# Tomcat-Apache HOWTO

This document explains how to connect Tomcat to the popular open source web server, Apache. It was originally part of Tomcat: A Minimalistic User's Guide by Gal Shachor, but has been split off for organizational reasons. It should be considered a work in progress. Since the Tomcat source tree is constantly changing, the information herein may be out of date. The only definitive reference at this point is the source code.

Other important documents:

Other Tomcat-Apache HOWTOs: [should be integrated into this one?]

[write me]

### Apache - Tomcat Cooperation - Sample Server Integration

Up until now we have not discussed Tomcat as a server add on, instead we have considered it as a stand-alone container and discussed how it can be used.  There are however a few problems with this picture:

1. Tomcat is not as fast as Apache when it comes to static pages.
2. Tomcat is not as configurable as Apache.
3. Tomcat is not as robust as Apache.
4. There are many sites with long time investment in certain web servers, for example, sites that are using CGI scripts/Server API modules/perl/php.  We cannot assume that all of them will want to ditch this legacy.

For all these reasons it is recommended that real world sites use an industrial strength web server, such as Apache, for serving the static content of the site, and use Tomcat as a Servlet/JSP add-on.

Our agenda:

1. Cover the fundamental behavior of the web server.
2. Explain what configuration is needed.
3. Demonstrate this on Apache.

### Common Installation and Configuration Problems

This section isn't meant to be your one-stop shop for all troubles Tomcat, but a resource for stumbling blocks common to many first-time Tomcat'ers.  See the help section for additional links.

#### http://webserver:8007/ gives a 500

This is what you should see in your tomcat.log file:

HANDLER THREAD PROBLEM: java.io.IOException: Stream broken

By default, Tomcat listens for AJP connections on port 8007.  AJP is the protocol used to communicate between the web server and Tomcat, not Tomcat and your browser.  To test your Tomcat installation, FIX ME ?

#### <Directory> and <Location> directives ignored

FIX ME Apache never applies because forwarded to Tomcat.

#### Web server won't start when Tomcat is running

FIX ME Port conflict.

#### "Bad command or filename" when executing Tomcat scripts

[FIX ME] UNIX file format on DOS.  Because Tomcat is developed on *nix (rather, the jars are built and distributed there), you may have to convert the files to PC (versus UNIX) format.

## Setting Tomcat to Cooperate with the Apache Web Server

### Web Server Operation

In a nutshell a web server is waiting for client HTTP requests. When these requests arrive the server does whatever is needed to serve the requests by providing the necessary content. Adding a servlet container may somewhat change this behavior. Now the web server needs also to perform the following:

• Load the servlet container adapter library and initialize it (prior to serving requests).
• When a request arrives, it needs to check and see if a certain request belongs to a servlet, if so it needs to let the adapter take the request and handle it.
The adapter on the other hand needs to know what requests it is going to serve, usually based on some pattern in the request URL, and to where to direct these requests.

Things are even more complex when the user wants to set a configuration that uses virtual hosts, or when they want multiple developers to work on the same web server but on different servlet container JVMs. We will cover these two cases in the advanced sections.

### What is the Needed Configuration

The most obvious configuration that one can think of is the identity of the servlet URLs that are under the responsibility of the servlet container. This is clear; someone must know what requests to transmit to the servlet container... Yet there are additional configuration items that we should provide to the web-server/servlet-container combination:

• We also need to provide configuration regarding the available Tomcat processes and on which TCP/IP host/port they are listening.
• We need to tell the web server the location of the adapter library (so it will be able to load it on startup).
• We need to set adapter internal information such as where and how much to log, etc.
All this information must appear either in the web server configuration, or in a private configuration files used by the adapter. The next section will demonstrate how configuration can be implemented on Apache.

### Making it on Apache

This section shows you how to configure Apache to work with Tomcat; it tries to provide explanations as well as insight for the configuration directives that you should use. You can find additional information in the jserv install page .

When Tomcat starts up it will automatically generate a configuration file for Apache in TOMCAT_HOME/conf/jserv/tomcat-apache.conf. Most of the time you don't need to do anything but include this file (appending "Include TOMCAT_HOME/conf/jserv/tomcat-apache.conf") in your httpd.conf. If you have special needs, for example an AJP port other the 8007, you can use this file as a base for your customized configuration and save the results in another file. If you manage the Apache configuration yourself you'll need to update it whenever you add a new context.

Tomcat: you must restart tomcat and apache after adding a new context; Apache doesn't support configuration changes without a restart. Also the file TOMCAT_HOME/conf/jserv/tomcat-apache.conf is generated when tomcat starts, so you'll need to start Tomcat before Apache. Tomcat will overwrite TOMCAT_HOME/conf/tomcat-apache.conf each startup so customized configuration should be kept elsewhere.

