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Java Hosting Overview
Let’s take a quick look at the Java hosting eco-system and get acquainted with some of the basics.
As such Java hosting is a web hosting solution offered by Java web host to host and deliver your Java web application on the Internet.
This is accomplished by the careful configuration and set up different software stacks such as a the Operating System, Web Server, Application Server, and Database Server.
In addition, these software stacks are located in one or more physical machines that is connected 24/7/365 to the Internet to ensure high availability.
Other applications such as Email, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Security, as well as many others are configured to ensure seamless operation of services.
What does Java mean?
Next, what is Java? As you may or may not know, Java is a computer programming language. A very popular computer programming language developed by James Gosling and his team at Sun Microsystems back in the mid 1990s.
Technically, Java is regarded as a high-level language due to the fact that humans can easily read and write Java code. However, this high-level code needs to be translated into binary codes for computers to interpret and execute.
Notably, Java was designed to be platform-independent. As such Java’s mantra is Write once, run anywhere (WORA). This is accomplished because Java runs on a Virtual Machine, known as the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
That high-level Java code that humans can read and write is compiled into byte code for the JVM. This byte code then runs on the JVM container thus giving Java the ability to work on different platforms; since the Operating Systems are abstracted away and all you have to do is make sure that your code words with the JVM.
Generally, most Java web applications are written to be J2EE/J2SE compliant using Java Server Pages (JSP) and Java Servlets to enable JSP hosting and Java Servlets hosting.
Furthermore, there are wide range of Java web development frameworks such as Spring MVC, JSF, Struts, etc that Java developers can use in developing their Java web applications.
What is Java Server Pages (JSP)?
JSP technology is an offset of Java and a server-side programming language that allows you create Java web applications that are dynamic, database-driven and platform independent.
It’s allows for the inclusion of Java code and certain predefined actions into a web markup language such as HTML or XML. The resulting page is then compiled and executed on the server side.
Also, a JSP can be thought as a high-level abstraction of Java Servlets since they are translated into servlets at runtime.
When using JSP you do get access to the entire set of Java APIs as well as JDBC APIs to access databases locally and remotely. And like any Java applications, JSP are executed inside the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
How to Choose the Best Java Web Host
A Java web developer’s web hosting server reflects his or her work! Let’s fact it, you have worked very hard to write the best optimal Java codes for your web app.
Now it’s time to connect that awesome web app to the million of users waiting for consume it. And you do this by deploying it on optimal Java web hosting servers that are fast, secure and reliable.
In addition it’s important to take the following aspects into consideration when considering Java web hosts:
Type of Java Web Hosting Environments
When it comes to hosting a Java web application, there are several options available to you and we’re going to take a look at some of them.
1. Shared Java Hosting Server Environment
A shared Java hosting server environment is one in which you’re sharing the same physical server resources with other users.
And by Java hosting server resources, you’re basically sharing the server’s memory, processor, hard drives, bandwidth, etc.
Shared Java hosting server environments provide a cost-effective and entry level option for emerging Java applications. However, there are some pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some:
- They are managed Java website hosting environment as such everything comes configured which means you don’t need to have technical server configuration and administration skills.
- Several users on the shared Java hosting servers means you don’t have to pay for the whole server yourself. As such you can experience great cost savings by going the shared route
- The shared Java hosting server is constantly maintained and regular hardware, software, security, etc patches and updates applied without you evening noticing.
- Lack of dedicated resources. Sharing resource can sometimes limit how much resource is available to hosting your Java website especially if your hosted Java website needs a lot of resource like Java Virtual Memory (JVM).
- If another application on the shared Java hosting server is overloading the Java server, other Java websites may see their performance degrade. However this is greatly reduced by opting for a Private Tomcat shared Java hosting plan with Private JVM Heap
2. Virtual Private Servers Environment
A virtual private server (VPS) is similar to a Java shared hosting server. But it is in fact a virtual machine that runs a copy of the operating system software and has dedicated resources such as memory, cpu and disk space.
