WebSockets - Overview


In literal terms, handshaking can be defined as gripping and shaking of right hands by two individuals, as to symbolize greeting, congratulations, agreement or farewell. In computer science, handshaking is a process that ensures the server is in sync with its clients. Handshaking is the basic concept of Web Socket protocol.

The following diagram shows the server handshake with various clients −


Web Sockets – Definition

Web sockets are defined as a two-way communication between the servers and the clients, which mean both the parties communicate and exchange data at the same time.

The key points of Web Sockets are true concurrency and optimization of performance, resulting in more responsive and rich web applications.

Description of Web Socket Protocol

This protocol defines a full duplex communication from the ground up. Web sockets take a step forward in bringing desktop rich functionalities to the web browsers. It represents an evolution, which was awaited for a long time in client/server web technology.

The main features of web sockets are as follows −

  • Web socket protocol is being standardized, which means real time communication between web servers and clients is possible with the help of this protocol.

  • Web sockets are transforming to cross platform standard for real time communication between a client and the server.

  • This standard enables new kind of the applications. Businesses for real time web application can speed up with the help of this technology.

  • The biggest advantage of Web Socket is it provides a two-way communication (full duplex) over a single TCP connection.


HTTP has its own set of schemas such as http and https. Web socket protocol also has similar schema defined in its URL pattern.

The following image shows the Web Socket URL in tokens.


Browser Support

The latest specification of Web Socket protocol is defined as RFC 6455 – a proposed standard.

RFC 6455 is supported by various browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera.