How Many Websites Use Java?

A couple of weeks ago I reported on another major security vulnerability in Oracle’s Java. Gaping security holes in Java are nothing new but what made this one even worse is that Oracle were allegedly warned in April – but did nothing for 4 months, leaving millions of users vulnerable to attack…

With that sort of attitude to protection, the most effective security for your computer would be to uninstall Java completely if you don’t need it – but do you?

According to new research from W3Techs, only 0.2% of all the websites in the world still use Java on the client side – i.e. within your web browser. That’s only 2 in every 1000 websites and that ratio has not changed in the last year – so you might expect that very few people would still have the Java plugin?

However, 82% of visitors to TechLogon have it enabled in their browser – and the global average is similar. It is this ubiquity that makes it such a popular target for malware. If it’s only required by 2 in every 1000 websites, why do around 80% of people still have Java enabled in their browser? There may be several reasons:

1. Offline Applications – Some offline apps require it e.g. Adobe Creative Suite and OpenOffice / LibreOffice (mainly the Database module). Users of such programs may have little choice but to keep it installed.

However, you can still disable the Java plugin in your browser – to prevent web based vulnerabilities from being exploited:

java

Do you really need Java?

2. Popular Websites – I’ve reviewed before how many active websites there are in the world – about 190 million. So even a lowly 0.02% figure means that about 380,000 websites do use Java.

These include some games sites (e.g. Runescape, Minecraft, Pogo.com) and other sites offering calculation-heavy content (e.g. 3D maps, financial trading). However, these sites can only be of interest to a small percentage of internet users – I’d guesstimate 5% at most.

If you regularly use a site which requires Java then consider installing a new web browser (with Java enabled) to visit it – and use your regular browser (with it disabled as above) for normal browsing of all other websites.

3. Lack Of Knowledge – In my PC repair business I find that Java is often a forgotten relic or users may not know what it is for and so are afraid to remove it. If there is no logical reason to have it installed, that is a very good reason to uninstall it.

Conclusion

Only about 0.2% of websites use Java – the vast majority of users should therefore be able to uninstall it or disable it in their web browser for better security.

4 Responses to: "How Many Websites Use Java?"

  1. TB says:

    As far as using Java is concerned is it the same as Java scripts?

    I note in one of your recent browser reviews (FF18?) that one of tha main updates or new features us extended Java script support.

    I suspect they wouldnt have gone to such trouble to support 0.02% if sites.

    So whats the difference between Java and Java scripts.

    While on the subject, why is Java so unpopular with websites?

    • Roy says:

      Despite the names, Java has nothing to do with JavaScript (JS). JS is natively supported by all browsers and used by most websites, Java is a separate optional plugin/addon and has been the subject of numerous security flaws so we recommend uninstalling (or at least disabling) it for best security if possible.

      Java used to be more popular but Flash Player (another programming language and optional plugin/addon) long since won that battle and is now used by most websites instead.

      • God says:

        Wow was that reply was really bad. It was written feb 2013? sounds like it was written 2003. FYI: Flash is also going the way of the dodo and fast. ( against my bar wishes ). So unless you want to alienate most mobile devices ( not smart in 2013) then you’ll forget using flash.

      • Roy says:

        @God – I simply explained why Java usage declined. I didn’t claim that competing technologies such as HTML5 won’t in turn overtake Flash at some point – such predictions weren’t relevant to the question that was asked.

        I didn’t comment on web developers either but, unless they want to alienate most non-mobile devices (70% of the market), they’ll continue to support Flash for the moment if they have any sense… See http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Who-Still-Uses-Flash-Video-Just-About-Everybody-84335.aspx for a review of just how many leading sites do still use Flash – it’s going nowhere in the next year of two despite mobile (mainly Apple) users.

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