JDBC Class.forName() is No Longer Required

With the introduction of JDBC 4.0, the explicit use of Class.forName() to load the JDBC driver is no longer required. The JDBC driver is automatically loaded by the DriverManager when the application is started, provided that the driver JAR is present in the classpath.


Prior to JDBC 4.0, it was mandatory to explicitly load the JDBC driver by invoking Class.forName("com.mysql.cj.jdbc.Driver") or similar code for other drivers. This was necessary to register the driver with the DriverManager. With JDBC 4.0 and later, the driver loading process is simplified and more automatic.

JDBC 4.0 Enhancements

  1. Automatic Driver Loading: When an application starts, all drivers found in the classpath are automatically loaded.
  2. Service Provider Mechanism: JDBC 4.0 utilizes the Service Provider mechanism, which allows for automatic loading of driver classes by using the META-INF/services/java.sql.Driver file inside the JAR file of the JDBC driver.

How It Works

The JDBC driver JAR file includes a META-INF/services/java.sql.Driver file which contains the name of the driver class. When the application starts, the DriverManager scans the classpath for this file and loads the driver automatically.

Example: JDBC Connection without Class.forName()

Here is an example demonstrating how to connect to a MySQL database using JDBC 4.0 without explicitly loading the driver with Class.forName().


Ensure that you have the MySQL JDBC driver in your classpath. For example, if you are using Maven, add the following dependency to your pom.xml:


Example Code

import java.sql.Connection;
import java.sql.DriverManager;
import java.sql.SQLException;

public class JDBCExample {

    private static final String DB_URL = "jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/your_database";
    private static final String DB_USER = "your_username";
    private static final String DB_PASSWORD = "your_password";

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        try (Connection connection = DriverManager.getConnection(DB_URL, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD)) {
            if (connection != null) {
                System.out.println("Successfully connected to the database.");
        } catch (SQLException e) {


  1. Connection URL: The database URL is specified as a JDBC URL string. For MySQL, it is typically in the format jdbc:mysql://hostname:port/database_name.
  2. DriverManager.getConnection: This method is used to establish a connection to the database using the provided URL, username, and password.


  • Simplified Code: No need to explicitly load the driver class using Class.forName().
  • Less Boilerplate: Reduces the amount of boilerplate code, making the application code cleaner and easier to maintain.
  • Automatic Registration: Relies on the Service Provider mechanism to automatically register the JDBC driver with the DriverManager.


With JDBC 4.0 and later versions, the need to explicitly load the JDBC driver using Class.forName() is eliminated. The automatic driver loading mechanism simplifies the process of establishing database connections in Java applications. By ensuring the JDBC driver is in the classpath, you can rely on DriverManager to handle the driver loading, making your code cleaner and more efficient.