Is Jetty a Web Server?


Larry Thompson

Is Jetty a Web Server?

When it comes to web servers, there are several options available in the market. One such option is Jetty.

But is Jetty really a web server? Let’s find out!

What is Jetty?

Jetty is a popular open-source Java-based HTTP (web) server and servlet container. It is designed to be lightweight, fast, and scalable, making it an excellent choice for both small and large-scale applications.

Features of Jetty

Jetty comes with a wide range of features that make it stand out among other web servers. Some of its notable features include:

  • Embeddable: Jetty can be easily embedded within your Java application, allowing you to have complete control over the server configuration and lifecycle.
  • Simplicity: Despite its powerful capabilities, Jetty is known for its simplicity. Its configuration is straightforward, making it easy to set up and use.
  • Asynchronous Support: Jetty supports asynchronous processing, which enables handling multiple requests concurrently without tying up threads.
  • WebSocket Support: It provides built-in support for WebSocket communication protocol, allowing real-time bidirectional communication between client and server.
  • Security: Jetty offers various security features such as SSL/TLS support, secure sessions management, request filtering, and more.

Jetty as a Servlet Container

In addition to being a web server, Jetty also serves as a servlet container. A servlet container provides an environment for executing Java servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSP) on the server-side.

Jetty’s servlet container implementation is compliant with the Java Servlet API specifications. It supports advanced features like servlet annotations, servlet filters, session management, and more.

Jetty vs. Other Web Servers

While Jetty is undoubtedly a capable web server and servlet container, it’s essential to understand how it compares to other popular web servers like Apache Tomcat and Nginx.

Apache Tomcat:

  • Tomcat is primarily designed as a Java-based servlet container. It lacks some of the advanced features and scalability options provided by Jetty.
  • Tomcat is widely used for deploying Java web applications but may not be the best choice for other use cases.


  • Nginx is a high-performance web server and reverse proxy server. While it can serve static content efficiently, it requires additional configurations to support Java-based applications.
  • Unlike Jetty, Nginx does not have built-in support for running Java servlets or JSPs. It requires an additional application server like Jetty or Tomcat to handle such requests.


In summary, Jetty is indeed a web server that also serves as a powerful servlet container. Its lightweight nature, simplicity, and extensive feature set make it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications. Whether you need a standalone web server or want to embed it within your Java application, Jetty offers reliable performance and scalability.

If you’re looking for a flexible and efficient solution for your web hosting needs or require an environment to run Java servlets and JSPs, consider giving Jetty a try!

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