RSelenium and Java Heap Space

I’m in the process of deploying a scraper on a DigitalOcean instance. The scraper uses RSelenium with the PhantomJS browser. I ran into a problem though. Although it worked flawlessly on my local machine, on the remote instance it broke with the following error:

Selenium message:Java heap space

Error:   Summary: UnknownError
   Detail: An unknown server-side error occurred while processing the command.
   class: java.lang.OutOfMemoryError
   Further Details: run errorDetails method
Execution halted

Clearly Java a memory issue.

Since the Selenium server is being launched from within R, I did not have direct access to the java command line options. However, setting an environment variable to increase the heap space resolved the problem.

$ export _JAVA_OPTIONS="-Xmx1g"

The scraper is now chugging along happily and I’m moving on with my day.