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AWS AppSync vs Socket.IO

Discover how AWS AppSync compares to Socket.IO, and understand which is right for your use case, based on dimensions such as core features, pricing, reliability, and scalability.

What is AWS AppSync?

AWS AppSync is a fully managed service designed to streamline the process of building and deploying serverless GraphQL and pub/sub over WebSocket APIs. It enables developers to seamlessly handle and synchronize mobile app data in realtime across devices and users. Even when a mobile device is offline, AppSync permits data access and modification.

Suitable for:

  • Chat rooms
  • Collaborative apps
  • Data broadcasting
  • IoT apps
  • Apps requiring low latency

Not suitable for:

  • Where you need to use custom directives
  • Service quotas
  • Large-scale/complex projects

Pros:

  • Managed GraphQL service & pub/sub over WebSocket APIs
  • Backend management
  • Connection recovery
  • AWS service integration

Cons:

  • Complex, especially the templating engine (VTL)
  • High cost - may be more expensive than alternatives
  • Limited plug-ins
  • Single region solution

What is Socket.IO?

Socket.IO is a library created in 2010 that provides realtime, bi-directional communication between clients and servers. It allows the management of connections, sending and receiving messages, and more. Built on top of the WebSocket protocol, it provides additional capabilities compared to raw WebSockets. WebTransport (a WebSocket alternative) is also supported.

Suitable for:

  • Chat and messaging
  • Dashboards
  • Mulitplayer games

Not suitable for:

  • Audio & video

Pros:

  • Multiplexing and data broadcast support
  • Disconnection detection and automatic reconnections
  • Adapters for horizontal scaling
  • Fallback support

Cons:

  • Message ordering guarantees are at most once / least once only
  • Memory leakage issues
  • Not multi-region

Compare AWS AppSync and Socket.IO

Let’s compare AWS AppSync and Socket.IO, looking at key dimensions such as their core features, pricing, integrations, QoS, performance, and security and compliance.

Disclaimer:This comparison was created based on documentation and resources freely available online about AWS AppSync and Socket.IO. The content was last updated on 10 Jun 2024 for AWS AppSync and on 10 Jun 2024 for Socket.IO. Be sure to double-check everything before you make any decisions. If you do find anything incorrect or out of date, then please contact us.

Core features
Pub/Sub messaging

Reduces communication code complexity, simplifying the process of building highly functional and architecturally complex realtime apps.

AWS AppSync
Socket.IO

No

Need to rely on a third party - e.g. use a Redis adapter to broadcast events to clients through the Redis pub/sub mechanism.

Read more
Chat capabilities

Accelerates the time to implement rich chat experiences with features such as read receipts, typing indicators, and more.

AWS AppSync

Partial

AWS AppSync can be used with other AWS products to build a chat product.

Find out how
Socket.IO

Partial

As it's a library, you need to create the chat capabilities yourself. But this can be done using Socket.IO.

Collaboration capabilities

Enables you to quickly integrate realtime collaborative features like live cursors, member location, avatar stacks, and component locking.

AWS AppSync

Partial

AWS AppSync provides the primitives to build basic collaborative experiences.

See example
Socket.IO

Partial

As it's a library, you need to implement collaboration capabilities yourself. But you can do this using Socket.IO itself.

State sync capabilities

Enables realtime data synchronization across devices and users, ensuring a cohesive and up-to-date user experience.

AWS AppSync

Partial

Can be built on top of AppSync, but not available out of the box.

Socket.IO

No

The library does not support this. You would need to create a bespoke state sync capability or integrate a third party library to get state synchronisation.

Presence

Maintaining a view of which users are connected, and their associated metadata, enables their online status to be updated in realtime.

AWS AppSync

Partial

"AWS AppSync does not provide events related to client connections or disconnections" (see source) - but it can be built on top of it by composing multiple AWS products.

Socket.IO

Partial

It is the duty of your application to link a Socket.IO connection to a user account.

Read more
Occupancy

High-level metrics about the clients currently connected to a channel make it simple to show things such as connected user count, or display which channels are the most popular.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

Partial

Rooms are available. It is possible to query for rooms and SIDs.

