Compare Java Hosting
Java is a powerful device-independent programming language used widely on the most popular websites on the internet. But Java needs its own special hosting environment, so you can’t use just any host for a Java-based site.
To run Java on your site’s backend, your server must be running the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Java is resource-heavy and it is usually best to have a powerful hosting plan like a VPS.
Best Java Hosting
Java is broadly used for web development. The best type of hosting for Java applications is VPS hosting, mainly because Java requires more resources than shared hosting. We’ll go into more details later, but if you just want to know which hosts are good for Java, here are our top three:
How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for Java?
We went through hundreds of the best web hosting companies and culled the ones that offered powerful servers along with JVM integration. Then we used out thousands of customer reviews to find the top-10 Java hosts.
Compare Java Hosting
What You’ll Learn
Amazon.com, Facebook, and Wikipedia use it. Critical sectors like finance and healthcare use it to power mission-critical applications. And it’s the official language used in the Android SDK.
Java is a popular object-oriented programming language that’s here to stay.
You’ll learn what Java is. You’ll discover some fun (and fascinating) resources for learning how to code in Java. And you’ll learn how to find a good Java host.
I’ll share tips on errors to avoid in choosing a good Java host. Plus you’ll get my top hosting recommendations, based on my experience as a software engineer.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
What is Java?
Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language and platform that enables developers to serve up dynamic, interactive content.
On the web, you will almost certainly have used Java applications and applets.
While Java hosting is more expensive than regular hosting, such options do offer added functionality to match the higher price tag.
Background of Java as a Programming Language
Java is a veteran programming language. It was launched by Sun Microsystems in 1995 and has achieved impressive longevity since then. Java faces tough competition from HTML5 on the modern web, but many websites depend on Java — and will continue to do so.
Java is now owned by Oracle, is being used for websites, enterprise applications, Internet of Things (IoT) apps, home automation, and gaming.
Running Java Applications
For the end-user, the software needed to run Java applications is packaged as a small, free download, so there is minimal interruption to the browsing experience. This is called a Java plugin, or Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Once downloaded, the plugin needs to be updated periodically.
On the server side of things, you will need a Java Virtual Environment (which includes the Java Virtual Machine, or JVM), which compiles your Java code down to the machine language that is executed on the underlying server.
Free Software by Java
This is freely available software, but it is still software that takes up space and whose use can add overhead to your runtime.
If you are unfamiliar with Java’s capabilities, look at your host’s cPanel or similar control panel. There is probably a Java-based SSH client in there that you can try.
6 Reasons to Use Java as a Programming Language
On the plus side, Java definitely has some perks in store, should it seem like the right choice for you. As one of the most popular programming languages globally, plenty of developers and webmasters have valid reasons to loyally stick with it.
- Impressive Speed
- Ease of Learning
- Longevity and Popularity
- Powerful Programming Language
- Platform Security
- Free to Use
Java is relatively fast; it takes the perks of C (and to some extent, C++) and simplifies the code. For example, you do not need to work with pointers in Java, as you would in C.
Java used to have a reputation for being slow to load. However, beginning in the late 1990s, Java began to set the standard for Virtual machine performance thanks to innovations like just-in-time compiling and adaptive optimization.
Ease of Learning
Among object-oriented programming languages, Java is considered to be relatively easy to learn. There are many online resources for wanna-be Java developers. The best of these range from full-fledged free courses to professional qualifications.
Longevity and Popularity
Java is the backbone of Android development, so it is not a language that is going away anytime soon. During the first quarter of 2017, 81.7% of all smartphones sold ran Android.
Java is not an uncommon language, so you will likely find a web host that meets your needs.
Powerful Programming Language
It is object-oriented, which means that it is quite powerful in terms of allowing for code reuse and extensibility. Java’s power also lays in its mass adaptability from the creation of simple apps to machine learning.
In the past, there have been some serious security-related issues with Java. Today, Oracle’s Java SE security technologies incorporate a comprehensive set of security APIs, tools, protocols, and algorithms.
These cover platform security, authentication and authorization, public key infrastructure (PKI), and cryptography.
Java users do not need to have a particular device or operating system. They are able to use Java web apps, and JVM runs on pretty much any platform. Independence played a huge role in Java’s mass adaptation.
Free to Use
With the exception of Commercial Java Software or programs related to Java SE, Java is free to use.
