Socket vs Port – Detailed Explanation and Difference

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,Protocol

Socket vs Port

What is Socket Port?

A socket port is one endpoint in a statement flow in the middle of two programs running over a network, also it is maintaining and allow communication between two different processes on the same or different machines. socket address is the combination of an IP address and a port number.

Related – IP Address vs Port Number


In networking, a socket is used to allow many processes within a single or different host to use TCP communication simultaneously.

The socket is formed by including the IP address with the port number to uniquely identify each separate data stream.  A connection can be fully specified by the sockets at each end.

Also, we call socket as a type of a ‘tag’, that individually identifies and keeps a connection, such that request and reply are sent & received by the correctly mapped application running on a device.

Socket arrange for an interface for programming networks at the transport layer.


Socket Address: Socket address is a combination of IP address and a Port number.

socket vs port


Active Socket
Associated to a remote active socket through an open data connection.
Closing the association terminates the active sockets at each point.

Passive Socket
Associated, but awaits an incoming connection, which will brood a new active socket.

For more clarity, let’s take an example – Think of your machine as an apartment building –

  • A port is an apartment number.
  • A socket is the door of an apartment.
  • An IP address is the street address of the building.

Some of the commonality between port number and Socket is shared below –

  • Ports and sockets help identify process running on host machine uniquely.
  • When a web page is terminated automatically, the socket programs will be terminated and associated port numbers are released back.

What is Port Socket?

In the Internet Protocol Suite, a port socket is an endpoint of communication in an operating system. in software, it is a rational construct that classifies a particular process or a sort of network service.

And it is permanently related with an IP address of a host and the protocol type of the statement, and thus finalizes the destination or origination network address of a communication session.

Port is called as a service delivered by a machine and each and every service running with a particular or customized port (The service is recognized by a port number).

There are a lot of consistent port numbers for general services.

TCP and UDP use ports to map inward data to an individual process on a computer.

port socket



Ports are signified by optimistic (16-bit) numeral value between 0 and 65535

The port numbers are allocated into three ranges

  • Well Known Ports  0  to  1023. Assigned & controlled by IANA.
  • Registered Ports, 1024 to 49151. Not assigned & controlled by IANA. But registered by IANA.
  • Dynamic and/or Private Ports, 49152 to 65535.Not assigned & registered by IANA

Some ports have been kept to provision shared / well-known service.

  • FTP 21/tcp
  • Telnet 23/tcp
  • SMTP 25/tcp
  • SSH  22/tcp

Related – Switchport Access Mode VS Trunk Mode

Comparison table: Socket vs Port

"Port" is a number used by a particular software. The same port may be used in different computers/servers running same software.
Socket is combination of “Port” and “IP address” to identify particular software and particular computer/Server
A socket is an end point of a bidirectional communication that occurs in a computer network that is based on the Internet protocol
A port is a logical data connection that can be used to exchange data without the use of a temporary file or storage
Ports operate at the Transport layer of the OSI
Sockets are a means of plugging the application layer in
Port is request running on that socket and port uses socket to deliver the packet to correct application.
A socket is the way a server and a client keep track of requests.
A port functions like a telephone number, identifying the machine and giving the socket an area to connect.
While the socket functions like a cord that ties the computers together.

Download the above difference between Socket and Port table here.









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