These dedicated resources are solely for the customer using the VPS and those resources are guaranteed level of service.
You can expect better level of performance for web hosting your Java application on a VPS when compared to share Java hosting server environment. However, let’s look at some of the pros and cons:
- You have root access to the VPS and can custom configure any software stack you see fit. A shared Java hosting plan doesn’t normally allow such flexibility.
- You get dedicated resource levels across server memory, processor, disk space and bandwidth.
- Ability to scale the virtual machine and add more resources as your needs grow.
- VPS are self managed which means you’re responsible to setting up, configuring, maintaining and administering the server
- If you’re not a systems administrator, you need to hire one which can greatly increase operating costs
- If you don’t have the requisite expertise to manage a virtual machine, it’s easily prone to DDoS and getting hacked.
Things to consider in a Java Hosting Provider
There are several things to consider when searching for a Java hosting provider to ensure you get the right environment for your Java based web application.
1. Java (J2EE/J2SE) Support
So you have to confirm that you can run your JSP, Spring MVC, JSF, Apache Struts, Hibernate, LifeRay, etc. Java web application on their advertised Java web hosting offers.
2. Java Application Container
What Java application container do they offer? Most J2EE/J2SE Java applications will run well on a Tomcat application container. While some may need access to specific J2EE features and require J2EE specific applications such as WildFly, GlassFish, etc.
It’s important you verify all these to make sure you’re getting the right solution.
3. Private Tomcat or Shared Tomcat?
When considering Java web host providers for your Java application you may often see terms of Shared Tomcat, Private Tomcat, Private JVM, Shared JVM, PermGen, etc.
Here’s a brief on each of these technologies so that you can make an informed decision:
What is Tomcat?
Tomcat is a Java application container used in serving JSP and Java Servlets on the Internet. It’s an open source application container developed by the Apache Software Foundation.
In shared Java hosting server environments, having a Private Tomcat means that the Java hosting provider is giving you a dedicated Tomcat application server on the shared Java hosting server environment.
This give you more reliability since you’re not sharing the Tomcat server with other users; and you can stop/start your Tomcat hosting server at anytime of your choosing via the control panel or secure shell.
Additionally, with Private Tomcat comes private/dedicated Java Virtual Machine. This means that you get a dedicated JVM heap size at the minimum 512Mb to ensure your Java web application runs smoothly with minimal interruptions unlike often witnessed in Shared Tomcat environments.
On the other hand, you can opt for a Shared Tomcat if you’re Java web application is not mission critical and you have budget restraints.
But it’s worth noting that Shared Tomcat for Java EE hosting is not as reliable as Private Tomcat. With Shared Tomcat, you’re on the same Tomcat instance with several other users.
For example, if User A makes an update to their Java application and requests Tomcat restart, all applications on that Shared Tomcat will go offline while the Tomcat server is being restarted!
4. Java Virtual Memory (JVM) Heap Size
With Private Tomcat on shared Java hosting environment, you get a private JVM Heap size. Which means that you can be rest assured that the stated JVM Heap size is allocated to your Tomcat and web application. This of course improves your application’s performance and reliability.
Whereas, with Shared Tomcat you get a shared JVM Heap size. Not so reliable. But if you’re testing things out or still in development, you may opt for this option and keep your costs low.
5. PermGen Space
In brief, the JVM heap memory is structured into regions, called generations and there is also some separate heap space called permanent generation.
Some Java objects are stored in this generation space permanently as well as class definitions and static instances. So it’s important to have enough PermGen space in order to avoid the dreaded OutOfMemoryError: PermGen Space error message.
So it’s important to have a good amount of PermGen. Most Java web hosts will give you higher JVM Heap size but greatly limit your PermGen so bear this mind.
We hope this brief introduction to Java Hosting overview gives you a better idea of what the Java language is and how go about getting your Java-based web application hosted on the Internet. If you’re looking for assistance with hosting your Java web application, please don’t hesitate to email our Java hosting support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on the chat button at the bottom right hand corner of your screen to chat live with a representative.