How To Install Tomcat on Debian 9 Stretch

Install Tomcat on Debian 9

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and configure Apache Tomcat on Debian 9 Stretch. For those of you who didn’t know, Apache Tomcat is an open-source web server and servlet container developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It implements the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Java Unified Expression Language, and Java WebSocket specifications from Sun Microsystems and provides a web server environment for Java code to run in.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of Apache Tomcat 8 on a Debian 9 (Stretch) server.


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Debian 9 (Stretch).
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • SSH access to the server (or just open Terminal if you’re on a desktop).
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Install Tomcat on Debian 9 Stretch

Step 1. Before we install any software, it’s important to make sure your system is up to date by running the following apt-get commands in the terminal:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Step 2. Installing Java (JRE or JDK).

Add the webupd8team Java PPA repository in your Debian system. After that you will be able to install the latest JRE:

echo "deb trusty main" | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/webupd8team-java.list
echo "deb-src trusty main" | tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/webupd8team-java.list
apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys EEA14886

Then, you will need to fully update the system with the following command and install it:

apt-get update
apt-get install oracle-java8-installer

Verify Installed Java Version.

java -version


java version "1.8.0_74"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_74-b02)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.74-b02, mixed mode)

Step 3. Installing Apache Tomcat.

For best practice, Tomcat should never be run as a privileged user (root). We recommend you create a separate system user that will run the Tomcat server. Therefore, issue the following command:

groupadd tomcat
useradd -g tomcat -d /opt/tomcat -s /bin/nologin tomcat

The first thing to do is to go to Apache Tomcat’s download page and download the latest stable version of Apache Tomcat, At the moment of writing this article it is version 8.5.20:

tar xzvf apache-tomcat-8.5.20.tar.gz
mv apache-tomcat-8.5.20/* /opt/tomcat/

Change the ownership of the extracted directory so that the tomcat user can write files in it.

chown -R tomcat:tomcat /opt/tomcat/

Let’s create a systemd init file so you can start/restart/stop Tomcat:

nano /etc/systemd/system/tomcat.service

Once opened, paste the following:

Description=Apache Tomcat 8.x Web Application Container


Environment='CATALINA_OPTS=-Xms512M -Xmx1G'




Enter the underneath commands to start Tomcat and enable it to start on boot:

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl restart tomcat
systemctl enable tomcat

Step 4. Configuring Firewall for Tomcat.

You may need to allow Tomcat server requests in the firewall so that we can access the application from the external network:

ufw allow 8080

Step 5. Finally, open apache tomcat from your browser, go to your IP or domain with the 8080 port (because Tomcat will always run on the 8080 port) as an example:, replace with your IP or domain.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Tomcat. Thanks for using this tutorial for installing Apache Tomcat on Ubuntu Debian 9 Stretch system. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official Apache Tomcat website.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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