The Apache-Tomcat configuration uses Apache core configuration directives as well as Jserv unique directives so it may confuse you at first, there are however two things simplifying it:

• In general you can distinguish between the two directive "families" by noting that all the Jserv unique directives start with an "ApJServ" prefix.
• The entire Tomcat related configuration is concentrated in a single configuration file named tomcat.conf, or the automatically generated tomcat-apache.conf, so you can look at a single file.
Lets look now at a sample tomcat.conf file.
  ########################################################### # A minimalistic Apache-Tomcat Configuration File # ########################################################### # Note: this file should be appended or included into your httpd.conf # (1) Loading the jserv module that serves as Tomcat's apache adapter. LoadModule jserv_module libexec/mod_jserv.so # (1a) Module dependent configuration. # (2) Meaning, Apache will not try to start Tomcat. ApJServManual on # (2a) Meaning, secure communication is off ApJServSecretKey DISABLED # (2b) Meaning, when virtual hosts are used, copy the mount # points from the base server ApJServMountCopy on # (2c) Log level for the jserv module. ApJServLogLevel notice # (3) Meaning, the default communication protocol is ajpv12 ApJServDefaultProtocol ajpv12 # (3a) Default location for the Tomcat connectors. # Located on the same host and on port 8007 ApJServDefaultHost localhost ApJServDefaultPort 8007 # (4) ApJServMount /examples /root # Full URL mount # ApJServMount /examples ajpv12://hostname:port/root 

As you can see the configuration process was split into 4 steps that will now be explained:

1. In this step we instruct Apache to load the jserv shared-object (or the NT world dll). This is a well known Apache directive. If the loading went well and the module came from a file named mod_jserv.c (1a) we can start with the rest of the Jserv-Tomcat configuration.
2. This step sets various Jserv internal parameters, these parameters:
• Instruct jserv not to start the Tomcat process. Automatically starting Tomcat is not implemented yet.
• Disable the secret key challenge/response between Apache and Tomcat. Again, the secret key work is not implemented yet.
• Instruct jserv to copy the base server mount points (see next section) in case of virtual hosting.
• Instruct jserv to use the notice log level. Other log levels include emerg, alert, crit, error, warn, info and debug.
3. This step sets the default communication parameters. Basically it says that the default protocol used for the communication is ajpv12 (do not mess with this one) and that the Tomcat process runs on the same machine and listens on port 8007. If you run Tomcat on a machine other than the one used for Apache you should either update your ApJServDefaultHost or use a full URL when mounting contexts (see next). Also, if you configured the Tomcat connectors to use a port other then 8007, you should update your ApJServDefaultPort or use a full URL when mounting contexts.
4. This step mounts a context to Tomcat. Basically it says that all the web server paths that start with /examples go to Tomcat. This ApJServMount example is a rather simple one, in fact ApJServMount can also provide information regarding the communication protocol to be used and the location where the Tomcat process listens, for example:
ApJServMount /examples ajpv12://hostname:port/root
mounts the context /examples to a Tomcat process that runs on host "hostname" and listens on port number "port".
Now that you understand the different configuration instructions in the sample file, how can you add it to the Apache configuration? One "simple" method is to write it's content in the httpd.conf (the Apache configuration file), this however can be very messy. Instead you should use the Apache include directive. At the end of the Apache configuration file (httpd.conf) add the following directive:
include <full path to the Tomcat configuration file>
for example:
include /tome/tomcat/conf/tomcat.conf
This will add your Tomcat configuration to Apache, after that you should copy the jserv module to the Apache libexec (or modules in the Win32 case) directory and restart (stop+start) Apache. It should now be able to connect to Tomcat.

### Obtaining the Jserv Module (mod_jserv)

As previously stated, we need a web server adapter to sit in Apache and redirect requests to Tomcat. For Apache, this adapter is a slightly modified version of mod_jserv.

You may try to look here and see if there is an already pre-built version of mod_jserv that suites your OS (Usually there is one for NT), however, being a native library you should not expect that yet (too many OS's, not enough developers, life too short...). Moreover, small variations in the way you built Apache/Your specific UNIX variant may result in dynamic linking errors. You should really try to build mod_jserv for your system (don't panic, it is not that hard!).

