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Tomcat Hot Deployment

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Tomcat is a popular open-source web server and servlet container used for running Java web applications. One of the most useful features of Tomcat is its ability to perform hot deployment of web applications, which means that developers can make changes to the code of an application and have those changes immediately reflected in the running application without having to restart the server.

In this blog post, we'll explore what hot deployment is, how it works in Tomcat, and some best practices for using it.

What is hot deployment?

Hot deployment is the process of deploying changes to an application without stopping the server or interrupting the service. In the context of web applications, it means that changes to the code, configuration, or resources of an application can be made and those changes can be immediately available to users without requiring a server restart.

Hot deployment is particularly useful during development and testing phases when frequent changes are being made to the application code. Without hot deployment, developers would have to stop and restart the server every time they made a change, which can be time-consuming and disruptive.

How does hot deployment work in Tomcat?

Tomcat supports hot deployment of web applications through its auto-deployment feature. When a web application is deployed to Tomcat, it is placed in the webapps directory of the Tomcat installation. Tomcat automatically detects changes to the contents of the webapps directory and deploys or undeploys applications as necessary.

To perform hot deployment, simply make the necessary changes to the application's code or resources and save the changes. Tomcat will detect the changes and automatically reload the application, making the changes immediately available.

Best practices for using hot deployment

While hot deployment can be a powerful tool, it's important to use it carefully to avoid potential issues. Here are some best practices for using hot deployment in Tomcat:

  • Use it for development and testing only: Hot deployment is not intended for use in production environments. Changes made during hot deployment may not be fully tested and can cause unexpected behavior in a live application.

  • Avoid making changes to configuration files during runtime: Tomcat does not automatically reload changes to configuration files during runtime, so changes to these files may not take effect until the server is restarted.

  • Keep an eye on memory usage: Hot deployment can cause memory leaks if it's not used properly. Monitor memory usage during development and testing to ensure that the application is not consuming excessive memory.

  • Use version control: Version control tools like Git can be used to keep track of changes made during development and testing. This can make it easier to roll back changes if necessary.


Hot deployment is a useful feature of Tomcat that allows developers to make changes to web applications without having to stop and restart the server. By following best practices and using it only during development and testing, developers can take advantage of this feature to increase productivity and reduce downtime.