How to Install Java on a VPS?

Java is a general-purpose programming language that developers widely use for various backend projects. It is well-known for its ability to create apps with different functionalities, especially for Android users. 

This guide aims to help you learn more about the Java basics, its benefits, and how to install it on a virtual private server.

Let’s jump right in.

What is Java?

Java was developed and released by Sun Microsystems, a technology giant, which was later acquired by the Oracle Corporation. The programming language proved to be quite versatile for developers, earning it a 3.7% market share today (from all websites with known server-side programming), according to W3Techs.

Java is simple, efficient, and extremely portable, meaning the app can run identically on any platform, regardless of its operating system or hardware setup. The programming script also flaunts advanced security features, isolating the environment between the server and an unsecured Java application.

Because of their versatility, Java-written apps have more than a few use cases:

  • Android applications
  • Graphic environment (GUI) solutions
  • Billing and financial transaction tools
  • Complex mathematical calculations

Java Installation Prerequisites

Java works with all the major operating systems and their popular distributions. Check out the system requirements for the different OS types:

Java on Windows

  • Windows Server 2008 or 2012 (64 bit)
  • 124 MB disk space for JRE plus a few more MB for updates
  • Minimum processor: Intel 2.23 MHz

Java on Linux

  • Suse SLES from 11.x or Ubuntu from 13.x or RHEL from 6.x
  • 124 MB disk space for JRE plus a few more MB for updates

Java on macOS

  • macOS X from 10.8
  • 124 MB disk space for JRE plus a few more MB for updates

As you can see, given you have the right server, there is nothing too demanding in the Java requirements. Still, there is a good reason why it’s best to host your Java project on a virtual private server.

Why Java on a VPS?

While Java has little to no demands in terms of system resources, the shared hosting environment isn’t really suited for this popular programming language. 

Starting with your server power, all CPU and RAM on the machine is constantly employed by multiple clients, sometimes even 100+ more accounts at once. This means that you can never be sure about the smooth running of your Java project, especially in times of high traffic when you most need your resources.

There is also the question of your web server. Most hosting providers configure a basic Apache or Litespeed, whereas Java best runs on Apache Tomcat. The latter is custom-tailored to provide an optimized Java environment with all its components implemented. 

One essential element is the CGI (common gateway interface). This is a PHP interpreter that is highly optimized for Java and integrated in…you guessed it…Tomcat.

But perhaps the best reason why you should use Java on a VPS plan comes with server access.

You need root administrator rights to install Java and for many other actions in the future. For example, should your Java app stop running, you might need to restart the server. Same if you have applied some changes or updates. All that is impossible with shared hosting providers.

As a matter of fact, most managed VPS hosts won’t give you full root access as well because that defies the purpose of their management. If that’s the case – a self-managed virtual server plan would be your best bet.

Installing Java on a VPS

There are many different Java incarnations that serve very different purposes. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will focus on two of them and their most stable versions – OpenJDK 7/8 and Oracle Java 8.

The main difference between the distributions is their business model. While OpenJDK is an open-source, free Java solution, Oracle JRE/JDK are proprietary products that are available at premium prices.

Installing OpenJDK 7

  1. Use an SSH client to log in your server as root admin.
  2. Run the installation command:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre (for Debian/Ubuntu)

su -c “yum install java-1.7.0-openjdk” (Fedora, RHEL)

  1. If there are any incomplete commands, you can go through them using:

yum-complete-transaction –cleanup-only

Installing OpenJDK 8

The process for OpenJDK 8 is pretty much the same as with its previous version.

  1. Log into your SSH client.
  2. Depending on your operating system, you can type:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre (Debian/Ubuntu)

su -c “yum install java-1.8.0-openjdk” (Fedora, RHEL)

Installing Oracle Java 8

  1. Download the LinuxRPM package from the official website.
  2. Upload it to your VPS server via control panel/FTP/SSH.
  3. To install Oracle Java, you need to be logged into your SSH client as root. Then type:

yum install /path-to-file/jdk-[version].rpm

That’s all there is to it. You are now ready to install and host Java on your VPS.

Find out more self-managed VPS articles in our ScalaHosting Knowledge Base.

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Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.