Building mod_jserv on UNIX involves the following:

2. Uncompress it into some directory.
3. Building the module:
• Change directory into jakarta-tomcat/src/native/apache/jserv/
• Execute the build command
apxs -c -o mod_jserv.so *.c
apxs is part of the Apache distribution and should be located in your APACHE_HOME/bin.
Building mod_jserv for Win32 is less likely (you already have a downloadable dll for Win32). Yet if you want to build it you should install Visual C++ and perform the following:
2. Unzip it into some directory.
3. Building the module:
• Change directory into jakarta-tomcat/src/native/apache/jserv
• Add Visual C++ into your environment by executing the script VCVARS32.BAT.
• Execute the build command
nmake -f Makefile.win32
nmake is the Visual C++ make program.
That's it; you have built mod_jserv...

### Making Apache Serve your Context's Static Files

The previous Apache-Tomcat configuration file was somewhat inefficient, it instructed Apache to send any request for a resource that starts with the /examples prefix to be served by Tomcat. Do we really want that? There are many static files that may be a part of our servlet context (for example images and static HTML), why should Tomcat serve these files?

You may actually have reasons for doing that, for example:

1. You may want to configure Tomcat based security for these resources.
2. You may want to follow users requests for static resources using interceptors.
In general however, this is not that case; and making Tomcat save static files is just a CPU waste. We should instead have Apache serve these static files and not Tomcat. Lets look now at a sample tomcat.conf file that does exactly that:

Having Apache serve the static files requires the following:

1. Instructing Apache to send all servlet requests to Tomcat.
2. Instructing Apache to send all JSP requests to Tomcat.
and leaving Apache to handle the rest. Lets look now at a sample tomcat.conf file that does exactly that:
  ###################################################################### # Apache-Tomcat Smart Context Redirection # ###################################################################### LoadModule jserv_module modules/ApacheModuleJServ.dll ApJServManual on ApJServDefaultProtocol ajpv12 ApJServSecretKey DISABLED ApJServMountCopy on ApJServLogLevel notice ApJServDefaultHost localhost ApJServDefaultPort 8007 # # Mounting a single smart context: # # (1) Make Apache know about the context location. Alias /examples D:/tomcat/webapps/examples # (2) Optional, customize Apache context service. Options Indexes FollowSymLinks # (2a) No directory indexing for the context root. # Options -Indexes # (2b) Set index.jsp to be the directory index file. # DirectoryIndex index.jsp # (3) Protect the WEB-INF directory from tampering. AllowOverride None deny from all # (4) Instructing Apache to send all the .jsp files under the context to the # jserv servlet handler. SetHandler jserv-servlet # (5) Direct known servlet URLs to Tomcat. ApJServMount /examples/servlet /examples # (6) Optional, direct servlet only contexts to Tomcat. ApJServMount /servlet /ROOT 

As you can see, the beginning of this configuration file is the same as seen in the previous example. The last step (mounting a context), however, was replaced in a long series of Apache and ApJServ configuration directives that will now be explained:

1. This step informs Apache of the context location and aliases it to an Apache virtual directory. This way Apache can serve files from this directory.
2. This optional step instructs Apache more about how to serve the context; for example you can decide if Apache will allow directory indexing (listing) or set a special index file.
3. This step instructs Apache to protect the WEB-INF directory from client access. For security reasons it is important to prevent visitors from viewing the content of the WEB-INF directory, for example web.xml can provide valuable information for intruders. This step blocks the WEB-INF content from visitors.
4. This step instructs Apache to serve all the jsp locations within the context using the jserv servlet handler. The servlet handler redirects these requests based on the default host and port.
5. This step mounts specific servlet URLs to Tomcat. You should note that you should have as many such mount directives as the number of specific servlet URLs.
6. This last step is an example for the addition of servlet only context to Tomcat.
It is easy to see that this configuration is much more complex and error prone then the first example, this however is the price that you should (for now) pay for improved performance.

### Configuring for Multiple Tomcat JVMs

Sometimes it is useful to have different contexts handled by different JVMs, for example:

• When each context serves a different, specific task and runs on a different machine.
• When we want to have multiple developers work on a private Tomcat process but use the same web server.
Implementing such schemes where different contexts are served by different JVMs is very easy and the following configuration file demonstrates this:

  ###################################################################### # Apache-Tomcat with JVM per Context # ###################################################################### LoadModule jserv_module modules/ApacheModuleJServ.dll ApJServManual on ApJServDefaultProtocol ajpv12 ApJServSecretKey DISABLED ApJServMountCopy on ApJServLogLevel notice ApJServDefaultHost localhost ApJServDefaultPort 8007 # Mounting the first context. ApJServMount /joe ajpv12://joe.corp.com:8007/joe # Mounting the second context. ApJServMount /bill ajpv12://bill.corp.com:8007/bill 

As you can see in the previous example, using several JVMs (even even those that run on different machines) can be accomplished easily by using a full ajp URL mount. In this full URL we actually specify the host where the Tomcat process is located and it's port.

