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Version: 9.4.8.v20171121
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Using webdefault.xml

The webdefault.xml file saves web applications from having to define a lot of house-keeping and container-specific elements in their own web.xml files. For example, you can use it to set up MIME-type mappings and JSP servlet-mappings. Jetty applies webdefault.xml to a web application before the application’s own WEB-INF/web.xml, which means that it cannot override values inside the webapp’s web.xml. It uses the jetty.xml syntax. Generally, it is convenient for all webapps in a Jetty instance to share the same webdefault.xml file. However, it is certainly possible to provide differentiated ` webdefault.xml` files for individual web applications.

The webdefault.xml file is located in $(jetty.home)/etc/webdefault.xml.

Using webdefault.xml

You can specify a custom configuration file to use for specific webapps, or for all webapps. If you do not specify an alternate defaults descriptor, the $JETTY-HOME/etc/jetty-deploy.xml file will configure jetty to automatically use $JETTY_HOME/etc/webdefault.xml.


To ensure your webdefault.xml files are validated, you will need to set the validateXml attribute to true as described here.

The webdefault.xml included with the Jetty Distribution contains several configuration options, such as init params and servlet mappings, and is separated into sections for easy navigation. Some of the more common options include, but are not limited to:

If true, directory listings are returned if no welcome file is found. Otherwise 403 Forbidden displays.
If set to a comma separated list of file extensions, these indicate compressed formats that are known to map to a MIME-type that may be listed in a requests Accept-Encoding header. If set to a boolean True, then a default set of compressed formats will be used, otherwise no pre-compressed formats.
Maximum total size of the cache or 0 for no cache.
Maximum size of a file to cache.
Maximum number of files to cache.

Creating a Custom webdefault.xml for One WebApp

You can specify a custom webdefault.xml for an individual web application in that webapp’s jetty.xml as follows:

<Configure class="org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext">
  <!-- Set up the absolute path to the custom webdefault.xml -->
  <Set name="defaultsDescriptor">/my/path/to/webdefault.xml</Set>

The equivalent in code is:

import org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext;


    WebAppContext wac = new WebAppContext();
    //Set up the absolute path to the custom webdefault.xml.

Alternatively, you can use a Jetty Classloading to find the resource representing your custom webdefault.xml.

Creating a Custom webdefault.xml for Multiple WebApps

If you want to apply the same custom webdefault.xml to a number of webapps, provide the path to the file in jetty.xml in the $JETTY_HOME/etc/jetty-deploy.xml file:

   <Set name="defaultsDescriptor"><Property name="jetty.home" default="." />/other/path/to/another/webdefault.xml</Set>

Using the Jetty Maven Plugin

Similarly, when using the Jetty Maven Plugin you provide a customized webdefault.xml file for your webapp as follows:


Additional Resources

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2017-11-21)