The network is the foundation of communication, data transmission, and the internet as we have it today. Many of the services you use on the internet depend on concepts like ports and sockets. Although ports and sockets have similar functions, they are very different concepts.
What is port?
A port used for communication in a computer network. It is where data leaves or enters a particular computer. Different ports are used for different services and processes. And to define these ports to their services, a port number is used. There are 65,535 available ports and some are unused.
Services are provided with port numbers for easy identification. For example, web services are assigned ports 80, 443, and 8080, mail services have port numbers 25, 465, and 2525, while file transfer protocol has port numbers 21.
What is socket?
Simply put, a socket is the endpoint of communication. It is where the connection is initiated or initiated. There must be two sockets on either connection point for any communication to exist — one from the sending device or the server and the other from the receiving device or the client. A socket is made up of an IP Address and a port number. So a socket usually looks like this: 192.168.245.129:8080.
What is the difference between a port and a socket?
This is an example of the difference between a port and a socket. Suppose you are going to a shopping mall. The address of the mall can be likened to the IP address of a particular device. In that mall, different vendors are providing different services. Each room in the mall offers a specific service and has a number to identify it. For example, Room 5 can sell hats. The service it provides is the gate, and the room number is the port number.
Let’s say the mall is at 3 Ajayi Road, Lagos, and you want to buy a hat. You come to the fifth room on 3 Ajayi Road, Lagos. When you get to the door, it’s our outlet. It is not the connection but the endpoint of the connection. The connection starts from your door to the door of the mall. So a port identifies a service or process, while a socket defines where a connection starts or ends.
Another difference between a port and a socket is that a port can identify the same process or service in another computer. In contrast, a socket is specific to a particular computer because it contains the IP address and port number it connects to.
This means that a particular port will always provide the same service (like selling hats), while a socket is an address that connects to a specific service on a particular computer (like a hat shop in 3 Ajayi Road, Lagos).
Gate and Safety
Now that you know the difference between ports and sockets, it’s important to keep them safe while they’re open on your device. Ensure that all unused ports are closed to avoid security risks and vulnerabilities.
The 8 Most Vulnerable Ports to Check During Downtime
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