What Is the Difference Between Tomcat Apache Web Server and IIS Server?


Larry Thompson

The difference between Tomcat Apache Web Server and IIS Server is a topic that often confuses beginners in the field of web development. Both servers are widely used and offer different features and functionalities. In this article, we will explore the key differences between these two servers.

Tomcat Apache Web Server

Tomcat Apache Web Server is an open-source server developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It is primarily designed to execute Java servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSP). Tomcat is a Java-based web server that provides a pure Java HTTP web server environment for running Java code.

One of the key advantages of Tomcat is its portability. It can be run on various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS, making it highly versatile. Additionally, Tomcat offers excellent support for Java technologies and provides easy integration with other Apache projects like the Apache HTTP server.

  • Java Support: Tomcat serves as a container for Java web applications, allowing them to run efficiently on multiple platforms.
  • Lightweight: Compared to other servers, Tomcat has a smaller footprint and consumes fewer system resources.
  • Flexible Configuration: Tomcat’s configuration files are easy to understand and modify, allowing developers to customize settings based on their requirements.

IIS Server

IIS (Internet Information Services), developed by Microsoft, is a web server software that runs on Windows operating systems. It supports various protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SMTP, and NNTP.

IIS has been designed to work seamlessly with Microsoft technologies such as ASP.NET for server-side scripting and Microsoft SQL Server for database management. This integration offers a significant advantage for developers working in a Windows-based environment.

  • Windows Integration: IIS is tightly integrated with Windows and provides seamless support for Microsoft technologies.
  • Scalability: IIS can handle a large number of concurrent connections and is well-suited for enterprise-level applications.
  • Security: IIS includes various security features, such as request filtering, SSL encryption, and IP address restriction, to ensure the safety of web applications.

Differences Between Tomcat Apache Web Server and IIS Server

The key differences between Tomcat Apache Web Server and IIS Server are as follows:

Platform Compatibility

Tomcat is designed to work on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. It provides developers with the freedom to choose their preferred operating system. On the other hand, IIS is exclusively designed for Windows operating systems and fully integrates with Microsoft technologies.

Language Support

Tomcat primarily supports Java-based web applications. It provides a runtime environment for executing Java servlets and JSPs. In contrast, IIS supports multiple programming languages such as ASP.NET (C# or VB.NET), PHP, and classic ASP.


In terms of flexibility, Tomcat offers more configuration options compared to IIS. Developers can easily modify Tomcat’s configuration files to customize settings according to their needs. On the other hand, while IIS does provide some customization options, it may not offer the same level of flexibility as Tomcat.

Suitability for Enterprise-Level Applications

IIS is often preferred for enterprise-level applications due to its scalability and seamless integration with Microsoft technologies. It can handle a large number of concurrent connections efficiently. Tomcat, on the other hand, is lightweight and well-suited for smaller projects or applications that do not require extensive Windows integration.


In summary, the choice between Tomcat Apache Web Server and IIS Server depends on various factors such as platform compatibility, language support, flexibility, and the specific requirements of the project at hand. Both servers have their strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these differences will help developers make an informed decision when selecting a web server for their projects.

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