See more
Message interactions

Enables interaction with previously-sent messages, facilitating the implementation of features like message reactions and threads.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

Partial

You would need to build the message interaction functionality yourself on top of Socket.IO.

Learn more
Message history

Enables clients to catch up on missed messages when inactive, ensuring a user doesn’t miss any important messages.

AWS AppSync

Partial

Looks like you can get message history, but only in combination with other AWS services

see source
Socket.IO

No

The Socket.IO server does not store messages. Your application has to persist messages somewhere for the clients that are not currently connected.

Learn more
Push notifications

Cross-platform push notifications make it possible to deliver important and timely messages to users even when they’re inactive.

AWS AppSync
Socket.IO

No

Socket.IO not support Push notifications. You would need to build this capability yourself and/or use another library.

Learn more
Message delta compression

Minimizes bandwidth and can reduce latency, particularly in scenarios where continuous updates are sent.

AWS AppSync
Socket.IO

No

Programmatic management

Enables the automation of provisioning, management, and testing of service resources, simplifying integration with existing development workflows such as CI.

AWS AppSync

Yes

You can perform programmatic management using the AWS SDKs (Software Development Kits), AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), or infrastructure-as-code tools like AWS CloudFormation or AWS CDK (Cloud Development Kit).

Socket.IO

Yes

The Socket.IO server is initialised in code. It is possible to configure the socket.IO server's configuration in code as well.

Learn more
Pricing
Free plan

With a free plan, you can test the service’s functionality and compatibility with your project before committing to a paid plan.

AWS AppSync

Yes

250,000 API requests free per month for 12 months with the AWS Free Tier.

Socket.IO

Yes

Open Source framework that uses the MIT license.

Pricing model

The pricing model should align with your project's expected load, usage patterns, and budget in order to be cost-effective and efficient.

AWS AppSync

You pay only for what you use with no minimum fees or mandatory service usage. You are billed separately for query and data modification operations, and for performing realtime updates on your data.

Read more
Socket.IO

Open Source framework that uses the MIT license.

Integrations & interoperability
SDKs

Supporting multiple languages and platforms offers greater flexibility when building cross-platform realtime apps.

AWS AppSync
  • iOS
  • Android
  • JavaScript
See source
Socket.IO

Client and Server APIs only.

  • C++
  • Swift
  • Java
  • Javascript
  • Typescript
  • Node.js
  • Python
  • Golang
  • Rust
  • Dart
  • .NET
  • Kotlin
Supported realtime protocols

Support for multiple protocols provides the flexibility to choose a protocol that best suits your project’s requirements.

AWS AppSync
  • WebSockets
Socket.IO
  • WebSocket
  • WebTransport
  • HTTP
Serverless functions

Enables integration with third-party cloud providers by facilitating the execution of custom code against messages to perform business logic like on-the-fly translation.

AWS AppSync
  • AWS Lambda
Socket.IO

No

It is not possible to trigger serverless functions with Socket.IO on it's own.

See this Reddit post for more info
Streaming & queueing

Provides a dependable method to reroute messages from the service to third-party streams and queues for further processing.

AWS AppSync

AWS AppSync doesn't directly integrate with streaming and queuing services for data ingress and egress, but you can use the following AWS services alongside AppSync to build scalable and event-driven architectures for your applications:

Ingress:

  • Amazon Kinesis Data Streams
  • Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service)

Egress:

  • AWS Lambda
  • Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service)
Socket.IO

No

Socket.IO does not offer native queues and streaming.

Observability services

Enables realtime monitoring and troubleshooting by offering insights into service behavior directly in your observability platform of choice.

AWS AppSync

Partial

Through AWS X-Ray native integration.

Read more
Socket.IO

Yes

The Socket.IO admin UI can be used to have an overview of the state of your Socket.IO deployment.

CI/CD tools

Makes it possible to provision and configure service infrastructure as part of a CI or CD pipeline, enabling repeatable and reliable deployments.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

No

Quality of Service
Scalability

Scalability is vital as it ensures the service can handle increased data load or users without compromising performance.

