Java Servlet Filter tutorial example using Eclipse & Tomcat

[ad name=”AD_INBETWEEN_POST”]Servlet Filters are the latest components that are added in Servlet 2.3 specifications. These filters are used basically for intercepting and modifying requests and response from server.  Consider a scenario where you want to check session from the every users request and if it is valid then only you want to let the user access the page. You can acheive this by checking sessions on all the servlet pages (or JSP pages) which users queries or you can do this by using Filter.

Let us create a Servlet Filter that just prints the clients ip address and date time. This is just to log users who are accessing the application.

We we use Eclipse for developing our application and Apache Tomcat for deploying and running our application.

Step 1: Create dynamic web project in Eclipse.

Starts eclipse and create a new dynamic web project with name ServletFilterProject. Select Target runtime environment. I have selected Apache Tomcat v6.0, you can select any Tomcat version that you have installed. Click on Finish.

Step 2: Create package & Servlet Filter class.

Create a package for Servlet Filters in your source folder of Project. I have created a package net.viralpatel.servlet.filters. Inside the package, create a Java class file called

Step 3: Writting Servlet Filter class code.

Modify the LogFilter class and add following code into it.

package net.viralpatel.servlet.filters;

import java.util.Date;

import javax.servlet.Filter;
import javax.servlet.FilterChain;
import javax.servlet.FilterConfig;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.ServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.ServletResponse;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;

public class LogFilter implements Filter {

	public void doFilter(ServletRequest req, ServletResponse res,
			FilterChain chain) throws IOException, ServletException {

		HttpServletRequest request = (HttpServletRequest) req;
		//Get the IP address of client machine.
		String ipAddress = request.getRemoteAddr();
		//Log the IP address and current timestamp.
		System.out.println("IP "+ipAddress + ", Time " 
							+ new Date().toString());
		chain.doFilter(req, res);
	public void init(FilterConfig config) throws ServletException {
		//Get init parameter
		String testParam = config.getInitParameter("test-param");
		//Print the init parameter
		System.out.println("Test Param: " + testParam);
	public void destroy() {
		//add code to release any resource

In this filter example, we have implemented an interface javax.servlet.Filter and override its methods init, doFilter and destroy.

The init() method is used to initialize any code that is used by Filter. Also note that, init() method will get an object of FilterConfig which contains different Filter level information as well as init parameters which is passed from Web.xml (Deployment descriptor).

The doFilter() method will do the actual logging of information. You can modify this method and add your code which can modify request/session/response, add any attribute in request etc.

The destroy() method is called by the container when it wants to garbage collect the filter. This is usually done when filter is not used for long time and server wants to allocate memory for other applications.

Step 4: Create Servlet Filter Mapping in Web.xml

Open web.xml file from WEB-INF directory of your Project and add following entry for filter tag.

		<param-value>This parameter is for testing.</param-value>

In this entry, we have added LogFilter class in Web xml and mapped it with URL /*. Hence any request from client will generated a call to this filter. Also we have passed a parameter test-param. This is just to show how to pass and retrieve a parameter in servlet filter.

Step 5: Execute the web application

We are done with the coding part of Servlet Filter example. Now execute the project by Run -> Run As -> Run on server (shortcut Alt+Shift+X, R).
Check the console you will see the output that we print using System.out.

Change the code in the way you want your filter to work.

Let me know your comments and suggestions. :)

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  1. parteek says:

    thanku so much

  2. Anji says:

    Hi ,

    Please help me to solve the below problem ,



    SessionValidator Filter is not calling

    if i changed the /* then Filter is getting called
    Please let me konw why the filter is not calling for the /ProjectMng/*

  3. vaibhav says:

    Thanks a lot. I am a big fan of your’s

  4. Vicky Thakor says:

    I want to handle cache for my static domain. It only delivers *.js,*.css and images. I want to set expiry header for that. (i.e ; i can set expiry header for ( . My application is in java and running on tomcat 7. do you have any idea about that?

  5. vara prasad says:


  6. karmveer says:

    can i apply a single filter on a group of jsp using single mapping in web.xml .

  7. Thanks for the filter example. Simple but good starting point

  8. Lokesh says:

    Please explain what is the use of FilterChain and what chain.doFilter will do.

  9. Priyank says:

    Thank you. This worked :)

  10. Abhishek says:

    Hi Viral,
    Its Great…but got
    output like this..

    IP Adress=
    IP, Time Mon Nov 11 12:57:07 IST 2013
    Test Param: This parameter for testing

    But Shows loop back address(i.e. instead of my PC’s IP address,
    plz provide solution.
    Thanks & Regards..

    • fgdf says:;

  11. abcd says:

    I have one question, is it possible to implement all the client side validations we do with javascript in filters ? Because at times, we do face issues with the javascript.

  12. vanitha says:

    i am not able to get it fully but okay!

  13. Bharat Desai says:

    thank you for giving me solution. this is very helpfull to me . and i accept that i learn so much things from this site.

  14. Kieu Tien Cuong says:

    Thank you. Very clear tutorial. It help me saving a lot of time.

  15. Asmita says:

    please provide an appropriate example for netbeans ide also

  16. Lakshmikanth says:

    thanks!!. That was pretty much clear and gave me a break through in understanding ServletFilters

  17. borat says:

    Your code gives me a 404 error. I posted it at stackoverflow. Please help.

  18. harinath says:

    Hi ,
    i’m new to spring. i have to servlet filter in spring mvc. frame work. if you any sample source code , Please post here

  19. gs says:

    I am creating a project where I have a login screen, which is used for user to login into the
    Application.after login if iam trying to open the same page in next tab it has to show the already login page to that what code has to write

    • Justin says:

      Try with java script.

  20. gs says:

    can u give any suggetions for the above requirement

  21. mahesh says:

    thank you

  22. Seetesh says:

    Can we add more than 1 filter to a servlet or a jsp page

  23. abd Erahim says:

    a good tutorial,
    Viral Patel, if you don’t mind, this is a code snippet that illustrate a real world example of servlet filters,

  24. Akila says:

    HTTP Status 404 – /SampleWebApp/WEB-INF/classes/

  25. I did this, but now eclipse can’t find main servlet :\

  26. Akki says:

    They say if it can’t be explained in simple words, you do not know the concept.
    Simple, easy and awesome.

  27. Shyam sunder says:

    How to implement custom filter using annotations ?

    @interface MySecurityFilter{
    public HelloWorldContrller{
    	public String getMessage(){
    		return &quot;&quot;;

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