What is WebSocket?
WebSockets is a communication protocol that provides a persistent, bidirectional, full-duplex connection between a client and a server over a single TCP connection. It allows for real-time, interactive communication between the client and the server, enabling data to be transmitted in both directions simultaneously.
Unlike traditional HTTP requests, which follow a request-response model, WebSockets establish a long-lived connection that remains open for the duration of the communication session. This persistent connection allows for efficient and low-latency data transfer without the overhead of establishing a new connection for each request.
Key features of WebSockets include:
- Bi-directional communication: WebSockets enable data to be transmitted in both directions, allowing the server to send updates or push data to the client without the need for client-initiated requests.
- Full-duplex communication: With WebSockets, both the client and the server can send and receive data simultaneously, providing a real-time and interactive communication channel.
- Low latency: The persistent connection established by WebSockets eliminates the need to establish new connections for each request, reducing the latency and overhead associated with traditional HTTP requests.
- Lightweight: The WebSocket protocol has a smaller overhead compared to protocols like HTTP, as it eliminates the need for excessive headers and reduces the number of handshakes required.
WebSockets are commonly used in applications that require real-time updates, such as chat applications, collaborative tools, stock market tickers, multiplayer games, and real-time monitoring systems. The protocol is supported by most modern web browsers and can also be used in server-side applications using frameworks and libraries for various programming languages, including Node.js.