Downsides of Java
There are specific situations where Java is the best choice, but it certainly is not for everyone. There are a few downsides to choosing Java (especially when it comes time to choose a Java hosting provider). These should be factored into the buying decision when choosing your Java hosting provider.
Difficulty of Support and Pricing
You may have a hard time finding a host offering support for Java/JVM, particularly if you’re just considering traditional providers. Siteground is a good example of a top-performing hosting provider who does not offer strong Java support.
Understand that the current standard for web applications — the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) — is widespread, but not sufficient for Java hosting.
The popularity of LAMP is seen in the number of options offered including those at low prices.
Java hosting plans that include the required functionality tend to be more expensive than basic LAMP-based plans. But “more expensive” is a relative concept. There are plenty of affordable options available.
Also: some hosting providers will not let you use Java on shared hosting plans. This isn’t really a problem though because Java runs best on VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting.
What to Look for in a Java Host: Support for Java Tools
Additionally, to general Java support, you might need to consider support for Java tools. It is likely you’ll end up using Java-specific tools to serve your website. For example, you might be interested in using JavaServer Pages (JSP).
JavaServer Pages and PHP
JSP is a facilitating technology assisting in the development of dynamic Web pages on HTML, XML and other document systems.
JSP was developed by Sun Microsystems and currently managed (as an open source product) by Apache Software Foundation.
JSP is essentially Java’s way of handling what PHP is used for in the LAMP stack, but as the name suggests, it is based on Java, a class-based, object-oriented programming language.
Running Web Applications – Spring vs Tomcat
Furthermore, with the rise of Spring, you can now run robust web apps and all you need is the servlet container.
GlassFish, the open-source Java EE reference implementation and application server, also makes things easier.
However, if you are not using Spring, Tomcat should be an acceptable substitute. Though Tomcat is not strictly an application server, some developers to use it as such instead of a Java EE application server.
|Ease of Use||Simple to use||Simple, although Spring is more conventional|
|Quality of Support||Good support for both users and clients||Excellent support|
|Implementation||Not as easy as Tomcat||Variety of methods|
|Product Development||Regular updates||Regular updates, good user response|
|Resources||Great resources, complemented by user reviews||Plenty of case studies and examples|
The Best Servlet Container
Regardless of which side of the Spring/Tomcat debate applies to you, both are lightweight.
This is especially important when it comes to web hosting, where you are likely paying for servers and resources based on usage.
Hosting support for all of these tools (JSP, Tomcat, Spring, and so on) is not a given. Even if the vendor claims to support Java applications and allow the installation of JVM, ensure you have compatibility for what you need.
In September 2012, Go Daddy removed all Java functionality from its shared servers. Its reasoning was that the shared environment was not sufficient to give customers the flexibility needed to program in Java.
Issues with Shared Servers
Its reasoning is sound. With all Java hosting, you will have a Java server installed. One example is Apache Tomcat. On shared servers, everyone shares one instance of Tomcat (or the equivalent). This can cause problems and downtime.
Rarely, some web hosts do offer dedicated Java installs for shared hosting customers. However, these are definitely exceptional, and the hosting is almost always more expensive than regular shared web hosting.
5 Reasons Why VPS Hosting is better for Java Web Apps
The majority of Tomcat hosting (or JSP hosting) options available are VPS-only.
Overall, for Java web apps (and other advanced uses), a VPS is better for these reasons:
- Private Servlet Container
- Overall Control
- VPS Control
- Uptime and Downtime
Private Servlet Container
You get your own Java servlet container and a private JVM — not a shared one — so your Java applications are isolated. Your private JVM also ensures that it’s not compiling code for other people’s websites.
You have more control over the web hosting environment. This is important when you are doing anything more than the basics. Larger and more complex businesses will appreciate this feature.
You can reboot the VPS whenever you like to get your Java server and its applications working properly. This is not a feature that typically comes with shared servers, so do cherish it.
Uptime and Downtime
There is less chance of downtime caused by other people’s rogue Java content. Like traditional VPS plans, you have a set amount of resources for yourself.
If you upgrade to a dedicated server, you will have the entire machine to yourself. Upgrading to a dedicated server from a VPS plan is much simpler, eliminating hassle.
Do I Need a Dedicated Server for Java Hosting?
Depending on your use case, it might not take much for you to consider even a dedicated server. Not only do you get all the benefits of a VPS hosting plan, you get even more control and even more resources for your servlet containers, web apps, and the like.
