TL; DR: Metawerx, based in Australia, has pioneered the Java hosting space since 1997. The company has fine-tuned its hosting and support service over decades to cater to the needs of developers, their clients, and SMEs. Leveraging its strong background in computer and network security, Metawerx also provides consulting services to hosted and external clients. Ultimately, the company’s mission is to offer a range of flexible, developer-friendly hosting solutions backed by solid expertise.
Health club chains, investment management firms, and the makers of refrigerator monitoring devices aren’t often lumped into the same category. But when it comes to the internet, they’re not exactly worlds apart.
All three types of businesses require reliable hosting infrastructure to keep their operations up and running. Refrigerator sensors must stay online to protect perishables in dairy factories from costly temperature fluctuations. Gyms and health clubs have to ensure connectivity between multiple check-in systems via remote database hosting. And fund managers are obligated to provide secure, consistent access to customer portals.
This unlikely trio has another thing in common: They’re all represented in the unique customer base that trusts the Australian company Metawerx to deliver dependable, personalized, and highly performant hosting solutions.
“With a 99.95% uptime guarantee and multiple levels of failover, we have been successful at hosting these types of highly specialized customers that rely upon the availability of their systems,” said Neale Rudd, Managing Director at Metawerx.
Founded in 1997, Metawerx uses its 24 years of Java and security experience to satisfy the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as those of developers and their clients. Customers who host their applications with Metawerx can often shorten project delivery time by months while ensuring high levels of security, stability, and uptime for development, staging, and production systems.
The company also provides a wide range of secure, redundant hosting plans — from affordable shared servers to fully managed Java-based dedicated servers and clusters. Other developer-friendly solutions include open-source database hosting with support for SQL Server, MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and CouchDB.
Pioneering Australia’s Java Hosting Market
Metawerx, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, first dipped its toes into the Java hosting market by serving a handful of local shops and developers.
“There were around eight other Java hosting companies worldwide at the time, some also offering PHP,” Neale said. “We decided to focus exclusively on supporting Java as it was a great new technology. It was clean to develop in and had performance and scalability advantages. Plus, our own software was written in Java so we had fun supporting other Java developers.”
Metawerx became the first Java hosting company in Australia in 1997. Today, the company serves as the largest dedicated Java hosting provider in the country, offering everything from affordable Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions for Apache Tomcat to fully managed Java-based dedicated servers.
The company continued to trailblaze the Java hosting market in 2012.
That year, Metawerx became the first host in the world to score 100% on the SSL Server Test — a free service powered by Qualys SSL Labs that provides in-depth analyses on SSL web server configurations. “We modified the OpenJDK and Tomcat source code to implement the required features,” Neale explained.
By November 1, 2012, there were still fewer than five cases in which a site achieved a score of 100%.
The team is also known for creating a Reference Guide for Tomcat to share helpful information with Metawerx users and the Java community as a whole. “We have a popular Java/Tomcat Wiki, which even Google has referenced in its Google App Engine documentation for years — listed above the Java Servlet specification itself,” Neale said.
Providing Specialized Managed Services
Metawerx, now in its 24th year, has broadened its product portfolio over time. Today, the company offers everything from Java hosting and dedicated servers to Subversion hosting and IMAP mail.
“In the past, our dedicated servers were a good match for customers who needed to scale but wanted their data to remain in Australia and be managed by us,” Neale said. “Subversion and IMAP were popular for security and privacy, allowing full-service offerings all within the same company, management, and location.”
Neale told us that today, many developers are turning to private GitHub repositories instead of the Subversion control system and replacing dedicated hardware with virtual private servers — making Subversion hosting less relevant.
“Instead, we have moved into remote server management for some of our larger customers who host in-house for various reasons,” Neale said.
The shift toward virtualization and cloud infrastructure has allowed developers and companies to maintain their servers at a fraction of the cost of leasing and colocating their own hardware.
“As so many hosting companies were offering VPS and the big players were moving into the space with cloud offerings, Metawerx went down the path of remaining a specialist Java host with a high level of support,” Neale told us. “Our goal was to allow developers to focus exclusively on their project or ecommerce site and leave security, upgrades, monitoring, and network and server administration to us.”
This ultimately served as an advantage for the company, especially when developers moved on to other projects, leaving their customers to manage their hosting on their own. “Metawerx would keep them running smoothly,” Neale said. “And often, the same developers would come back with additional projects.”
Tier-Free Support Around the Clock
In addition to Java expertise, a strong security background, and automatic failover systems, Metawerx stands apart from the competition by offering seriously high-quality customer service.
“When you contact us, you’ll notice we have no tiered or automated support,” Neale said. “You will be speaking directly with someone who can fix or assist with your problem with years of experience in the field.”
Knowledgeable, dependable support keeps costs down, saves time on development and deployment, and helps prevent downtime. (Remember — Metawerx has an impressive 99.95% uptime guarantee).
“We charge more than VPS hosts, but the benefits of experienced support often aren’t realized until you need it,” Neale explained. “It’s basically high-level support on-demand at a low cost. Our number one benefit is that we act as a hosting partner rather than a hosting service.”
Neale said the support team recently exemplified the benefits of this hands-on approach when a business that hosts its ecommerce system with Metawerx held a national sales campaign.
“They had selected to host their images on a well-known content distribution network (CDN) and their ecommerce system with us,” he said. “Unfortunately, the CDN had a maximum limit they were unaware of, and during the peak sale time — as their advertising came out — their images refused to load. We were able to mitigate this quickly for them.”
Anticipating the Move to OpenJDK
Like everything else at Metawerx, the company’s internal development processes largely revolve around the customer. Neale told us the team employs a proactive and reactive approach.
“Sometimes we come up with an idea we think will make things easier or safer for our customers,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a special requirement a customer has, which we then blend into our existing offerings.”
As for what the future holds, Metawerx is currently focused on OpenJDK 17, the reference implementation of version 17 of the Java SE Platform.
“The move to OpenJDK involves challenges in migrating code, and the great teams at Tomcat and TomEE are always implementing new features,” Neale said. “I think it’s going to be an exciting few years in this space.”