Getting Started Using WebSocket to build an interactive web application

But as with all applications, using WebSocket entails both careful programming practices and run-time protection to guard against a unique set of threats. This API defense-in-depth strategy will improve protection for both your users and your organization compared to traditional approaches. Discover the five best alternatives to the WebSocket protocol for building realtime apps such as live chat, multiplayer collaboration, and data broadcast applications. The advantage of WebSockets is that they enable realtime communication between the client and server without the need for frequent HTTP requests/responses. This brings benefits such as reduced latency, and improved performance and responsiveness of web apps. To conclude, WebSockets are a very useful protocol for building real-time functionality across web, mobile, and desktop variants, but they are not a one-size-fits-all approach.

On the other hand, shipping production-ready realtime functionality powered by open-source WebSocket libraries is not at easy as building a simple demo app. See, for example, the many engineering challenges involved in scaling Socket.IO, one of the most popular open-source WebSocket libraries out there. The server is terminating the connection because it encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request. The client is terminating the connection because the server failed to negotiate an extension during the opening handshake.


If you wish to receive real-time updates from a server, you must constantly request updates — which can get very expensive when your client is on a mobile device with limited bandwidth and battery life. Unlike with HTTP connections, the server can send data to a client without waiting for it to request it, where the client must send a new request before new data can be received from the server. WebSocket messages are sent over the established WebSocket connection in a binary format. The header contains metadata about the message, including its type (text or binary). WebSockets is a technology that provides full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection.

what is websocket used for

The protocol is designed to allow clients and servers to communicate in realtime, allowing for efficient and responsive data transfer in web applications. From that point on, the initial HTTP connection is upgraded to a WebSocket connection, which operates over the same underlying TCP/IP connection. The client and server can exchange messages seamlessly and simultaneously. Due to its persistent and bidirectional nature, the WebSocket protocol is more flexible than HTTP when building realtime apps that require frequent data exchanges. WebSockets are also more efficient, as they allow data to be transmitted without the need for repetitive HTTP headers and handshakes.

How to start building realtime experiences with WebSockets

Note that the WebSocket protocol doesn’t prescribe any particular way for servers to authenticate clients. For example, you can handle authentication during the opening handshake, by using cookie headers. Another option is to manage authentication (and authorization) at the application level, by using techniques such as JSON Web Tokens. The process of closing a WebSocket connection is known as the closing handshake. In addition to the opcode, the close frame may contain a body that indicates the reason for closing.

Whenever the client makes a new HTTP server request, the default behavior is to open a new HTTP connection. This is inefficient because it uses bandwidth on recurring non-payload data and increases latency between the data transfers. In traditional HTTP, the client sends a request to the server, and the server responds with the requested data. This request-response model requires continuous polling from the client to the server, which can result in increased latency and decreased efficiency. WebSockets provide an alternative to the classic request-response paradigm of HTTP requests and server responses.


Once the connection is established, data can be sent and received in real-time between the client and server. Once connected through an HTTP request/response pair, the clients can use an HTTP/1.1 upgrade header to switch their connection from HTTP to WebSockets. WebSocket connections are fully asynchronous, unlike HTTP/1.1, however. WebSocket connection is established through a WebSocket handshake over the TCP.

what is websocket used for

However, when data flows the other way around, the server must not mask any frames it sends to the client. Included in the HTML Living Standard, the WebSocket API is a programming interface for creating WebSocket connections and managing the data exchange between a client and a server in a web app. It provides a simple and standardized way for developers to use the WebSocket protocol in their applications. The first realtime web apps started to appear in the 2000s, attempting to deliver responsive, dynamic, and interactive end-user experiences.

What is the history of WebSocket?

Long polling can be as efficient as WebSockets in many real-world, real-time implementations. We have developed a method for efficient long polling – written in C and with multiple kernel optimizations for scale. Ramotion is an award winning design agency with more than 10 years of experience in the industry.

  • WebSocket is the ideal solution where real-time data is transmitted between client and server.
  • This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications that require real-time data exchange.
  • Note that the WebSocket protocol doesn’t prescribe any particular way for servers to authenticate clients.
  • In WebSocket, communication occurs at both ends, which makes it a faster protocol.
  • A real-life example of such WebSocket utility is in the bitcoin trading website.
  • If you wish to receive real-time updates from a server, you must constantly request updates — which can get very expensive when your client is on a mobile device with limited bandwidth and battery life.

Gaming applications require multiple gamers to interact and compete at the same time. Players in a car race game can race against one another with all parties receiving live updates as the race progresses. At the end of the game, all users receive stats containing their scores, positions, and rewards. All sorts of arbitrary application data and extension data are known as payload data. The client and servers use this data for negotiation and are used in the early WebSocket handshakes.

However, WebSockets are generally considered to be a lightweight and efficient option for real-time communication, making them a popular choice for many applications. It allows you to build realtime web applications by providing a simple API for creating WebSockets connections. SignalR supports server-side and client-side implementations and can be used with .NET, JavaScript, and other languages. It also offers automatic connection management, broadcasting messages, and scaling across multiple servers.

what is websocket used for

WebSocket programming follows an asynchronous, event-driven programming model. As long as a WebSocket connection is open, the client and the server simply listen for events in order to handle incoming data and changes in connection status (with no need for polling). Every frame that the client sends to the server is masked with a 32-bit value. While gaming application development is going on, it’s imperative that the server is unremittingly receiving the data, without asking for UI refresh. WebSocket accomplish this goal without disturbing the UI of the gaming app. Speaking of its utility, it’s the spine for modern web application development when seamless streaming of data and assorted unsynchronized traffic is concerned.

During a new WebSocket handshake, the client and server also communicate which subprotocol will be used for subsequent interactions. After this is established, the connection will run on the WebSocket protocol. The server then responds with a 101 Switching Protocols response IT blog and the upgrade headers, informing that it accepts the connection upgrade request from the client. After that, both sides can send data whenever they want until one decides to close the connection. With WebSockets, there’s no need for multiple HTTP requests and responses.

what is websocket used for

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Victoria Ryan