina.valves.RemoteAddrValve" allow="127\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+|::1|0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1" /> --> </Context>
Another option is to allow access to the to the Manager and Host Manager apps only from a specific IP. Instead of commenting the blocks you can simply add your IP address to the list.
For example if your public IP is
220.127.116.11 you would make the following change:
<Context antiResourceLocking="false" privileged="true" > <Valve className="org.apache.catalina.valves.RemoteAddrValve" allow="127\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+|::1|0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1|18.104.22.168" /> </Context>
The list of allowed IP addresses is a list separated with vertical bar
|. You can add single IP addresses or use a regular expressions.
Remember to restart the Tomcat service each time you edit Tomcat configuration files for changes to take effect:
sudo systemctl restart tomcat
Step 6: Test the Tomcat Installation
Open your browser and type:
Assuming the installation is successful, a screen similar to the following should appear:
Tomcat web application manager dashboard is available at
http://<your_domain_or_IP_address>:8080/manager/html. From here, you can deploy, undeploy, start, stop, and reload your applications.
You can sign in with the user you have created in
Tomcat virtual host manager dashboard is available at
http://<your_domain_or_IP_address>:8080/host-manager/html. From here, you can create, delete and manage Tomcat virtual hosts.
You have successfully installed Tomcat 9 on your Ubuntu 18.04 system. You can now visit the official Apache Tomcat 8 Documentation and learn more about the Apache Tomcat features.
If you hit a problem or have feedback, leave a comment below.