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What the Heck is Tomcat?

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  • What the Heck is Tomcat?

    Before I begin, may I please beg that you overcome your urge to tell a Tom Cruise joke here? Really, what you were about to write wasn't going to be that funny. Thank you.

    I've gotten so far as this explanation but I still don't know what Tomcat is or what it does.

    If a web app I want to try out comes with Tomcat in the .zip file, do I just upload the entire thing and do the install? What if my webhost says it doesn't support Tomcat? Does that mean I need to find myself another app?

    I understand it has something to do with Java, but that's as far as I get!

    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)

  • #2
    Re: What the Heck is Tomcat?

    It's basically web server software that can "serve" Java applets, as well as html, php and other page code.

    Apache is an HTTP (web) server written in C that can be compiled and run on many platforms. See

    Java WebServer is an HTTP (web) server from Sun written in Java that also supports Servlets and JSP.

    Tomcat is an open-source HTTP (web) server from the Apache Foundation, written in Java, that supports Servlets and JSP. It can also be used as a "plug-in" to native-code HTTP servers, such as Apache Web Server and IIS, to provide support for Servlets (while still serving normal HTTP requests from the primary, native-code web server). See
    Make trouble, have fun, do good stuffs.