WebRTC vs WebSocket: Which One to Choose for Your Web

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WebRTC vs WebSocket: Which One to Choose for Your Web

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March 14th, 2024

Web applications are popular nowadays, and they’re getting more advanced, letting people chat and work together instantly. But to make a web app that can do this, you must pick the right way to communicate. Two common options are WebRTC and WebSocket. They both have their good points and challenges. This article will explain how WebRTC vs. WebSocket works and when you might want to use each. By the end, you’ll know which is best for your web APP development techniques.

WebRTC vs. WebSocket: What is WebRTC?

WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communication. It’s like a toolbox that lets you add real-time chatting and video calls to your websites or mobile apps. With WebRTC, you can send all kinds of stuff like video, audio, or regular data straight between users without needing a server. Most modern web app data storage systems support WebRTC, and special tools are available for using it on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. 

WebRTC consists of several interrelated APIs. Here are the key ones:

  • RTCPeerConnection: This helps you connect to other users and keep that connection going until you’re done.
  • RTCDataChannel: This lets users send all sorts of data back and forth, like messages or files.
  • MediaStream: This helps you manage video and audio streams from your device’s camera and microphone.

WebRTC vs. WebSocket: What is WebSocket?

WebSocket is another way for web browsers and servers to talk to each other in real time. It sets up a connection that stays open as long as needed, allowing both sides to send messages whenever they want. It’s like having a phone line that’s always open between your browser and the server.

The WebSocket technology includes two core building blocks:

  • The WebSocket protocol: This is a set of rules for how browsers and servers can communicate in real time.
  • The WebSocket API is a set of tools that lets developers work with WebSocket connections in their code.

What’s the difference between WebRTC vs. WebSocket?

WebRTC and WebSocket are different in how they work and what they’re used for. Here are some key differences:

  1. How they communicate: WebSocket works more like a regular phone call between your browser and a server, while WebRTC sets up direct connections between users.
  2. What they can send: WebSocket can only send simple messages, but WebRTC can handle all kinds of stuff like video calls and file sharing.
  3. Speed: WebRTC is usually faster because it uses a faster connection, but WebSocket is more reliable because it ensures every message gets through in order.
  4. Security: Both are secure, but WebRTC has features like end-to-end encryption and extra ways to check who you’re talking to.

WebRTC vs. WebSocket: Pros and Cons of WebRTC:


  1. WebRTC enables top-notch video and audio streaming with minimal delay and ample bandwidth.
  2. Users can communicate directly with each other without needing a central server. This reduces server load and costs enhances scalability, and boosts privacy.
  3. Nearly all modern browsers support WebRTC, making it easy to use across different platforms.
  4. WebRTC ensures robust security by encrypting and authenticating data with protocols like SRTP. It also supports extra security features such as end-to-end encryption, identity verification, and firewall traversal.


  1. Implementing and maintaining WebRTC requires significant technical expertise due to its complexity. It involves multiple components and protocols like signaling, STUN, TURN, ICE, SDP, and RTP.
  2. Some older browsers and devices may not fully support WebRTC, leading to compatibility issues. Additionally, there might be interoperability problems with various implementations and versions of the framework.
  3. WebRTC’s use of UDP instead of TCP can make it less reliable. UDP doesn’t ensure delivery order or packet integrity, potentially causing packet loss, jitter, or corruption and affecting communication quality.

WebRTC vs. WebSocket: Pros and Cons of WebSocket:


  1. WebSocket facilitates efficient back-and-forth communication between clients and servers over a single connection, eliminating the need for polling or long-polling.
  2. WebSocket maintains minimal overhead using a lightweight protocol and avoiding excessive HTTP headers with each message.
  3. WebSocket relies on TCP, ensuring the orderly and error-free delivery of data packets.
  4. WebSocket supports various data types, including binary data and text strings. It also allows developers to implement custom application logic and protocols on top of it.


  1. WebSocket’s communication model depends on a central server, increasing server load, costs, scalability issues, and privacy risks.
  2. Some older browsers and devices may not support WebSocket, requiring special server setups to handle the WebSocket protocol.
  3. WebSocket offers secure communication through SSL/TLS encryption but lacks additional security features WebRTC provides, such as end-to-end encryption.

WebRTC vs. WebSocket: When to use WebRTC:

WebRTC is one of the best App development tools that needs top-notch video and audio streaming, direct user communication, and robust security. Here are some examples:

  • Video conferencing platforms
  • Live streaming platforms
  • Online gaming platforms
  • Remote collaboration tools
  • Telemedicine platforms

WebRTC vs. WebSocket: When to use WebSocket:

WebSocket is great for applications that require two-way communication, minimal overhead, reliability, and adaptability. Here are some examples:

  • Chat applications
  • Social media platforms
  • Online trading platforms
  • IoT applications
  • Real-time analytics platforms

If you’re still unsure which tool is the best, you can collaborate with The App Founders to choose the most suitable tools.


WebRTC and WebSocket serve different purposes, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Choosing between them depends on your application’s requirements, security needs, and performance expectations.WebRTC is preferable for applications needing high-quality streaming, direct peer-to-peer communication, and strong security. WebSocket suits applications requiring two-way communication, low overhead, reliability, and flexibility.


Q: Can I use both WebRTC and WebSocket together?

A: You can combine WebRTC and WebSocket in your web app. Many WebRTC apps use WebSocket for signaling peer connections and sending additional data alongside streams.

Q: How can I test WebRTC or WebSocket performance?

A: You can use browser dev tools to analyze network activity, latency, and other metrics. Online testing tools like WebRTC Test or WebSocket Test can also assess compatibility and speed. Creating custom testing tools with libraries like WebRTC Troubleshooter is another option.

Q: Where can I learn more about WebRTC or WebSocket?

A: Explore official documentation for in-depth information on specifications and APIs. Online courses like “WebRTC for Beginners” or “WebSocket Essentials” provide practical learning opportunities.

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