Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

Sockets is a method for communication between a client program and a server program in a network. A socket is defined as "the endpoint in a connection." Sockets are created and used with a set of programming requests or "function calls" sometimes called the sockets application programming interface (API). The most common sockets API is the Berkeley UNIX C interface for sockets. Sockets can also be used for communication between processes within the same computer.

This is the typical sequence of sockets requests from a server application in the "connectionless" context of the Internet in which a server handles many client requests and does not maintain a connection longer than the serving of the immediate request:

socket()
|
bind()
|
recvfrom()
|
(wait for a sendto request from some client)
|
(process the sendto request)
|
sendto (in reply to the request from the client...for example, send an HTML file)

A corresponding client sequence of sockets requests would be:

socket()
|
bind()
|
sendto()
|
recvfrom()

Sockets can also be used for "connection-oriented" transactions with a somewhat different sequence of C language system calls or functions.

This was last updated in April 2005
Contributor(s): John Harschutz
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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