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Apache Tomcat vs Eclipse Jetty: Top Differences

Last Updated : 29 Jan, 2024
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Person 1: I like Apache Tomcat for My Java Web Applications

Person 2: Ok, But I like Eclipse Jetty more

Do you guys also have different opinions like them? Let’s learn about these terms

Apache Tomcat and Eclipse Jetty are the main servers used to run applications in Java development. These two contenders stand tall in the world of Java-based web servers, each having its unique set of features and capabilities.

Apache Tomcat vs Eclipse Jetty

Picture two of them as very skilled individuals, each with a different specialty competing to be the best at managing servers. Ready for this exciting journey? Let’s get started with understanding the top differences between Apache Tomcat vs Eclipse Jetty!

What Is Apache Tomcat?

Apache Tomcat, or Tomcat for short, is a free software that helps Java web applications run. These are programs that use Java to make websites. Tomcat makes sure they run well and fast. To make things work smoothly, Apache Tomcat uses tiny pieces of Java code which are called Java servlets. These little code snippets are like messengers that chat with web browsers that help your website do its thing. Additionally, it creates dynamic webpages—that is, webpages that adapt to user activity. Tomcat is a key part of the Java EE (Enterprise Edition) technology stack, which is a bunch of Java tools and rules for web development.

What Is Eclipse Jetty?

Eclipse Jetty or we can say Jetty, on the other hand, is not only another open-source servlet container; it is also a standalone web server. Java web applications can be deployed with great performance because to Jetty’s lightweight and adaptable design. It is a good choice for a range of activities because to its versatility when it comes to presenting static information. Because Jetty’s architecture is embeddable and modular, developers can customize it to meet their unique requirements.

Now lets move up to our comparison of Apache Tomcat vs Eclipse Jetty.

We will compare both of them on various different aspects. Lets Start!

1. Performance

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat’s strong performance and stability make it a trusted choice for a wide range of different applications. It is capable of managing a sizable number of connections and requests at once. Java servlets, JSP pages, and HTTP requests can all be effectively managed and processed by Tomcat thanks to its efficient architecture.

The ability of Tomcat to offer a reliable environment for Java-based online applications is its primary strength. While it might exhibit slightly higher resource usage in scenarios with extremely high concurrency, it compensates with its proven track record in handling enterprise-level workloads. Tomcat’s performance benefits from its maturity, extensive optimizations, and the continuous refinement brought about by its active community.

Eclipse Jetty

Eclipse Jetty, on the other hand ,is a software that runs fast and uses little memory, which makes it ideal for situations where resources are scarce. Because Jetty’s architecture prioritizes efficiency, it is a good fit for applications where reducing resource use is essential.

When circumstances demand high concurrency and fast response times, Jetty performs exceptionally well. Applications that prioritise scalability will find it to be the perfect option due to its capacity to manage a high volume of connections with efficiency. Jetty is a great option for microservices systems where responsiveness and agility are very crucial due to its small size and fast launch.

2. Ease of Configuration

Apache Tomcat

Configuring Apache Tomcat is traditionally accomplished through XML files, offering administrators a powerful yet intricate mechanism to fine-tune server settings. Although this XML-based configuration might seem complicated, it offers a great deal of flexibility and permits in-depth customization of different server components. Administrators may find full instructions on how to modify thread pools, connection timeouts, security settings, and other aspects in the documentation that is included with Tomcat’s configuration files.

Administrators familiar with XML and experienced in managing complex configurations may find Tomcat’s approach intuitive. Additionally, the XML configuration makes it easier to divide off the concerns, giving you exact control over the various server components. While there might be a bit of a learning curve initially, this approach offers a strong basis and groundwork for tailoring Tomcat to specific deployment requirements.

Eclipse Jetty

Jetty differentiates itself with an easier-to-understand and more flexible configuration approach. Jetty allows configuration programmatically either Java code or via short XML files. The ability for programmatic setup is especially desirable for those who would rather manage settings via code.

Although they are not as large as Tomcat’s, Jetty’s XML configuration files are meant to be clear and concise. Because of its simplicity, both system administrators and developers can more easily navigate the setup procedure. Jetty frequently provides a respectable balance between simplicity and flexibility when it comes to setup options. It is thus a great choice in scenarios when setting simplicity is required.

3. Embedded Use

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is primarily designed as a standalone server, and while it can be embedded within applications, this is not its native use case. Embedding Tomcat typically involves additional configuration steps and may not be as straightforward as with Eclipse Jetty. Tomcat’s architecture is optimized for traditional web server deployments, and embedding it in applications might require dealing with certain complexities.

While embedding Tomcat is feasible, developers and system architects should be prepared for additional configuration challenges compared to more embed-friendly solutions. This is particularly relevant for projects where creating self-contained, embedded applications is a primary consideration.

Eclipse Jetty

Eclipse Jetty shines when it comes to embedded use. Because of its adaptable architecture, developers can easily include Jetty into Java applications. Because Jetty is lightweight and modular in design, developers can include just the components that are really needed, which reduces the embedded server’s footprint. This leads to a more seamless integration process.