Downsides of a Java Dedicated Server
The downside to choosing a dedicated server, of course, is that you are fully responsible for your server. You can certainly circumvent this downside by opting for a managed dedicated server. This would narrow down your options by placing more restrictions on what is becoming a niche area within web hosting.
Furthermore, on some plans, managed options may only cover things like system administration.
You might still be the one responsible for installing JVM. Setting up your servlet containers, and spinning up JSP can also be tiresome. So, before choosing a managed plan make sure you know what items will be managed for you.
Java Hosting Server Requirements
To serve up Java content, you will need the Java servlet container and web server. Apache Tomcat is free and open-source; I recommend version 6, which supports version 1.7 of the Java Development Kit (JDK). Tomcat version 5.5 will suffice for older versions of the JDK.
Installing Java as an Add-On
It is worth checking the Oracle recommendations on what you need to best run JVM and all things Java. (Find the link under “Recommended reading” at the end of this article.)
On VPS and dedicated web hosting plans, the software is normally provided as an optional add-on that can be installed from your control panel. If you do not see it in your control panel, ask your web host to install it for you.
System Requirements for Java
In terms of server RAM, it is best to aim for 512 MB as a minimum. If you are running other things alongside your Java container, or you want to run resource-intensive applications, go for more RAM for best performance.
Finally, I recommend you buy a managed VPS hosting plan unless you’re familiar with server administration, willing to learn quickly, or can pay the extra for managed services.
Winners: Favorite Java Hosts
When it comes to Java hosting, there are a lot of new players in the market you might consider. These options are more likely to be cloud-based options, such as the Google App Engine.
However, there are still traditional providers you might find worthwhile. Some offer cloud-based or hybrid host services.
Bluehost: Bluehost is a very popular option, and I think its host plans at the VPS or dedicated level are a great choice for all your Java-related needs. Bluehost boasts things like instant provisioning (so you can get started right away), solid customer service, and flexibility.
A2 Hosting VPS
With A2 Hosting, all of your Java development projects come hosted on their high-performance SwiftServer platform. They also offer you to choose their Turbo Servers featuring up to 20X faster page loads compared to competing Java Hosting Providers.
InMotion Hosting VPS
InMotion Hosting: I like InMotion, especially if you choose a cloud-based option for your Java, Tomcat, or general JSP needs. You do need to opt for a VPS option at the minimum.
InMotion offers features you want, such as cPanel/WHM control panels for server management. Further features include redundant hardware clusters to reduce the chances of website downtime.
Pros and Cons of Java Hosting
- Java is not going anywhere anytime soon. It has a solid hold in the enterprise area, and its role as the backbone of Android means that the language will continue to be used for quite a while
- Java is an established language that comes with a lot of tools you can use to build the apps you need
- Android uses a variant of Java, which does differ somewhat from the server-side language. This could possibly lead to the diminished importance of Java
- Hosting Java apps can be expensive due to the specific needs you must meet with the server you purchase
Recommended Reading & Resources for Java
A quick overview of Amazon’s powerful Java hosting tools. Tomcat JSP Hosting from Web Hosts with Great Java Developer Support
Learn more about Apache Tomcat and see this software engineer’s recommendations for hosting. Spoiler: one of them is JavaPipe, Oracle Java Software
You’ll want to bookmark this source for documentation, information on associated Java technologies like GlassFish, training, and news on Java. Java Coding & Concepts with a Game: Java Puzzle Ball
This beginner-level free course from the Oracle Learning Library uses a game-based methodology to introduce you to Java concepts. Java: Introduction, How to Learn, and Resources
We put this resource together to help get you started on your learning path. There are beginning options and next action steps.
We’ll even show you how to learn Java via the popular game Minecraft. “Modding” Minecraft isn’t just for kids. Adults want to have fun too!
Frequently Asked Questions About Java
What is Java?
What is Java used for?
Is Java still widely used?
Is Java open-source software?
What operating systems does Java work on?
How does Java work?
What is the Java Runtime Environment (JRE)?
Can I use Java to build a website?
What are the alternatives to Java for client-side programming?
Are there times to use Java for client-side programming?
Are there any good alternatives to Java for server-side web programming?
How does Java compare to the .NET framework?
How does Java compare Ruby on Rails?
How does client-side Java compare to Flash?
How does client-side Java compare to Silverlight?
What is JSP?
How does JSP compare to PHP?
Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin: