If you’re new to Java hosting, you may not know much about JavaServer Pages (JSP) yet. But JSP is an essential part of hosting with Java – it’s the technology that allows you create dynamic, interactive content for your website.
For e-commerce businesses, that interactivity is everything. It’s what lets site visitors to do things like buy products, give reviews, leave comments, and much, much more. JSP is what makes that level engagement possible, so you can’t afford to be in the dark about what it is and how it works.
What is JavaServer Pages?
To understand what JSP is and what it does, it’s important to first know the meaning of the following terms:
- Client side: Any browser viewing your website is a client, and any scripts that run on your computer are client-side scripts. Client-side scripting is also called front-end development because it primarily deals with what the user sees on the page.
- Server side: Server side language scripts run on the web host’s server, not the client’s browser. Server-side scripting is also called back-end development because it deals with what the user can’t see, such as the webpage’s interaction with the server.
- Java Virtual Machine (JVM): Any time you view a Java application, the code is interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine. This abstract computing machine must be present on the host’s server in order to process Java code.
- Dynamic webpage: When a webpage is static, the content doesn’t change and you can’t interact with it – you’re limited to reading, scrolling, and clicking links. But when a webpage is dynamic, the content can change, and you’re able to interact with it in different ways. Most of the websites you visit on a daily basis – Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc. – are dynamic.
If we combine these terms, we can understand the basic definition of JavaServer Pages – a server-side technology that’s used to create dynamic webpages written in the Java programming language.
JavaServer Pages work by embedding Java code into an extended HTML webpage. The bulk of the code is HTML, while Java is used to insert specific actions and commands.
In order to use JSP, you will need to use a web host whose servers support Java, Java servlets, and their web containers. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about providing these things yourself – there are hosting companies with all of these Java technologies already built into their servers.
What’s the Difference Between JSP and Java Servlets?
While JavaServer Pages and Java servlets perform similar functions and are a part of the same Java family, they are not exactly the same.
A Java servlet, like JSP, runs on a server. The main difference, however, is that servlets are HTML code embedded in Java, while JSP is Java code embedded in HTML. Before JSP is executed, it must be compiled into a Java servlet. Because they don’t have to be compiled, servlets initially run slightly faster than JSP – however, most Java developers still choose to use JSP because the code is far easier to work with.
How Do You Host a JSP Website?
JavaServer Pages can’t run with just any type of web hosting. To host with JSP, you’ll need a servlet container. The most widely used open-source servlet containers are Apache Tomcat and Jetty.
What exactly does a servlet container do? To put it simply, a servlet container is what creates, executes, and destroys Java servlets in order to create dynamic web pages. As the name suggests, these containers provide an environment where Java code can be run.
In addition to a servlet container, the server you use to host a JSP website needs to have a built-in database management system, such as MySQL. Connection to a fast and reliable database is necessary for Java programs to run efficiently.
The Advantages JSP Hosting
E-commerce businesses can especially benefit from JSP hosting because it’s necessary to create dynamic web pages. If you want site visitors to be able to leave comments, log in, or fill a virtual shopping cart, you need a hosting solution that can process and run dynamic server-side scripts. If you want to be competitive in the digital market, you just can’t afford to settle for a static site.
But JSP is just one of several ways to host dynamic web content, so what makes it better than other scripting languages like PHP and ASP?
For starters, JSP hosting is the only dynamic hosting option that comes with all of the advantages of the Java programming language, including portability and ease of use. Java code’s flexibility allows it to translate to other operating systems with ease, and because Java is an object-oriented language, its clean coding is easier to maintain and debug.
Many developers prefer JSP because it’s the easiest scripting language to code with. Because it’s primarily HTML based, JSP gives them all the power of the Java programming language without the difficulty of actually writing a lot of complex Java code.
How to Find the Best JSP Hosting
Once again, it’s important to note that many hosting providers do not support JavaServer Pages. The most basic plans only support client-side scripts, which are extremely limited in comparison. So to start, you’ll need to find a web host that actually has JSP support built in.
You’ll also want to make sure that the server you choose supports a servlet container such as Apache Tomcat or Jetty. From there, everything else – server speed, pricing, and other features – is negotiable. But if you want to create the best user experience possible, you’ll want to keep these qualities in mind as well. And because Java is a powerful and complex programming language that requires a stable host server, you won’t find any free Java hosting plans that meet your needs.
JavaPipe’s Java web hosting plans don’t just support JavaServer Pages and Apache Tomcat – they also protect your Java site with SSL certification, organize your data with unlimited MySQL databases, and give you complete control with full access to your Tomcat container. With JavaPipe, hosting with Java has never been easier.