How Error Handling and Debugging are done in JSP? Explain with Example

Short Answer

In JSP, handling errors and debugging involves specific techniques to find and fix problems. For error handling, you can use the errorPage attribute in your JSP page to send users to a custom error page when something goes wrong.

For example, if you add <%@ page errorPage="error.jsp" %> at the top of your JSP page, it will redirect to error.jsp in case of an error. In error.jsp, you can display a friendly message to the user instead of a technical error.

For debugging, you can use System.out.println() to print messages to the server console or use logging frameworks like Log4J for more advanced logging. This helps you understand what’s happening in your code and find where the problem is.

Detailed Answer

Error Handling in JSP

Error handling in JSP is crucial for creating a robust and user-friendly web application. It ensures that users are not exposed to raw Java exceptions, which can be confusing and might reveal sensitive information about the application structure.

1. Using the errorPage and isErrorPage Attributes

One common approach to handling errors in JSP is to use the errorPage attribute in your JSP pages. This attribute specifies a URL to which the user will be redirected if an unhandled exception occurs.


In your main JSP page, you might have:

<%@ page errorPage="error.jsp" %>

And in error.jsp, you set it as an error page:

<%@ page isErrorPage="true" %>

In error.jsp, you can access the exception object via the implicit exception object, allowing you to log it or display a customized error message to the user.

2. Custom Error Pages

You can also configure custom error pages for specific HTTP error codes or Java exceptions in your web application’s web.xml file. This provides a centralized way to handle errors.



This configuration redirects the user to error404.jsp if a 404 error occurs.

Debugging in JSP

Debugging JSP pages can be more challenging than debugging standard Java applications due to the nature of web applications and the server’s role in processing requests.

1. Using System Output for Debugging

A simple but effective way to debug JSP pages is to use System.out.println() statements to output debug information to the server’s console.


    System.out.println("Debug: Starting to process the request.");

This method is straightforward but can quickly become unmanageable in larger applications.

2. Using Logging Frameworks

For more sophisticated debugging, you can use logging frameworks like Log4J or SLF4J. These frameworks offer more control over logging, such as specifying log levels (INFO, DEBUG, ERROR) and directing log output to different destinations (console, files, etc.).

Example with Log4J

First, you need to add Log4J to your project’s dependencies. Then, you can use it in your JSP page:

<%@ page import="org.apache.log4j.Logger" %>
    Logger log = Logger.getLogger(getClass());
    log.debug("Processing request for user: " + user.getName());

This approach is more flexible and suitable for larger applications, as it allows you to easily enable or disable logging and control the verbosity of the output.


Effective error handling and debugging are essential for developing reliable JSP applications. By using the errorPage and isErrorPage attributes, you can create a better user experience during errors. For debugging, while simple System.out.println() statements can provide quick insights, logging frameworks offer a more robust solution for tracking down issues in your application. Implementing these strategies will help you maintain and troubleshoot your JSP applications more efficiently.