How to Install Tomcat on Ubuntu

install configure apache  tomcat ubuntu debian  guide

Tomcat is a popular open-source web server that supports Java Servlets and JSPs. In this tutorial, you will learn how to install Tomcat on Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04 & 22.04. It’s also available for Debian OS.


Before you start, make sure you have:

  • A non-root user with sudo privileges
  • Java 8 or higher installed on your system
  • A stable internet connection

Step 1: Install Java

Install Java 8 or higher, which is required by Tomcat 9. You can use either OpenJDK or Oracle JDK. To install OpenJDK 11, run:

$ sudo apt update sudo apt install openjdk-11-jdk

Step 2: Download Tomcat

To download Tomcat, go to the official website and choose the latest version of Tomcat 9. At the time of writing this article, it was 9.0.72.

Copy the link address of the tar.gz file under Binary Distributions > Core section.

Then, open a terminal and use wget command to download the file:

$ wget

Step 3: Extract Tomcat

After downloading Tomcat, you need to extract it to a desired location. For this tutorial, we will use /opt/tomcat as the destination folder.

First, create a tomcat directory under /opt:

$ sudo mkdir /opt/tomcat

Then, extract the downloaded file using tar command:

$ sudo tar xzvf apache-tomcat-*.tar.gz -C /opt/tomcat --strip-components=1

This will create several subdirectories under /opt/tomcat such as bin, conf, webapps etc.

Step 4: Configure Tomcat User

To access the Tomcat web interface and manage your applications, you need to create a user with proper roles.

To do that, open the tomcat-users.xml file in your preferred text editor:

$ sudo nano /opt/tomcat/conf/tomcat-users.xml

Then, add a user element inside the tomcat-users element with username, password, and roles attributes. For example

<!-- ... -->
    <user username="admin" password="password" roles="manager-gui,admin-gui"/>

Save and close the file when you are done.

Step 5: Start Tomcat

To start Tomcat, you can use the script located in /opt/tomcat/bin directory:

$ sudo sh /opt/tomcat/bin/      

You should see something like this:

Using CATALINA_BASE:   /opt/tomcat 
Using CATALINA_HOME:   /opt/tomcat 
Using CATALINA_TMPDIR: /opt/tomcat/temp 
Using JRE_HOME:        /usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk-amd64/ 
Using CLASSPATH:       /opt/tomcat/bin/bootstrap.jar:/opt/tomcat/bin/tomcat-juli.jar  
Tomcat started.

You can also check if Tomcat is running by using ps command:

$ ps -ef | grep tomcat

Shutdown the server and go to Next step

$ sudo sh /opt/tomcat/bin/

Step 6: Create a Tomcat User and Group

For security reasons, it is recommended to create a unique user and group for running the Tomcat service. To do this, first create a new tomcat group by running the following command:

$ sudo groupadd tomcat

Next, create a new tomcat user that is a member of the tomcat group and has /opt/tomcat as its home directory. This user will be used to run the Tomcat service. To create this user, run the following command:

$ cd /opt/tomcat
$ sudo useradd -s /bin/false -g tomcat -d /opt/tomcat tomcat 

First, give ownership of the entire installation directory to the tomcat group with this command:

$ sudo chgrp -R tomcat /opt/tomcat

Next, give read access to conf directory and execute access to its parent directory:

$ sudo chmod -R g+r conf
$ sudo chmod g+x conf

Last but not least, make sure that tomcat user owns webapps/, work/, temp/ and logs/ directories:

$ sudo chown -R tomcat webapps/ work/ temp/ logs/

Step 7: Create a systemd Unit File

We will need to create a new unit file to run Tomcat as a service.
Open your text editor and create a file name tomcat.service in the /etc/systemd/system/:

$ sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/tomcat.service

Next, paste the following configuration:

Description=Apache Tomcat Web Application Container
Environment=’CATALINA_OPTS=-Xms512M -Xmx1024M -server -XX:+UseParallelGC’

Save and close the file after finishing the given commands above. Next, notify the system that you have created a new file by issuing the following command in the command line:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

The following commands will allow you to execute the Tomcat service:

$ sudo systemctl start tomcat
$ sudo systemctl enable tomcat

Step 8: Test Tomcat

To test if Tomcat is working properly,
open your web browser and type http://your_server_ip:8080 in the address bar.

You should see the default Tomcat homepage:

tomcat 9 apache default image

To access Tomcat’s web interface, click on the Manager App button and enter the username and password you created in Step 4.

You should see a page that shows your deployed applications and allows you to manage them: Congratulations! You have successfully installed Tomcat on Ubuntu 20.04.

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