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Install and configure a development Web server in UNIX

Build a fast, functional, and free Web server while jump-starting your UNIX skills

Matthew Skamser, Software Consultant, Solution Destination, Inc.
author photo
Matthew L. Skamser is an IT consultant and Studio B author with more than 10 years of experience architecting, administering, troubleshooting, and tuning Web applications in enterprise server environments. His clients have included IBM, Lockheed Martin/United States Air Force, and WorldBank. He has multiple IBM Certified Systems Expert certifications and received his bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems from Northern Arizona University. You can reach Matthew at

Summary:  Get a detailed, step-by-step approach to installing and configuring a development or test Apache Tomcat server. Along the way, pick up helpful tips on how to build and administer your Web or application server in a UNIX® environment.

Date:  15 Jul 2008
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (358 KB)Get Adobe® Reader®

Activity:  29066 views

Before you start

Learn what to expect from this tutorial and how to get the most out of it.

About this tutorial

So, you want (or need) to install a fully functional application server for developing, testing, deploying, and tuning your Java™ 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE™) application? Or perhaps you just want to learn something new, so you decided to stand up your own application server environment. Where do you start?

Regardless of your motivation, if you're reading this tutorial, you're likely familiar with the basics of how a Web site works and what may be needed as the lowest common denominator for accessing an application from your browser (domain, code, Web browser, database, and so on). As long as you know the basics, have a need for a Web or application server, have access to a UNIX server, and have a desire to learn a thing or three about Web server administration, this tutorial is for you.


In this tutorial, you will find:

  • An introduction to Apache Tomcat and UNIX, as well as what you need to begin.
  • A comparison of enterprise versus stand-alone Web architectures.
  • How to set up your UNIX server from scratch to prepare for installation of your Web or application server.
  • Detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to install and start your Tomcat Web server.
  • Information on setting up access to the Tomcat Web Application Manager.
  • Instructions for deploying a sample application.
  • Additional resources.

All this while slowly molding you . . . scratch that—quickly chiseling you into a beginner UNIX administrator.


This tutorial assumes that you have already installed the base UNIX operating system of your choice. To run the examples in this tutorial, you must also have Tomcat version 6 installed and running.

System requirements

Your server should have at least 10GB of available hard disk space and a minimum of 512MB of RAM. You need the following additional tools installed on your UNIX server before you can begin:

  • A Web browser: Any browser will do.
  • Java 2 Standard Edition Runtime Environment (JRE) release version 5.0 or later: Apache Tomcat version 6 requires the JRE.
  • A C compiler: Unfortunately, the base UNIX builds for flavors such as Solaris and IBM® AIX® do not come with such a compiler. See the link to the GNU GCC article in Resources for more information.
  • File-extraction tools: On your server, you will likely need gunzip, tar, bzcat, and possibly GNU make and tar (gmake, gtar —available for download from the GNU site) to properly extract the files.

    To check which tools if any are already running on your server, run the following command:

    cd /usr
    Find . –name *.tar (repeat for *make, *zip, etc.)

  • Tomcat code: You need to download the Tomcat version 6 code from the Apache download site before proceeding. Save the tar.gz file to your server.

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Zone=AIX and UNIX
TutorialTitle=Install and configure a development Web server in UNIX