Building Real-Time Applications using WebSocket in Node.js

WebSocket is a protocol that enables real-time communication between the client and the server. In traditional web development, HTTP was used which only supports the client requesting data from the server. However, with WebSocket, both the client and the server can initiate communication and send messages to each other in real-time. Node.js provides a powerful framework for building real-time applications using WebSocket.

What is WebSocket?

WebSocket is a communication protocol that provides full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection. This allows real-time communication between the client and the server. Unlike traditional HTTP requests, WebSocket connections remain open and messages can be sent and received asynchronously.

Setting up a WebSocket Server in Node.js

To build real-time applications using WebSocket in Node.js, we need to set up a WebSocket server. This can be done using the ws library, which is a popular WebSocket library for Node.js. First, we need to install the ws library using npm:

npm install ws

Once installed, we can create a WebSocket server using the following code:

const WebSocket = require('ws');

const wss = new WebSocket.Server({ port: 8080 });

wss.on('connection', (ws) => {
  console.log('Client connected');

  ws.on('message', (message) => {
    console.log(`Received message: ${message}`);

    // Process the message and send a response
    ws.send('Response to the client');

  ws.on('close', () => {
    console.log('Client disconnected');

In the above code, we create a new WebSocket server instance and listen on port 8080. When a WebSocket connection is established, the connection event is triggered, and we can handle the communication with the client using the ws object. We listen for incoming messages using the message event and send responses back to the client using the send method. The close event is triggered when the client disconnects.

Connecting to a WebSocket Server from the Client

To connect to the WebSocket server from the client, we can use JavaScript's built-in WebSocket API. The client can establish a connection to the server by creating a new WebSocket instance and providing the server's URL:

const socket = new WebSocket('ws://localhost:8080');

socket.onopen = () => {
  console.log('Connected to the server');

  // Send a message to the server
  socket.send('Hello server');

socket.onmessage = (event) => {
  console.log(`Received message: ${}`);

  // Process the received message

socket.onclose = () => {
  console.log('Disconnected from the server');

In the above code, we create a new WebSocket instance and connect to the server at ws://localhost:8080. Once the connection is established, the onopen event is triggered, and we can send messages to the server using the send method. The onmessage event is triggered when a message is received from the server, and the onclose event is triggered when the connection is closed.

Real-Time Applications using WebSocket

With WebSocket, we can build various real-time applications such as chat applications, real-time collaboration tools, live dashboards, and much more. The real-time capabilities of WebSocket allow for instant updates and synchronization between the client and the server, providing a seamless user experience.

WebSocket can also be used in conjunction with other libraries and frameworks such as React, Angular, and Express.js to build complex real-time applications. By combining the power of WebSocket with the versatility of Node.js, developers can create highly interactive and real-time applications easily.


WebSocket in Node.js provides a powerful mechanism to build real-time applications that can deliver instant updates and dynamic communication between the client and the server. With the help of the ws library and JavaScript's WebSocket API, developers can create real-time applications with ease. The possibilities are endless, and WebSocket opens up a whole new world of real-time web development.

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