Had the two Tomcat processes run on the same machine, we would have to configure each of them with different connector ports. For example, assuming that the two JVMs runs on localhost, the Apache-Tomcat configuration should have something that looks like:

  ###################################################################### # Apache-Tomcat with Same Machine JVM per Context # ###################################################################### LoadModule jserv_module modules/ApacheModuleJServ.dll ApJServManual on ApJServDefaultProtocol ajpv12 ApJServSecretKey DISABLED ApJServMountCopy on ApJServLogLevel notice ApJServDefaultHost localhost ApJServDefaultPort 8007 # Mounting the first context. ApJServMount /joe ajpv12://localhost:8007/joe # Mounting the second context. ApJServMount /bill ajpv12://localhost:8009/bill 

Looking at the above file you can see that we have two explicit ApJServ mount points each pointing to a different port on the same machine. It is clear that this configuration requires support from the configuration found in the server.xml files. We will need in these files different <Connector> configurations, for the different Tomcat processes. We will actually need two different server.xml files (lets call them server_joe.xml and server_bill.xml) with different <Connector> entries as shown in the next two samples:

  

When looking at server_joe.xml you can see that the <Connector> is configured for port 8007. In server_bill.xml (see next) on the other hand the <Connector> is configured for port 8009.

  

The port configuration is not the only place where the joe and bill configuration differs. We have @@@ marks in the xml files marking the four places where changes had to be made. As you can see, this difference is necessary to avoid the two Tomcat processes from overwriting each other's logs and workspace.

Then we should start the two tomcat processes using the -f command line option:

bin/starup -f conf/server_joe.xml
bin/starup -f conf/server_bill.xml
and then access them from Apache based on the different URL path prefixes.

### Configuring Virtual Hosting

It is possible to support virtual hosts under Tomcat Ver3.1, in fact the virtual host configuration is very similar to configuring for multiple JVM (as explained in the previous section) and the reason is simple; in Tomcat 3.1 each virtual host is implemented by a different Tomcat process.

With the current (Ver3.1) Tomcat, virtual hosting awareness is provided by the web server (Apache/Netscape…). The web server virtual hosting support is used by the Tomcat adapter to redirect requests belonging to a certain virtual host to the JVM(s) containing the contexts of this virtual host. This means that if (for example) we have two virtual hosts (vhost1 and vhost2), we will have two JVMs: one running the contexts of vhost1 and the other running the contexts of vhost2. These JVMs are not aware of each others existence, in fact, they are not aware of the concept of virtual hosting. All the virtual hosting logic is inside the web-server adapter. To make things clearer, lets look at the following sample Apache-Tomcat configuration file:

  ###################################################################### # Apache Tomcat Virtual Hosts Sample Configuration # ###################################################################### LoadModule jserv_module modules/ApacheModuleJServ.dll ApJServManual on ApJServDefaultProtocol ajpv12 ApJServSecretKey DISABLED ApJServMountCopy on ApJServLogLevel notice ApJServDefaultHost localhost ApJServDefaultPort 8007 # 1 Creating an Apache virtual host configuration NameVirtualHost 9.148.16.139 # 2 Mounting the first virtual host ServerName www.vhost1.com ApJServMount /examples ajpv12://localhost:8007/examples # 3 Mounting the second virtual host ServerName www.vhost2.com ApJServMount /examples ajpv12://localhost:8009/examples 

As can be seen, steps 1,2 and 3 define two Apache virtual hosts and for each of them, mount the /examples context to a certain ajpv12 URL. Each such ajpv12 URL points to a JVM that contains the virtual host. The configuration of the two JVMs is very similar to the one demonstrated in the previous section, we will need again to use two different server.xml files (one for each virtual host process) and we will need to start the Tomcat processes with the -f command line option. After doing that we will be able to approach Apache, each time with a different host name, and the adapter will redirect us to the appropriate JVM.

The need for improved virtual host support
Having each virtual host implemented by a different JVM is a huge scalability problem. The next versions of Tomcat will make it possible to support several virtual hosts within the same Tomcat JVM.

## Credits

This document was created by Gal Shachor. It was split off into a separate document and revised by Alex Chaffee and Rob Slifka.

With help from (in alphabetical order):
Jonathan Bnayahu
Alex Chaffee
Fiona Czuczman
Costin Manolache
Rob Slifka

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