My experience with shared java hosting has been quite bad. Some time back I wrote about the problems I encountered with logging but overall, the feel I got was that J2EE just wasn’t suited for shared hosting. What was especialy irritating was the lack of control I had over the library JAR files and even my own web.xml file. The shared hosting provider even locked my web.xml file and I had to contact support if I wished to modify it! The per month cost for Java hosting was also 5 times that of the PHP hosting.
Getting good Apache + PHP + MySQL / PostgreSQL shared hosting is very simple. There are many hosting providers available and you could just browse to findmyhosting.com and quite easily pick up a reliable hosting provider. However think of shared hosting for J2EE and it’s an entirely different story.
There’s myjavaserver.com which offers free j2ee hosting, and can get you started. But what about deploying J2EE applications in production? It looks like it’s imperative that you have your own dedicated server if you wish to host Java J2EE applications in production!
I did a google search for “shared java hosting”, to check if somebody has recorded any wonderful experience he/she has had with java hosting on a shared environment. However I could not find anything except one blog by Stefan Mischook titled “Java hosting is kicking my ass!“. He concludes by saying “Java is brittle in a shared environment, hard to configure and problematic – it sucks. I think this is a symptom of the Java community’s need to over-engineer everything and shows how Java is no longer suitable for small and medium size application development.”
I have to agree with Stefan. Java’s failure at shared hosting, I think, is a very serious problem that the Java community is ignoring at its own peril.
Is something being done in the next version of enterprise java (JEE)? Have you ever had a good experience with shared Java hosting? It’s high time we stop ignoring this problem saying that Java is for enterprises who have their own dedicated servers. Enterprises constitute only a small fraction of the millions of websites out there. PHP has conquered the small and mid sized segment primarily because of Java’s failure. If hosting a Java web application was just as simple and cost effective as hosting a PHP web application, I am sure many would adopt Java over PHP.
PHP is now also taking strides into the enterprise market. Once PHP manages to come up with a good offering even in the enterprise space, Java will be in trouble. Its better if the Java community wakes up while the going’s good and tackles shared hosting issues on high priority.
This blog is an invitation for comments on shared, simple and cost effective java hosting.
>>> Harshad Oak is the founder of Rightrix Solutions and the author of the three books Oracle JDeveloper 10g: Empowering J2EE Development, Pro Jakarta Commons and Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.4 (J2EE 1.4) Bible
He can be reached at harshad at rightrix dot com