What I often use is the resource bundle and the class name like this. ResourceBundle bundle = ResourceBundle.getBundle( SomClass.class.getName() ); And it will search for the resource bundle in the classpath. You cat put SomeClass.properties inside your WEB-INF/classes dir Another way is hardcode the name of the bundle getBundle("WebApp"); or getBundle("configuration.WebApp"); and again put the WebApp.properties inside you WEB-INF/classes dir or if you use the second approach WEB-INF/classes/configuration/WebApp.properties The good thing about ResourceBundle is that the .properties file is searched in the class path, plus a locale strategy is used to loead the rigth bundle ( see class description ) so if your default locale is, let say spanish and you have WebApps_es.properties, this will be loaded As this file is searched withing the class path you can put the property file in a jar and put it on the lib dir WEB-INF/lib/compiledClasses.jar or in the war archive ( myWebApp.war - inside classes or lib again ) allowing you tho have a very portable implemetation. But if you want to be able to edit this properties file so you can edit login, password information maybe a better approach could be write that information in the web.xml file as a servlet property. If you don't want to use the ResourceBundle class and still file like Properties aproach, you can write the path in the web.xml file and load it from there // in a servlet File propertiesFile = new File( getContext().getConfig().getProperty("property.file") ); // Sorry I don't remember excactly how to query the servlet config in the web.xml file, but you have the idea.