Installing Apache Tomcat on Windows

Since this article was first written, Lucee has a Windows Installer which installs Tomcat with Lucee.


Before we start with the installation, we need to dive into some basics:

What we don't like

  • A mix of binaries (exe, dll-files) and configuration data (eg. XML files) in the application directory
  • The software needs change permissions to write data into his application directory
  • A windows service needs System Authority permissions

What we really like

  • The application can live perfectly with read permissions in its application directory
  • The data of the application can be stored in a data directory on a different drive as C-drive
  • A windows service can run with a low privileged user permissions

This guide will fully cover a setup of Apache Tomcat to fulfill these goals from What we really like above.

In terms of Apache Tomcat, we split the files by setting Tomcat's main variables to the Application path and Data path later on:

catalina.home=C:\Program Files\Tomcat

Before we start, let's download Apache Tomcat from this page: Tomcat 8 Downloads. Scroll down a bit and choose the link 64-bit Windows zip. Download the product and unzip the content to a temporary folder on your server.


  1. Create the folders C:\Program Files\Tomcat, C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin and C:\Program Files\Tomcat\lib
  2. Browse the expanded content in your temporary folder and change into the folder apache-tomcat-8.0.18.
  3. Copy the five files from the root in to the folder C:\Program Files\Tomcat
  4. Goto the folder named bin.
  5. Copy all files, except *.bat, *.gz and *.sh to the folder C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin. We don't need the batch files: The Tomcat service will get his configuration from the Windows registry instead.
  6. Go back one level and goto to the folder named lib
  7. Copy all files to the folder C:\Program Files\Tomcat\lib

That's it, at least for the application folder. Tomcat requires approximately 10MB of diskspace.

Command line:

md "C:\Program Files\Tomcat"
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\*.* "C:\Program Files\Tomcat" /Y
md "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin"
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\bin\*.exe "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin" /Y
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\bin\*.dll "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin" /Y
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\bin\*.jar "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin" /Y
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\bin\*.xml "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin" /Y
md "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\lib"
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\lib\*.jar "C:\Program Files\Tomcat\lib" /Y

Note: You can paste the content of the container above directly into the command line of the server.

Now lets do the same for the configuration and data folder:

  1. Create the folders: D:\Tomcat, D:\Tomcat\conf and D:\Tomcat\webapps.
  2. Goto the folder named conf.
  3. Copy all files to the folder D:\Tomcat\conf
  4. Create the folders D:\Tomcat\webapps\host-manager, D:\Tomcat\webapps\manager and D:\Tomcat\webapps\ROOT.
  5. Goto the folder named webapps.
  6. Copy the folders host-manager, manager and ROOT to the matching folder on the target. All these folders have subfolders.
  7. Create the folders D:\Tomcat\logs, D:\Tomcat\endorsed, D:\Tomcat\temp and D:\Tomcat\work. Some of these directories remain empty until the very first start of Tomcat.

Command line:

md D:\Tomcat
md D:\Tomcat\conf
copy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\conf\*.* D:\Tomcat\conf /Y
md D:\Tomcat\webapps
md D:\Tomcat\webapps\host-manager
xcopy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\webapps\host-manager\*.* D:\Tomcat\webapps\host-manager /s /Y
md D:\Tomcat\webapps\manager
xcopy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\webapps\manager\*.* D:\Tomcat\webapps\manager /s /Y
md D:\Tomcat\webapps\ROOT
xcopy D:\temp\apache-tomcat-8.0.18\webapps\ROOT\*.* D:\Tomcat\webapps\ROOT /s /Y
md D:\Tomcat\endorsed
md D:\Tomcat\logs
md D:\Tomcat\temp
md D:\Tomcat\work

We finished the basic installation. Now we have to edit some of the configuration files.

Let's go to the folder D:\Tomcat\conf.


Catalina's default host needs some tweaking. Find the line:

<Host name="localhost" appBase="webapps"
            unpackWARs="true" autoDeploy="true">

Change this line to:

<Host name="localhost" appBase="D:\Tomcat\webapps" workDir="D:\Tomcat\work\Catalina\localhost" unpackWARs="true" autoDeploy="true">

A few lines below, you will find the line:

<Valve className="org.apache.catalina.valves.AccessLogValve" directory="logs"

We need to specify the full path to the log directory:

<Valve className="org.apache.catalina.valves.AccessLogValve" directory="D:\Tomcat\logs"

The next step is optional. Tomcat and Lucee are listening on port 8080 to access the administrator interface. Other web servers might use this port already or if you suffer from a security paranoia like i do, we want to have this port on a really weard number.

Note: The Lucee'ians are used to have port 8888 to access the administrator interface.

Find the setting:

<Connector port="8080" protocol="HTTP/1.1"
               redirectPort="8443" />

Change the port 8080 to the new port.

If you like to access the Tomcat Administration from outside of the server, the Windows firewall needs to be opened with a rule:

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="Apache Tomcat" dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=8888 program="C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin\tomcat8.exe" profile=ANY

You don't like the command prompt? Add the rule with the firewall applet in the control panel. Be sure, that the port is limited to the main exe file C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin\tomcat8.exe.

Todo: maxHttpHeaderSize="8192" (Default: 4096) minSpareThreads="25" (Default: 4) disableUploadTimeout="true" (Default: false)


This file holds rules, usernames and passwords to access the administrator interface of Tomcat. The access to the administrator interface is disabled by default:

  <role rolename="tomcat"/>
  <role rolename="role1"/>
  <user username="tomcat" password="tomcat" roles="tomcat"/>
  <user username="both" password="tomcat" roles="tomcat,role1"/>
  <user username="role1" password="tomcat" roles="role1"/>

Replace the content with this:

<role rolename="admin-gui"/>
<role rolename="manager-gui"/>
<user name="AccountName" password="VeryStrongPassword" roles="admin-gui,manager-gui" />

Choose a clever name for the administrator account. For security reasons, do not choose admin or administrator! The password should contain a mix between upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters like _-!.

This is an optional task, which cuts the time Tomcat takes to start:

Find the line:


Remove the lines below until the next comment and change the line to:


Instead of skipping the list of JAR's at startup, Tomcat will skip all JAR's.

Find the line:


Add a remark in front of the line:



An minor update requires mostly only the replacement of the files in the folders C:\Program Files\Tomcat\bin and C:\Program Files\Tomcat\lib. Stop the Tomcat service, replace the files and start the service. That's it.