Difference between stateless and stateful protocols

A stateless protocol is one in which each communication is treated as a separate event, unrelated to other communications of the same type.

A stateful protocol, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of a stateless protocol, in which each communication is treated as part of a broader sequence.

Read through this article to find out more about stateless and stateful protocols and how they are different from each other.

What is Stateful Protocol?

In Stateful Protocol, when a client sends a request to the server, it expects a response; it resends the request if it does not receive one.

  • Stateful applications and procedures may be used repeatedly, such as online banking or email. They're carried out in the context of prior transactions, and what happened in previous transactions may impact the current transaction. As a result, stateful apps use the same servers every time they perform a user request.

  • If a stateful transaction is interrupted, the context and history are saved, allowing you to resume the transaction almost exactly where you left off.

  • Window position, configuration preferences, and recent activity are all tracked by stateful programs. Stateful transactions can be thought of as a continuous, periodic discussion with the same person

Following are the some of the salient features of Stateful protocols −

  • Server design is bit complex as it has to maintain the connection information.

  • Backing storage is required to store the client data on server.

  • Better performance as Server keeps track of request from client and can act accordingly.

  • Consecutive requests/data packets depend upon the server state.

What is Stateless Protocol?

A Stateless Protocol is a type of network protocol in which a server responds to the client requests based on the current state. A Stateless Protocol doesn’t require a server to retain the session information or the status of every client in multiple requests.

Stateless protocols consume fewer resources because systems do not need to keep track of orientation information to connect numerous transmissions. Remember, each communication is treated as a separate event, hence Stateless implies there are no saved reference to previous transactions.

Following are the some of the salient features of Stateless protocols −

  • Server design is quite simplified.

  • Low requirement of resources, as server is not required to maintain any state of client or session during transactions between client and server.

  • Each communication between server and client is independent of each other.

  • Each data packet is independent to each other and no dependency on another packet.

Due to the inherent risks of stateless protocols, several stateful protocols have emerged. Stateful inspection and some network processes, for example, allow networks to determine whether traffic is a new message or a response to an earlier message.

Difference between Stateless and Stateful Protocols

The following table highlights the major differences between Stateless and Stateful Protocols −

DefinitionStateless Protocol is a network protocol in which Client send request to the server and server response back as per the given state.Stateful Protocol is a network protocol in which if client send a request to the server then it expects some kind of response, in case of no response then it resend the request.
ExamplesHTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), UDP (User Datagram Protocol), DNS (Domain Name System)FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Telnet.
Server RestrictionThe Stateless Protocol does not need the server to save any session information.The Stateful Protocol necessitates that the server saves the status and session data.
DependencyThe server and client in a stateless system are loosely connected and can behave independently.In Stateful, the server and the client are tightly bound.
DesignServer design is simple to implement. It is very easy to implement a Stateless Protocol on the Internet.Server design is comparatively complex and it is very difficult to implement a Stateful Protocol on the Internet.
Crash ProofAfter a crash, a failed server can be readily resumed.A server must store session information as well as other details. It's challenging to deal with a crash.
TransactionsTransactions are processed much more quickly by the server.In comparison, the server is slow.


Stateful protocols are better than stateless protocols because systems can operate more intelligently and acquire more information about each transaction by employing stateful protocols. This can aid in detecting spam, fraudulent messages, and cybercrime such as hacking and phishing.