How to install Apache Tomcat on CentOS

Last updated on September 7, 2020 by Dan Nanni

Apache Tomcat is one of the most popular and powerful web application servers on Linux. You can use Tomcat to host Java servlets or JSP web applications. As with any other Apache-licensed software, Tomcat is available free of charge under liberal Apache license. If you would like to install Apache Tomcat on CentOS, here is a guide for you. For Tomcat installation on Debian or Ubuntu. refer to this guide instead.

Install JDK

First, you need to install Java Development Kit (JDK). To do that, first identify compatable Java version as shown below. In this tutorial, I install Apache tomcat 9, which support Java 8 or later.

Once you decide on Java version, go ahead and install the corresponding JDK by first enabling Repoforge repository on your CentOS system and running the following.

$ sudo yum install java-1.8.0-openjdk-devel -y

After this, set up JAVA_HOME environment variable.

$ sudo sh -c 'echo export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk > /etc/profile.d/'
$ source /etc/profile.d/

Install Apache Tomcat

Now download Apache Tomcat, and install it. Since Apache Tomcat is distributed as binaries, all you have to do is to copy it somewhere in your CentOS.

$ wget
$ sudo tar -xf apache-tomcat-9.0.41.tar.gz -C /opt
$ sudo ln -s /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41 /opt/tomcat

Update Permissions

For security, create a dedicated user/group called tomcat which Tomcat will be executed as, and grant access permissions on the user/group.

$ sudo groupadd tomcat
$ sudo useradd -s /bin/false -g tomcat -d /opt/tomcat tomcat
$ sudo chown -R tomcat:tomcat /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41
$ sudo chmod -R g+r /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41/conf
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41/logs
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41/temp
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41/webapps
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/apache-tomcat-9.0.41/work

Set up systemd for Apache Tomcat

Finally, prepare a systemd configuration for Apache tomcat as follows.

$ sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/tomcat.service
Description=Apache Tomcat Web Application Container
Environment='CATALINA_OPTS=-Xms512M -Xmx1024M -server -XX:+UseParallelGC'

Reload systemd and start Tomcat:

$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
$ sudo systemctl start tomcat

To verify that Apache Tomcat is installed successfully, go to http://your_centos_ip:8080 in your browser. If everything is okay, you will see the following in your browser window.

If you cannot access the above Tomcat page, make sure to adjust firewall rules to open TCP/8080 since CentOS has iptables on by default, blocking the Tomcat's default listening port 8080.

Alternatively, you can temporarily stop the firewall, just for quick testing, as follows.

On CentOS 6 or earlier:

$ sudo service iptables stop
$ sudo chkconfig iptables off

On CentOS 7 or later:

$ sudo systemctl stop firewalld

Once you confirm Tomcat is accessible, make sure to re-enable the firewall.

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