How Do You Debug Web Services on a Remote Server?


Heather Bennett

In this tutorial, we will explore the process of debugging web services on a remote server. Debugging is an essential part of the development process as it allows us to identify and fix issues in our code.

When working with web services, debugging can be a bit challenging as the code is running on a remote server instead of our local environment. However, with the right tools and techniques, we can effectively debug web services on a remote server.

1. Enable Logging

One of the first steps in debugging web services is to enable logging on the remote server. Logging allows us to capture important information about the execution flow, errors, and exceptions that occur during runtime.

To enable logging, you need to modify the configuration file of your web service. Look for the logging section or similar settings and make sure it is set to true. Additionally, you can specify the level of detail you want in your logs by configuring log levels such as debug, info, or warn.

2. Use Remote Debugging Tools

If enabling logging doesn’t provide enough information or if you want to step through your code line by line, you can use remote debugging tools.

Eclipse IDE:

  • If you are using Eclipse IDE for development, you can utilize its remote debugging feature.
  • Step 1: Start your web service application on the remote server in debug mode. This usually involves passing specific startup arguments or setting up a debug configuration.
  • Step 2: In Eclipse, go to “Run” > “Debug Configurations”. Create a new “Remote Java Application” configuration.
  • Step 3: Specify the connection details, such as the host and port of the remote server.
  • Step 4: Click on “Debug” to connect to the remote server and start debugging your web service application.

Visual Studio Debugger:

  • If you are using Visual Studio for development, you can use its remote debugging capabilities for web services.
  • Step 1: Publish your web service application on the remote server with debug symbols included.
  • Step 2: In Visual Studio, go to “Debug” > “Attach to Process”.
  • Step 3: Specify the connection details, such as the name or IP address of the remote server.
  • Step 4: Select your web service process from the list and click on “Attach”.

3. Analyze Error Messages and Exceptions

If you encounter an error or exception while testing your web service, it is important to carefully analyze the error messages and exceptions thrown.

They often provide valuable insights into what went wrong. Look for specific error codes, stack traces, or any additional information that can help you identify and resolve the issue.

You can enhance the visibility of error messages by formatting them in a user-friendly way. Wrap them in a well-styled HTML structure using appropriate tags like <div>, <p>, or even create a dedicated section for displaying errors using a heading like “

Error Messages


4. Use Remote Logging Libraries

If you don’t have direct access to the remote server or if the debugging process is complex, you can utilize remote logging libraries. These libraries allow you to log messages from your web service application and view them remotely.


  • Log4j is a popular logging library for Java applications.
  • Step 1: Add the Log4j dependency to your project.
  • Step 2: Configure Log4j properties file with appropriate appenders and log levels.
  • Step 3: In your web service code, use Log4j to log important messages, errors, or exceptions.


  • NLog is a widely used logging library for .NET applications.
  • Step 1: Install the NLog package via NuGet in your web service project.
  • Step 2: Configure NLog configuration file with appropriate Targets and rules.
  • Step 3: In your web service code, use NLog to log necessary information for debugging purposes.

5. Network Monitoring Tools

In some cases, issues in web services can be related to network problems. Using network monitoring tools can help identify any network-related issues that may impact the functionality of your web service on the remote server.

You can create a separate section titled “

Network Monitoring Tools

” and list down relevant tools such as Wireshark, Fiddler, or Charles Proxy. Briefly describe how these tools can capture and analyze network traffic, helping you identify potential issues.

By following these techniques and utilizing the right tools, you can effectively debug web services on a remote server. Remember to enable logging, use remote debugging tools, analyze error messages and exceptions, utilize remote logging libraries when necessary, and consider network monitoring tools for troubleshooting network-related issues.

Debugging web services can be challenging, but with patience and persistence, you can overcome obstacles and ensure your web service is running smoothly.

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