SIP vs XMPP: Difference and Comparison

Today, there is development in every field. From science to medicine, nothing is left behind.

In this era where most things are done on the internet, communications are also developed day by day to ensure there is no gap and people get connected.

Many communication protocols are used, and SIP and XMPP are two of them that are widely used. They are very similar and used for voice calls and messaging but have differences in how the messages are communicated.

Key Takeaways

  1. SIP primarily uses voice and video communication, while XMPP primarily uses instant messaging and presence information.
  2. SIP is designed to work in a centralized environment, while XMPP works in a decentralized environment.
  3. SIP supports a wider range of codecs, while XMPP supports fewer codecs but has better security features.


SIP is a protocol used for establishing, maintaining, and terminating communication sessions between two or more participants over an IP network. XMPP is an open standard protocol for instant messaging and presence information. It exchanges messages between two or more users in real-time.


SIP is a communication application layer protocol that is used for instant messaging and phone calls over the Internet.

They are text-based protocols that don’t require a server and have many telephony features such as conferencing and Caller ID updates. They are primarily [urposed to maintain, terminate, and modify multimedia communications.

XMPP is similar to SIP but an Open source Extensible Markup Language protocol, which requires the use of a server for the data transfer. They are based on XML – based client-server architecture.

They use structured data exchange, passing the data via streaming pipes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSIPXMPP
DefinitionA communication protocol for controlling and signaling the online communication sessions.A communication protocol is used for transferring messages as well as communication with the servers.
Protocol usedThey use a text-based request-response protocol that is similar to HTTP where core attributes such as headers and message body are used.They use XML-based client-server architecture and via a streaming connection, XMPP sends its request, response, and error messages using XML. 
PurposeThey are purposed for providing session establishment and negotiation without the use of servers and handling the actual data.Their purpose is for instant messaging and presence, and to provide structured data exchange between groups of clients using servers 
TransportThey work over connection-less UDP, TCP, and also over TLS transport.They are implemented in over-connection-oriented TCP or TLS transport.
ConnectionIn the case of NATs and firewalls, the extensions are used for the server to send messages to clients as it works well with TLS and TCP transport.In case of NATs and Firewalls, the extensions are used only for restricted firewalls, but for the above, it works fine.

What is SIP?

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is the application layer communication protocol that doesn’t require server access to signal the message.

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Thye is mainly proposed for signalling, modifying, and terminating multimedia communications. They are used to make VoIP calls, video calls, and instant messaging.

Based on a text-based request-response protocol similar to HTTP, SIP has the flexibility that it can be run over both TCP and UDP and TLS.

Being an inherently peer-to-peer protocol, SIP has more scalability as they don’t have to go to the server in case of an instant message, and thus the bandwidth and processing time with the server is saved.

But here, the limitation is the message will not be stored on the server like XMPP. Also, SIP can doesn’t work well with NATs and firewalls, and thus other extensions are used.

What is XMPP?

XMPP stands for Extensible Presence Protocol, an XML-based client-server protocol used for real-time messaging.

Created in 1999 by Jabber open-source community, XMPP is similar to SIP with the difference that they make use of the server for the request and response and involves structured data exchange.

They use streaming pipes, and via that, the responses, requests, and also errors or indications are passed. They use connection-based protocols such as TCP and TLS.

Since they are client-server architecture, they work well with NATs and Firewalls. They also support many features like:

  • Last Activity
  • Message delivery notification.
  • Can create their XMPP server
  • conference chat sessions

However, they have missed some telephony features such as fax sessions, transfers, etc. They are suitable when implementing a full IM platform.

Main Differences Between SIP and XMPP

  1. SIP is a communication protocol and is a text-based request-response protocol, whereas XMPP is an open Extensible Markup Language protocol and is based on XML-based client-server architecture.
  2. SIP doesn’t require the need for a server, as the communication can be initiated without that, whereas XMPP uses a server for connection establishment.
  3. In SIP, the messages are signalled using SIP headers and body, whereas, In XMPP, the messages are signalled using a streaming pipe, and the request, response, and errors are also passed via a streaming pipe.
  4. SIP can use connection-less UDP, TLS, and TCP, whereas XMPP only runs TCP and TLS.
  5. SIP doesn’t work with NATs and Firewalls as the user agent only sends and receives the messages wheres In XMPP. It works well with NATs and firewalls as only the client insatiate the messages to the server.
  6. SIP doesn’t use the actual data, whereas XMPP handles the actual data.
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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