Qualcuno Qualcuno - 1 month ago 11x
Javascript Question

Socket.io 1.x: use WebSockets only?

We are developing a web application that will run only on modern browsers (IE10+) for different reasons.

One of the features we implemented is Socket.io 1.x. However, by default the Socket.io client tries to support older browsers, so it starts a connection with long polling and then updates that to WebSockets. This is a waste of time and resources, given we know for sure the browser supports WS.

I've searched around, and I can only find this wiki page which, however, is about Socket.io 0.9.

Eventually, I found the documentation for engine.io-client (on which Socket.io-client is based on the 1.x branch). This is the code that I wrote and seems to be working. However, I would like to know if it's correct or if I'm doing something wrong:

io.connect('https://...', {
upgrade: false,
transports: ['websocket']

Weirdly, just setting the
property to an array with
only wasn't enough; I also had to disable
. Is this correct?


I made some new discoveries.

set to
only, it doesn't make any difference wether
is enabled or not. Is that normal?


There are two types of "upgrades" happening with socket.io. First (in socket.io 1.0+), socket.io starts all connections with an http polling request and it may actually exchange some initial data with just an http request. Then, at some point after that, it will try to actually initiate a webSocket connection. the webSocket connection is done by sending a particular type of http request that specifies an upgrade: websocket header and the server can then respond appropriately whether it supports websocket or not. If the server agrees to the upgrade, then that particular http connection is "upgraded" to the webSocket protocol. At that point, the client then knows that webSocket is supported and it stops using the polling http requests, thus completing its upgrade to webSocket.

You can prevent the initial http polling entirely by doing this on the client:

var socket = io({transports: ['websocket'], upgrade: false});

This will prevent polling connections from your own cooperating clients. If you want to prevent any clients from ever using polling, then you can add this to the server:

io.set('transports', ['websocket']);

But, if you set this on the server, socket.io clients that are initially connecting with http polling will not work at all. So, this should only be matched with the right settings in the client such that the client never starts with polling.

This will tell both ends that you only want to use webSockets and socket.io will skip the extra http polling at the beginning. Fair warning, doing this requires webSocket support so this rules out compatible with older versions of IE that didn't yet support webSocket. If you want to retain compatibility, then just let socket.io do it's thing with a couple http requests initially.

Here's more info on the protocol upgrade from http to webSocket.

The webSockets protocol initiates EVERY webSocket with an HTTP connection. That's the way all webSockets work. That HTTP connection contains some headers on it that indicate that the browser would "like" to upgrade to the webSockets protocol. If the server support that protocol, then it responds telling the client that it will upgrade to the webSocket protocol and that very socket then switches from the HTTP protocol to the webSocket protocol. This is how a webSocket connection is designed to work. So, the fact that you see your webSocket connection starting with an HTTP connection is 100% normal.

You can configure socket.io to NEVER use long polling if that makes you feel better, but this will not change the fact that the webSocket connection will still start with an HTTP connection that is then upgraded to the webSocket protocol and it will not improve the efficiency of operation in modern browsers that support webSockets. It will, however make it so that your connection will not work in older browsers.