REST vs SOAP: Difference and Comparison

REST (Representational State Transfer) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) are similar but different methods for exchanging data.

REST is an architectural style that specifies the data format, messaging pattern, and the set of operations supported.

REST is a simpler technique than SOAP because it can be used with all programming languages, whereas SOAP must be programmed in Java or C#.

SOAP uses XML-based messages, while REST uses JSON-based messages. SOAP is more complicated to set up, while REST is easier to use.

They both have pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the differences before deciding which one you should use.

If you’re considering using either REST or SOAP, these are some things you need to know about each method before deciding.

If you’re looking for a simpler, more cost-effective way to exchange data, REST may be the right choice.

REST is an application architecture that uses HTTP requests and responses to perform operations on remote resources (e.g., GET requests).

REST is easier to implement than SOAP because it can be used with any programming language, not just Java or C#.

However, REST doesn’t allow for the same security level as SOAP, which means some enterprises may not want to use it.

SOAP is an XML-based protocol allowing more control over sending and receiving messages. It’s also more expensive than REST because it requires using Java or C# programming languages.

Key Takeaways

  1. REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style that uses standard HTTP methods. At the same time, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol with a predefined set of rules for exchanging structured information.
  2. REST is faster and more lightweight than SOAP, which uses XML for message exchange and requires more processing overhead.
  3. REST is better suited for public APIs and mobile applications, whereas SOAP is more commonly used for secure, enterprise-level web services.


The difference between REST and SOAP is that SOAP must be set up on a web server, while REST does not need a web server. SOAP sends messages in batches, while REST sends messages in single requests. SOAP does not have any built-in security features, while REST has basic security features built into it. You will need to use third-party software if you’re using SOAP because it doesn’t have native support when sending emails or making HTTP requests, whereas REST has built-in support for these operations.


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RESTful services are stateless, which means they have no memory or persistence. They’re hypermedia-enabled, meaning they can receive any data in any format and transform it into something else–HTML or XML.

SOAP is a protocol that has been designed to be used with XML. It was created because there wasn’t a standard way of exchanging data across distributed components. So it uses XML messages to send data back and forth.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRESTSOAP
MeaningJSON-based messagesXML-based messages
ComplexitySimple to set upComplex to set up
LanguageWorks with Java or C# programming languages onlyWorks with Java or C# programming languages only
ProgrammingTypically needs to be programmed in Java or C#More complicated than REST
CostLower upfront costCostlier

What is REST?

REST (Representational State Transfer) architecture is based on the principle of being stateless and reliant on hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).

It uses caching, compression, and content negotiation techniques to reduce response time and network bandwidth usage. REST is a technique for accessing and manipulating data on the web.

RESTful web services use HTTP methods, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE, to communicate between two endpoints. REST uses hypertext as its model for data presentation and manipulation.

REST is an architectural style for designing networked applications. It can be used to create both web-based services and web APIs.

RESTful applications are designed using several constraints that come with style. Namely: REST is not a protocol like HTTP. The constraints above are guidelines that may or may not be followed in implementing RESTful applications.

Applications built with these guidelines must still use the appropriate protocols – HTTP, TCP, UDP – to function properly.

What is SOAP?

SOAP is a protocol that provides a standard way to exchange data. SOAP aims to generate standards between programs that allow different devices and software platforms to communicate with one another.

The most important function of SOAP is the ability to transmit data between distributed, heterogeneous systems. This can be helpful if you don’t want every system to need an update when there’s a change in one system.

SOAP’s typical message format consists of XML-based messages with additional headers and footers.

SOAP is a software protocol for exchanging data over a network. SOAP relies on XML-based messages sent using the HTTP protocol to deliver information between two endpoints.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a lightweight protocol for exchanging XML messages over computer networks which provides interoperability between different types of computers and programming languages.

SOAP uses Web Services Description Language (WSDL), which allows remote services over HTTP or HTTPS to access different types of media, including text, images, audio, video, etc.

Main Differences Between REST and SOAP

  1. REST uses JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) as its data format, whereas SOAP uses XML.
  2. SOAP is a remote procedure call (RPC) protocol, while REST is an architectural style.
  3. REST supports CRUD (create, read, update and delete) operations, while SOAP supports CRUD and RPCs.
  4. SOAP must be programmed in Java or C#, whereas REST can be used with all languages.
  5. SOAP is more complicated to set up than REST because it requires a dedicated server to host the Web service interface and a Web service development framework such as Microsoft .NET Framework to write SOAP-based Web services. In contrast, REST requires no dedicated server or specific software for Web services development other than the programming language used to develop the Web service, making it much easier to set up than SOAP.
  6. While both methods have a setup cost, REST has a lower upfront cost to implement than SOAP since there are no servers or frameworks required for its implementation other than the programming language used to develop the web service, which takes care of any additional expenses.

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

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