Particularly in microservices architectures where the creation of autonomous components is crucial, Jetty’s emphasis on embedding aligns with modern development methodologies. Because Jetty is easy to incorporate into projects, developers may quickly produce stand-alone applications.

4. Community and Ecosystem

Apache Tomcat

As a result of its extensive use and longevity in the Java web server market, Apache Tomcat has a sizable and vibrant community. Tomcat’s community support is seen in its extensive documentation, active forums, and wealth of third-party resources. To expand the capabilities, boost functionality, and boost overall reliability of the platform, administrators and developers can make use of the many plugins and extensions that are readily available in the Tomcat ecosystem.

Eclipse Jetty

Jetty benefits from the support of the Eclipse Foundation, and while its community might not be as extensive as Tomcat’s, it is dynamic and actively growing. The Jetty community is renowned for being helpful and very cooperative as they offers insightful support via forums and documentation.  The Eclipse Foundation’s commitment to open-source development further enhances the collaborative spirit within the Jetty community.

5. Supported Technologies

Apache Tomcat

  • Java-Centric Focus:
    • Excels in supporting Java Servlets, JSP, and the Java EE stack.
    • Well-established for traditional Java web development practices.
  • Compatibility:
    • Seamlessly runs a wide range of Java-based web applications.
    • Integrates with popular Java frameworks and libraries.
  • Modular Architecture:
    • Allows customization by adding or removing components based on application requirements.

Eclipse Jetty

  • Diverse Technology Support:
    • Extends support beyond Java EE, including WebSocket, SPDY, and HTTP/2.
    • Adaptable to modern web development practices.
  • Flexibility through Modularity:
    • Modular architecture enables users to include only necessary components.
    • Ideal for applications that prioritize innovation and adopt the latest web standards.
  • Emerging Protocols:
    • Capable of handling cutting-edge protocols like SPDY and HTTP/2, contributing to enhanced performance.

6. Security

Apache Tomcat

With a focus on security, Apache Tomcat makes sure to offer a stable and safe environment for Java-based online applications.

Here are key aspects of Tomcat’s security features:

  • Regular Updates: Tomcat undergoes regular updates to address security vulnerabilities promptly, contributing to a secure runtime environment.
  • Role-Based Access Control: It implements role-based access control mechanisms, allowing administrators to define and manage user permissions with granularity.
  • SSL/TLS Support: Tomcat offers comprehensive support for SSL/TLS encryption, ensuring secure data transmission over the network, particularly crucial for protecting sensitive information.
  • Configurable Authentication: Administrators have the flexibility to configure various authentication mechanisms, providing options to tailor authentication to the specific security requirements of the application.

Eclipse Jetty:

Eclipse Jetty is committed to security as well; security issues are addressed and a secure runtime environment is created through frequent updates.

Here are key aspects of Jetty’s security features:

  • Integrated Security Mechanisms: Jetty features well-integrated security mechanisms that strike a balance between robust security and ease of use, making security management more accessible for developers.
  • Modular Security Configurations: Jetty’s modular architecture extends to security configurations, allowing fine-tuning based on specific security requirements. This flexibility guarantees that security may be customized to meet the requirements of the application.

7. Maturity and Stability:

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is an established favorite among Java web servers, its reliability and maturity further enhanced by its long and distinguished history.

 Key aspects of Tomcat’s maturity include:

  • Longevity and Track Record:
    • Tomcat’s extensive history in the Java web server domain reflects its maturity.
    • The stability of the server has been confirmed by its successful deployment in a number of situations.
  • Enterprise-Grade Stability:
    • Because of its strong reputation for stability, Tomcat is a highly preferred choice for enterprise-level applications.
    • Its reliability has already been proven which makes it a solid option for important installations.
  • Extensive Use Cases:
    • Tomcat has been proven beneficial in a variety of different tech-industries as well as in a different types of application’s scenarios
    • Due to its consistent ability to suit the needs of many web applications, it has remained strong over time.

Eclipse Jetty

Eclipse Jetty, although not as seasoned as Tomcat, has demonstrated growing maturity and stability over the years. Its unique characteristics in terms of maturity and stability include:

  • Growing Maturity:
    • Despite being newer, Jetty has achieved significant maturity through continuous development and successful deployments.
    • As the user base has grown, the server has become more reliable and trustworthy.
  • Reliability in Modern Architectures:
    • Flexibility in supporting modern systems, like those with microservices and resource limitations, is one way that Jetty demonstrates its dependability.
    • It performs best in situations when a small and effective server is essential.
  • Responsive Development:
    • The development team and Jetty community continue to evolve the server and respond quickly to issues.
    • Additionally, Jetty’s stability and suitability for modern web development are improved via frequent updates.


In Conclusion of Java-based web servers, Apache Tomcat and Eclipse Jetty are standout contenders. Picture them as skilled individuals competing to be the best server manager. Because of its strong performance, stability, and established community, Tomcat is a reliable option for a wide range of applications.

Even though Jetty is newer, it excels in situations when resources are limited and in contemporary systems like microservices because of her quickness, flexibility, and simplicity. Tomcat’s dependability and Jetty’s flexibility meet various needs in the dynamic world of web development, thus which one to use depends on the particulars of the project.

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