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In my past experience (Tomcat 4.x), the Tomcat developers recommended against using the Tomcat built-in web server, saying that it was not reliable and was not recommended for production environments. This was before lighttpd and before nginx - and before varnish, etc.

In these days of Tomcat 6.x et al, it appears that things have changed.

Can anyone enlighten me with detailed recommendations from the Apache Foundation and with their own personal experiences?

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Not really the kind of answer you're looking for but I post the following (as a comment) since it might be of interest. The BuiltWith folks say they know of 211,577 sites using Apache Tomcat Coyote and that 3,729 of the Top Million Websites use it. See: – HTTP500 Jun 1 '11 at 20:58
And on this page: you can see that 184 or 219 (the graphic and the list at right don't seem to agree) of the top 10,000 sites use Apache Tomcat Coyote. – HTTP500 Jun 1 '11 at 21:06

We use tomcat 6 in production with the HTTP connector, behind haproxy. It's been stable so far, even under high load (~ 100hits/s at tomcat level).

Haproxy has a pretty strict HTTP parser, if tomcat would be doing anything funky, I would see it in the logs.

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