JBoss vs Tomcat: A Comprehensive Comparison

Apache Tomcat and WildFly (formerly known as JBoss Application Server) are both popular open-source Java-based application servers, but they have differences in terms of features, architecture, and the development communities around them. Let’s dig into a comparison between Apache Tomcat and WildFly.

Overview of JBoss vs Tomcat

Apache Tomcat
and WildFly are both popular open-source Java application servers that provide the runtime environment for Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages (JSP), and other web application technologies. However, they differ in their features, complexity, and target use cases.

Apache Tomcat is a lightweight, standalone servlet container that is specifically designed to handle the basic tasks of serving web applications. It is widely used in production environments for deploying simple web applications and for serving as an embedded servlet container within other applications. Tomcat is relatively simple to configure and use, and it is known for its stability and reliability.

WildFly is a full-fledged Java EE application server that offers a comprehensive range of features for building and deploying enterprise-grade web applications. It supports a wide variety of Java EE specifications, including EJB, JPA, CDI, and Security. WildFly is also more complex to configure and manage than Tomcat, but it provides a wider range of features and flexibility for developing and deploying more complex applications. If you are completely new to WIldFly, we recommend checking this article: What is WildFly application server?

Let’s compare the main feature of each product:

1. Origin and Community:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Developed by the Apache Software Foundation.
    • It is a part of the Apache Jakarta Project.
    • Large and active community support.
  • WildFly:
    • Developed by Red Hat.
    • Formerly known as JBoss Application Server.
    • Supported by the JBoss Community and Red Hat.

2. Java EE / Jakarta EE Compatibility:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Implements the Servlet and JSP specifications (part of Java EE).
    • Can be extended with additional technologies, but it’s primarily a Servlet container.
  • WildFly:
    • Fully Java EE (now Jakarta EE) compliant.
    • Supports a broader range of Java EE technologies, including EJB, JMS, JPA, etc.

3. Modularity:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Tomcat is modular, but it primarily focuses on serving Servlets and JSPs.
    • You can add additional components, but it’s not as modular as WildFly.
  • WildFly:
    • Offers a highly modular architecture.
    • Allows you to enable or disable subsystems based on your application’s needs.

4. Management and Configuration:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Configuration is typically done through XML files.
    • Administration and monitoring tools might need to be added separately.
  • WildFly:
    • Advanced management console for configuration.
    • Supports a web-based administration console (WildFly Admin Console) for managing server resources and deployments.

5. Clustering and High Availability:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Provides basic clustering support.
    • Limited high availability features compared to full Java EE servers.
  • WildFly:
    • Offers advanced clustering and high availability features.
    • Supports features like session replication, distributed caching, and load balancing.

6. Embedded Mode:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Supports an embedded mode that allows embedding Tomcat directly within a Java application.
  • WildFly:
    • Also supports embedded mode but is generally more feature-rich for full-scale application server use.

7. Ecosystem:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • More lightweight and commonly used for smaller applications or when specific Java EE features are not required.
  • WildFly:
    • Suitable for larger enterprise applications requiring the full set of Jakarta EE features.

8. Adoption and Industry Use:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Widely adopted, especially for smaller and simpler Java applications.
    • Often used in combination with other technologies like Apache HTTP Server.
  • WildFly:
    • Commonly used in enterprise settings where full Jakarta EE support is required.
    • Often associated with Red Hat technologies.

9. Licensing:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Apache License 2.0.
  • WildFly:
    • GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) for community projects and commercial support from Red Hat.

10. Support and Documentation:

  • Apache Tomcat:
    • Extensive documentation and community support.
    • Many resources available due to its widespread usage.
  • WildFly:
    • Good documentation and community support.
    • Commercial support available through Red Hat.
jboss vs tomcat


The choice between Apache Tomcat and WildFly depends on the specific requirements of your application. If you need a lightweight server primarily for Servlets and JSPs, Apache Tomcat might be sufficient. However, if you require the full Java EE (or Jakarta EE) stack with features like EJBs, JMS, and more, WildFly is a more suitable choice. Additionally, considerations such as modularity, clustering, and management tools should be taken into account based on the needs of your project.