How and Where to Download WebSphere Application Server

5 min read

Official guide to WebSphere Application Server downloads for trial and development use

WebSphere Application Server is the world's leading JEE application platform, used by thousands of enterprises running over a million applications in production. If you've installed it before and want to download the latest version, or you just want to download a trial version to evaluate WebSphere (WAS), this blog outlines what's in each edition and the associated licenses.

What WebSphere App Server editions are available for download?

WebSphere is available in two editions, WebSphere Liberty (WAS) and traditional WebSphere (often called "tWAS"). WebSphere Liberty is a highly composable, dynamic application server runtime environment. Thanks to its fast startup and minimal footprint, it's perfect for cloud-native microservices application development. The traditional WebSphere edition continues the evolution from the original release in June 1998.

The actual binary downloads of each edition are identical but they have different use and licensing considerations, depending on whether they'll be used for evaluation (trial use), development (developer use), or limited production (small company use). These editions are available at no cost, but do not include official support from IBM:

  • Try/buy use: You can download any edition of either traditional WebSphere or WebSphere Liberty and use it for free for 60 days with no restrictions. There is no formal support from IBM.
  • Single developer use: As a developer, you can download any edition of either traditional WebSphere or WebSphere Liberty and use it for free for development purposes, as long as it is used on a single-developer machine (e.g., the "desktop" can be physical or virtual). There is no formal support from IBM.
  • Small company use: The International License Agreement for Non-warranted programs (ILAN) license allows you to download either traditional WebSphere Application Server or WebSphere Application Server Liberty and use it, unsupported and with no restrictions, as long as the total cumulative JVM heap space across all running instances at your company doesn't exceed 2 gigabytes. This is intended mainly for individual or small company use.

If you're a lawyer, or you've got an inexplicit interest in the details of license agreements, check out the latest license for IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty

How to download WebSphere App Server

WebSphere is installed using IBM Installation Manager and one of these repositories:

Just point Installation Manager to the repository with the product you want to install, and it will take care of the rest.

Additional use and license details

The first section was an abbreviated version of the use and licenses options; below are the details:

WebSphere Try/Buy License 

This is is just two different licenses in the same License Information document. If you look at the beginning of any WebSphere license, you’ll see the phrase "Two license agreements are presented below," followed by a short blurb explaining how “try/buy” works, and then the full text of both licenses.

As outlined in the first “Evaluation of Programs” license, you can download any edition of WebSphere and try it for free, unsupported but with no usage restrictions, for 60 days. This includes installing and using any Supported Programs required by WebSphere. It's an easy, low-effort way to try out any edition of WebSphere. After you've fallen in love with WebSphere during the trial, you naturally buy it, at which point the IBM standard license agreement (IPLA) takes effect.

WebSphere Single-developer use

All editions of WebSphere are free for development use, which is defined in the license as “a physical or virtual desktop environment, running WebSphere and used by no more than one developer.” It’s intended for coding, building, and testing of a single developer’s efforts. In the License document, look for the section entitled "Use of the Program on a Developer Machine for development and unit test purposes." 

Note: You can get IBM Support for development use through your production-use WebSphere support; you don’t need separate paid support for single-developer use.

WebSphere Small company use

There’s another variation of the WebSphere license called ILAN (“International License Agreement for Non-warranted programs”) that allows you to use WebSphere for an unlimited period of time, unsupported (i.e., “Non-warranted”), and with no usage restrictions—as long as you don’t use more than a total of 2Gb of JVM heap space cumulatively across your company. In other words, all the JVM heap space used by all instances of WebSphere in your company added together cannot exceed 2Gb.  

This license is intended for use by individuals or smaller groups—most larger companies are going to use more than 2Gb of total JVM heap space—but if you can fit your use into this space restriction, have at it!

You can check out the blog post "What the Liberty runtime license lets you do" for more details on how to manage JVM heap space since what the post describes using Liberty applies equally well to the WebSphere ILAN license model. This is mainly because Liberty can be configured to have a much lower JVM heap space requirement, but the WebSphere ILAN license is not restricted to Liberty. See License Information: IBM WebSphere Application Server V9.0.0.10 (5724-J08) for more details.

What about Open Liberty?

In 2017, most of the WebSphere Liberty source code, as well as its development, was moved into the Open Liberty open source project under the EPL 1.0 license. Open Liberty is the easiest way for developers to obtain and contribute to the advancement of Liberty; there is also an IBM Support option available for Open Liberty.

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