What Is Web Container in WebSphere Application Server?


Heather Bennett

What Is Web Container in WebSphere Application Server?

The Web Container is a crucial component of the WebSphere Application Server (WAS). It provides an environment for executing web applications and managing their lifecycle. In this article, we will explore the functionalities and features of the Web Container in depth.

Overview of the Web Container

The Web Container, also known as the Servlet container, is responsible for handling HTTP requests and managing servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSPs). It acts as an intermediary between the web server and the web application, providing a runtime environment for processing dynamic content.

The main tasks performed by the Web Container include:

  • Loading, initializing, and managing servlets and JSPs
  • Mapping URLs to servlets
  • Processing HTTP requests and generating responses
  • Maintaining session management
  • Handling security and authentication
  • Managing concurrency and thread safety

Servet Lifecycle in the Web Container

The lifecycle of a servlet in the Web Container consists of several stages:

  1. Initialization: During this stage, the container loads the servlet class, creates an instance, and calls its init() method. This method allows initialization tasks to be performed such as loading configuration parameters or establishing database connections.
  2. Request Handling: When a request is received that matches a URL mapped to a servlet, the container invokes its service() method. This method processes the request and generates the response.

    Depending on the request method (GET, POST, etc. ), the container calls the appropriate doXxx() method (e.g., doGet(), doPost()) of the servlet.

  3. Destruction: When the Web Container shuts down or determines that a servlet is no longer needed, it calls its destroy() method. This allows for cleanup tasks such as closing database connections or releasing resources.

Web Container Features

The Web Container in WebSphere Application Server offers several advanced features and capabilities:

  • JSP Support: The container supports JavaServer Pages (JSPs), allowing dynamic content generation using a combination of HTML and Java code.
  • Serving Static Resources: In addition to handling dynamic requests, the Web Container can also serve static resources such as HTML files, images, CSS stylesheets, and JavaScript files.
  • Error Handling: The container provides built-in error handling mechanisms for handling exceptions and generating appropriate error pages.
  • Sessions and Cookies: The Web Container manages sessions and cookies for maintaining user state across multiple requests.
  • Security: It offers various security features such as authentication, authorization, SSL support, and protection against common web vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).


The Web Container plays a vital role in executing web applications in the WebSphere Application Server. Its responsibilities include managing servlets and JSPs, handling HTTP requests, session management, security, and more. Understanding the functionalities and features of the Web Container is essential for developing and maintaining robust and secure web applications.

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