Socket vs ServerSocket Class: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Basic Purpose: In Java, both Socket and ServerSocket classes are used in network communication. However, the Socket class is used for connecting to a server from a client system, whereas the ServerSocket class is used on the server-side to wait for requests from clients and establish connections.
  2. Methods and Usage: The Socket class methods are used to send and receive data once a connection is made with the server. In contrast, the ServerSocket class primarily uses methods like accept() to listen for and accept connections from client sockets, creating a new Socket object for each client connection.
  3. Application in Client-Server Model: In a typical client-server model, a ServerSocket object is created on the server to listen on a specific port. When a client wants to connect, it creates a Socket object that attempts to connect to the server’s IP address and port. When the ServerSocket accept() method detects the connection request, it returns a new Socket object representing the client connection, which can then be used for communication.

What is Socket Class?

In computer programming, a socket class refers to a programming interface or class that provides a way to establish network communication between different devices over a computer network. Sockets are a fundamental concept in networking and are used for sending and receiving data between computers, whether they’re on the same local network or across the internet.

Sockets enable communication using the client-server model, where one device (the server) listens for incoming connections from other devices (clients) and responds to their requests. Sockets provide a standardized way to manage data transmission and reception, handling details such as data packaging, addressing, and error handling.

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What is ServerSocket Class?

In Java, the ServerSocket class is a part of the standard Java Networking API and is used for creating server applications that listen for incoming client connections over a network. It provides a way to establish server sockets, which can accept incoming client connections and enable communication between the server and multiple clients.

The ServerSocket class provides methods for creating and managing server sockets, accepting incoming connections, and handling data communication. It’s used in conjunction with the Socket class, which represents a client-side socket.

Difference Between Socket and ServerSocket Class

  1. The Socket class represents an endpoint for sending and receiving data over a network. It is used to establish a connection to a remote host and facilitates bidirectional communication. The ServerSocket class is used for creating a server-side endpoint that listens for incoming connection requests from clients. It waits for incoming connections and once a connection is accepted, it returns a Socket instance that represents the communication channel with the client.
  2. A socket is primarily used by client applications to initiate communication with a server. ServerSocket is used by server applications to listen for incoming connections from clients.
  3. A socket is used to establish an outgoing connection to a specific IP address and port on a remote host. ServerSocket binds to a specific port on the server and listens for incoming connection requests from clients.
  4. Socket supports reading from and writing to the remote endpoint, enabling bidirectional data exchange between the client and the server. ServerSocket is primarily used for accepting incoming connections. Once a connection is accepted, the resulting Socket instance handles the actual data communication.
  5. A socket is suitable for client applications that need to communicate with a remote server, such as web browsers interacting with web servers. ServerSocket is suitable for server applications that need to provide services to multiple clients, such as chat servers or online multiplayer games.
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Comparison Between Socket and ServerSocket Class

Parameters of ComparisonSocket ClassServerSocket Class
PurposeRepresents client endpoint for communication.Creates a server-side listening endpoint.
UseClients initiate connections to servers.Servers wait for and accept client connections.
CommunicationSupports bidirectional data exchange.Accepts connections and delegates data communication to Sockets.
InstantiationThe client provides remote IP and port to connect.The server binds to a specific port for listening.
ConcurrencyEach socket operates in its own thread.Listens for connections on a single thread, and new threads are created for accepted connections.
References
  1. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=9ef9c58042b19d44b428803a5a6c82ecb91b85ca
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/224019/

Last Updated : 20 August, 2023

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