What is WebSocket and How It Works?

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The server cannot send data to the client unless it requests it first. This can create issues for use cases where messaging needs to go out in real time from the server side. Furthermore, Web Sockets also allow for bi-directional communication, meaning that both the client and the server can send data to each other.

what is websocket used for

And with this in mind, it’s no surprise that more developers are choosing to use WebSockets for their real-time applications. The WebSocket protocol is a networking protocol that allows two-way communication between a web browser and a web server. The WebSocket protocol was standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 2011 as RFC 6455. They allow you to send clients messages without constantly polling the server for updates.

Browser support

This makes them a much better solution than HTTP or AJAX long polling. The configureMessageBroker() method implements the default method in WebSocketMessageBrokerConfigurer to configure the message broker. It starts by calling enableSimpleBroker() to enable a simple memory-based message broker to carry the greeting messages back to the client on destinations prefixed with /topic. It also designates the /app prefix for messages that are bound for methods annotated with @MessageMapping. For example, /app/hello is the endpoint that the GreetingController.greeting() method is mapped to handle. Internally, the implementation of the method simulates a processing delay by causing the thread to sleep for one second.

what is websocket used for

WebSocket opens doors to endless possibilities and empowers organizations to build dynamic, responsive, and immersive web applications. A WebSocket connection is established using a handshake protocol similar to the HTTP upgrade request. The WebSocket protocol specification defines the specific format of data frames, which are used for communication between client and server. This is efficient when persistent communication is not required between client and server. For example, general web browsing doesn’t require a persistent connection and HTTP is the best method of communication.


Chat application developers call out WebSocket for help in operations like a one-time exchange and publishing/broadcasting the messages. As the same WebSocket connection is used for sending/receiving IT blog messages, communication becomes easy and quick. When the connection is established and alive the communication takes place using the same connection channel until it is terminated.

Have a look at the below-mentioned text and gain better clarity on HTTP and WebSocket. A real-life example of such WebSocket utility is in the bitcoin trading website. Here, WebSocket assist in data handling that is impelled by the deployed backend server to the client. WebSocket are an essential client-server communication tool and one needs to be fully aware of its utility and avoid scenarios to benefit from its utmost potential. Full duplex means that data can be sent either way on the connection at any time.

What is a WebSocket connection?

The building block structure of our platform allows for extra features like Presence, operational dashboards, or geolocation to be incorporated. PubNub also makes it extremely easy to scale, especially compared to socket frameworks like Socket.io or SocksJS. It provides a straightforward API for creating WebSocket servers and clients, making it easy to integrate websockets into your Node.js applications.

what is websocket used for

WebSockets are just one software tool that fits into a larger arsenal when developing real-time, communication-based applications that require low latency. It is possible to build off of basic WebSocket protocol, incorporate other methods like SSE or long polling, and construct an even better, more scalable real-time application. The problem is that when you use WebSockets, the shortcomings can be difficult to manage if you are not an expert in building real-time systems. PubNub is a real-time communications platform that provides the foundation for authentic virtual experiences, like live updates, in-app chat, push notifications, and more.

What are the pros and cons of WebSockets?

Through collaboration on IRC and W3C mailing lists, they came up with a plan to introduce a new standard for modern, truly realtime communication on the web. An app such as Robinhood can deliver real-time information, and update it as it changes. In the context of WebSocket, a connection failure refers to the inability to establish or maintain a stable communication link between the client and the server. In other words, a connection failure means the WebSocket connection is dropped. The connection remains open until one side closes the channel, at which point the connection closes and the client-server engagement ends. Like any communication protocol, WebSockets can pose security risks if not implemented correctly.

  • Like any communication protocol, WebSockets can pose security risks if not implemented correctly.
  • Automatically handled for you by most WebSocket libraries or by using the WebSocket class provided in browsers.
  • This is inefficient because it uses bandwidth on recurring non-payload data and increases latency between the data transfers.

Without fragmentation, an endpoint would have to buffer the entire message before sending it. With fragmentation, the endpoint can choose a reasonably sized buffer, and when that is full, send subsequent frames as a continuation. The receiving endpoint then assembles the frames to recreate the WebSocket message.

WebSockets vs. Other Communication Protocols

In coordination with IETF, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) maintains the WebSocket Protocol Registries, which define many of the codes and parameter identifiers used by the protocol. To clarify, Sec-WebSocket-Version, one can explain the WebSocket protocol version ready to use for the client. You can start in minutes with our complete app and API Security Platform.

Masking key, when combined with payload data, assists payload data sharing in an XOR operation. Doing so holds great importance from the application API security as masking keeps cache misinterpreting or cache poisoning at bay. Low latency means that there is very little delay between the time you request something and the time you get a response. To provide an optimal user experience, realtime location tracking must be delivered to end-users with low latencies; the WebSocket technology is oftentimes used to this end. This process of keeping the backend and frontend in realtime sync is frequently achieved using low-latency, bidirectional WebSockets. There are, for example, solutions like Firebase that offer a realtime database that can push updates to clients over WebSockets.

When not to use WebSockets

This body consists of a status code (integer) and a UTF-8 encoded string (the reason). WebSockets can transmit any type of data that can be serialized into a string or binary format, including text, images, and multimedia. This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications that require real-time data exchange. Yes, WebSockets can be used in mobile applications that support the WebSocket protocol. Many mobile app development frameworks provide built-in support for WebSockets, making it easy to integrate real-time communication into mobile apps. The most customary use of WebSocket is in real-time application development wherein it assists in a continual display of data at the client end.

what is websocket used for

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