Pusher vs Socket.IO: What are the differences?
Developers describe Pusher as "Hosted APIs to build realtime apps with less code". Pusher is the category leader in delightful APIs for app developers building communication and collaboration features. On the other hand, Socket.IO is detailed as "Realtime application framework (Node.JS server)". Socket.IO enables real-time bidirectional event-based communication. It works on every platform, browser or device, focusing equally on reliability and speed.
Pusher and Socket.IO belong to "Realtime Backend / API" category of the tech stack.
Some of the features offered by Pusher are:
- Easily build scalable in-app notifications, chat, realtime graphs, geotracking and more in your web & mobile apps with our hosted pub/sub messaging API.
- Send programmable push notifications to iOS and Android devices with delivery and open rate tracking built in.
- Easily add 1-1 and group Chat to your web & mobile apps. Presence, message storage, rich media, notifications, typing indicators and more.
On the other hand, Socket.IO provides the following key features:
- Real-time analytics - Push data to clients that gets represented as real-time counters, charts or logs.
- Binary streaming - Starting in 1.0, it's possible to send any blob back and forth: image, audio, video.
- Instant messaging and chat - Socket.IO's "Hello world" is a chat app in just a few lines of code.
"An easy way to give customers realtime features" is the top reason why over 44 developers like Pusher, while over 186 developers mention "Real-time" as the leading cause for choosing Socket.IO.
Socket.IO is an open source tool with 46.9K GitHub stars and 8.54K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Socket.IO's open source repository on GitHub.
Rainist, PedidosYa, and Trello are some of the popular companies that use Socket.IO, whereas Pusher is used by Product Hunt, Groupon, and Buffer. Socket.IO has a broader approval, being mentioned in 560 company stacks & 395 developers stacks; compared to Pusher, which is listed in 125 company stacks and 42 developer stacks.
What is Pusher?
What is Socket.IO?
Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!
Sign up to add, upvote and see more prosMake informed product decisions
What are the cons of using Pusher?
Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions
Sign up to get full access to all the tool integrationsMake informed product decisions
I use Socket.IO because using HTTP requests for a real-time multiplayer game just blows! Even with websockets, I had to scrunch the data being transmitted down to a bare minimum, and do some cheap compression tricks so that I can send data in JSON format. Otherwise, I would have to resort to sending binary data. I may end up doing that anyway when the time comes that I need to scale.
How do I use it? Each client opens a socket connection at startup. The server keeps track of these connections, and sends each client the visible portion of the Playfield repeatedly. The clients render this information, while sending requests and commands to the server (join,turn,fire,thrust,bomb,viewport change,etc.) in response to the player's actions. The server uses that to make adjustments to the player's ship on the Playfield.
In the original prototype all the communication was handled by a backend server. Each client connected directly to the server using the socket.io library. This quickly proved to be messy and unreliable, especially on the cheap server being used to host it.
Websockets proved to be a little more reliable, but still just as messy and not all browsers support them. That's when the project was switched over to use Pusher. Using Pusher has allowed all but the initial connection code to be off-loaded onto the client. Now instead of communicating through a self-hosted server, clients can communicate pretty much peer-to-peer over Pusher.
Where we have browser support (recent Chrome, Firefox, and Safari), we make a WebSocket connection so that the server can push changes made by other people down to browsers listening on the appropriate channels. We use a modified version* of the Socket.io client and server libraries that allows us to keep many thousands of open WebSockets on each of our servers at very little cost in terms of CPU or memory usage. So when anything happens to a board you’re watching, that action is published to our server processes and propagated to your watching browser with very minimal latency, usually well under a second.
Socket.IO has a decent community footprint, including integrations with popular JS frameworks, and has fallbacks to maintain an app's services if websockets are not available for some reason. Websockets are an important factor in most of the web-facing apps I build, to provide asynchronous two-way communication between the app and whatever server or data source it is connected to.
Another one that we're not using, yet. But have realtime data updates within our applications and the central API will be a great bit of functionality that gives our clients more control and keep them informed of changes and updates in their stores, in real time.
Socket.io is used as our current multiplayer engine. The existing engine is very simplistic and only utilizes the websocket+http fallback transports and serves as a generic world/zone/screen grouping mechanism for displaying users to each other.
Pusher is used to send update notification whenever Lapzbot joins a server.