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What is the Difference Between a Port and a Socket

writter  Sumit Dey Sarkar
Date  07 May 2023
Language  Blog
What is the Difference Between a Port and a Socket

What is the Difference Between a Port and a Socket

In this article we will see difference between a port and a soket.


What is the Difference Between a Port and a Socket

What is the difference between a port and a socket

In the environment we currently live in, it is difficult to imagine existence without networking. From the internet to the local network, we are connected to various devices and services, and each of them communicates with the help of ports and sockets. These two names are different even sometime they are occasionally merged. We will describe difference between a port and a socket in this article, as well as we also see how they all work together to create network connections.


What is a port?

A port is a logical address that represents a specific process or service that is operating on a connected to networks device. It is a number between 0 and 65535 that helps the operating system to route incoming network traffic to the appropriate application or service. For instance, when you go to a new page on a website, your web browser will establish a connection to the server by utilizing a certain port. This will allow the browser to communicate with the server. This port is commonly port 80 for traffic that is HTTP or port 443 for traffic that is HTTPS.


Ports are divided into three ranges: well-known ports, registered ports, and dynamic or private ports. Well-known ports are reserved for specific services and applications, such as port 80 for HTTP or port 21 for FTP. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) provides registered ports to registered programs and services, while dynamic or private ports are used only periodically by programs or services.

What is a Port


What is a socket?

A socket is a software abstraction that represents an endpoint of a network connection. The Internet Protocol (IP) address and port number of a network connection are the sole pieces of information that may be used to identify a network connection. A socket is a type of network connection point that serves as a window or door for data transmission between two connected devices. The operating system uses sockets to establish network connections between applications or services running on different devices.


A socket is made up of 4 bits of information: The Internet Protocol (IP) address of the device being used, the port number of the application being used, the IP address of another device, and the port number of the remote application. Such information must be shared between two devices in order to set up a socket connection when they want to communicate. The transfer and reception of data between the two devices are possible after the socket connection was established.

What is a Socket


What differentiates a port from a socket?

A socket and a port both identify a specific service or application, but a socket specifies the endpoint of a network connection by combining an IP address with a port number. To explain it a different way, a socket is a physical address, where a port is a logical address.

A port can be compared to a phone number if a socket can be compared to a phone line. A phone number identifies a specific person or organization, while a phone line represents a physical connection between two phones. Similarly, a port identifies a specific service or application, while a socket represents a physical connection between two devices.

A socket is an active element, whereas a port is a passive element. This is another thing between the two. A port is always present and waiting for incoming network traffic, while a socket is created and destroyed dynamically as network connections are established and terminated.



In conclusion, ports and sockets are essential components of networking that help devices to communicate with each other. An IP address and port number are the two components that make up a socket, which is the endpoint of a network connection. One way to think of an endpoint is as a point at which a network connection terminates. A port is a logical address that defines a specific service or program that is presently running on a device. Ports are passive elements that are always present, while sockets are active elements that are created and destroyed dynamically as network connections are established and terminated. For networking administrators and programmers who need to create and manage network applications and services, understanding the difference between ports and sockets is necessary.


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