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Tharindu Dulshan Fernando
Tharindu Dulshan Fernando

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Java Memory Leaks: Find & Conquer

Any circumstance in which you keep allocated memory that you no longer need or intend to utilize is known as a memory leak.
Java memory leaks may be a serious problem that can result in higher memory utilization and reduce the application's performance.

We'll go over what memory leaks are, how to find them, and the best ways to stop them in Java apps in this blog article.

Common causes of memory leaks in Java include:

  • Static references: Static field-referenced objects have a life span equal to that of the classloader, which could result in memory leaks if improperly handled.

  • Unclosed resources: Memory leaks can occur by improperly closing resources such as files, streams, or database connections.

  • Listener or callback references: Shorter-lived objects (like callbacks or listeners) that are referenced by long-lived objects will not be garbage collected even after they are no longer required.

  • Cached Objects: One common method for enhancing application speed is caching. However, large memory leaks can occur from items that are cached and improperly removed when they are no longer needed.

How to Detect Memory Leaks?

While finding memory leaks in Java might be difficult, there are a number of tools and methods available to help:

  1. Heap Dump Analysis: Heap dumps can be captured and examined using programs like VisualVM, YourKit, or Eclipse Memory Analyzer (MAT). Find examples of items that are taking up too much memory or shouldn't be there.

  2. Profiling Tools: Java profilers can be used to track memory utilization and find possible leaks. Profilers will provide the ability to display memory usage patterns, object allocation rates, and objects that are not being garbage collected.

  3. OutOfMemoryError Exceptions: These exceptions are a warning that there is a memory leak in the application and that the app is running out of memory.

Prevention Techniques

Adopting solid coding methods and utilizing the right tools are necessary to prevent memory leaks:

  • Use Weak References: Weak references can be used for caches or listener patterns to avoid keeping objects in memory for longer than necessary.
WeakReference<Object> weakRef = new WeakReference<>(object);
// Use weakRef.get() to access the object
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  • Close Resources Properly: Try-with-resources or finally blocks should always be used to close resources (such as InputStreams, OutputStreams, and Connections) to make sure they are released correctly.
try (InputStream is = new FileInputStream("file.txt")) {
    // Read the input stream from here
} catch (IOException e) {
    // Handle the exceptions here

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  • Avoid Static References: Static fields containing object references should be handled carefully. To enable them to be collected for garbage, make sure they are set to null when no longer required.
public class MySingletonInstance {
    private static MySingletonInstance instance;

    public static MySingletonInstance getInstance() {
        if (instance == null) {
            instance = new MySingletonInstance();
        return instance;

    public void cleanup() {
        // Clean up resources
        instance = null;
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  • Use Garbage Collection Logs: In order to track garbage collection behaviour and identify unusual memory consumption trends, you can enable the garbage collection logs (-XX:+PrintGCDetails and -XX:+PrintGCDateStamps).


Java memory leaks must be understood and handled in order to create reliable and efficient applications. Developers may significantly reduce the occurrence of these problems by using the appropriate tools for detection, following best practices in memory management and coding, and being aware of typical causes. Throughout an application's lifecycle, regular monitoring, profiling, and code reviews are also essential to keeping it leak-free.



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