AWS AppSync

No published metrics are available. However, this works on top of serverless technology which means theoretically it should scale to millions of concurrent connection with little to no tuning from the customer.

Socket.IO

No published metrics. Socket.IO servers don’t communicate between them, so you need a way to route events to all clients, even if they are connected to different servers. This is made possible by using adapters, of which the Redis adapter seems to be the most popular choice.

Guaranteed message delivery

Ensures messages are never lost during transmission, even in the presence of network disruptions.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

Partial

By default, Socket.IO provides an "at most once" guarantee of delivery. From the client side, you can achieve an at least once guarantee with acknowledgements and timeouts.

Guaranteed message ordering

Maintains the sequence of messages as they were sent. This is particularly important in apps where the chronological order of messages is essential for meaningful communication.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

Yes

Socket.IO guarantees ordering, no matter which low-level transport is used.

Read more
Exactly-once message delivery

Guarantees that each message is processed exactly once, preventing data inconsistencies that can arise from duplicate processing or missing messages.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

No

At least once or at most once only.

Performance & availability
Uptime Guarantee

An uptime guarantee instills confidence in the reliability of the service and protects your business from the negative impacts of downtime.

AWS AppSync

99.95 uptime SLA

Socket.IO

No

It is a library, not a platform.

Global edge network

By bringing servers (Points of Presence, or PoP) geographically closer to the devices of end users, and routing requests to the nearest PoP, global latency is reduced to a minimum.

AWS AppSync

No

Socket.IO

No

Multi-region data replication (message durability)

By replicating data across multiple regions, the risk of data loss or downtime is greatly mitigated since if data is lost or a server fails in one region, the information can be retrieved from another.

AWS AppSync

Partial

Single region by default - multi region deployment of AWS AppSync would require integration of Amazon DynamoDB Global Tables.

Socket.IO

No

No single point of failure or congestion

Having no single point of failure means a system is resilient and can continue to operate even if one part fails. Avoiding a single point of congestion ensures messages flow efficiently across the system and avoids bottlenecks that could lead to performance issues under load.

AWS AppSync

Partial

Not available by default - but could be built with the integration of Amazon DynamoDB Global Tables.

Socket.IO

No

As Socket.IO is a library, the implementation of it dictates points of failure and congestion.

Latency

Low latency is crucial for realtime apps as it ensures swift and efficient data transmissions, providing a smoother and more responsive user experience.

AWS AppSync

Unknown, although reports in forums suggest it is 200-500 ms.

Socket.IO

Unknown

Security & compliance
API key authentication

Simplifies the authentication code on trusted servers compared to requesting, managing, and refreshing tokens.

AWS AppSync
Socket.IO

No

Token-based authentication

Provides a means to securely authenticate user devices against your user management system.

AWS AppSync

Yes

JWT via Amazon Cognito User Pools.

See how it works
Socket.IO

No

No native Token based auth. It is possible to use middlewares.

Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication

SSO streamlines login processes, boosts security by minimizing password use, and meets compliance needs for secure data access management.

AWS AppSync

Yes

Can set up auth with AWS IAM, and AWS IAM can be configured with any identity source (e.g. Okta).

Learn more
Socket.IO

No

No native SSO. It is possible to use middlewares.

Rules for permissions and operations

Provides control over which users can subscribe and publish to certain channels.

AWS AppSync
Socket.IO

No

End-to-end encryption

Ensures that the data transmitted between the client and the API server remains confidential and secure while in transit.

AWS AppSync

Yes

TLS1.2 supported; TLS1.3 recommended.

Read more
Socket.IO

No

Encryption at rest

Ensures data stored by the service is secure and compliant, while also mitigating the risks of a data breach.

AWS AppSync

Yes

Done using AWS Key Management Service keys. This ensures that data in services like AppSync is securely encrypted.

Read more
Socket.IO

No

Compliance

Compliance with regulations can impact your ability to meet legal obligations in your industry.

AWS AppSync
  • SOC
  • PCI
  • HIPAA/HIPAA BAA
  • IRAP
  • C5
  • ENS High
  • OSPAR
  • HITRUST CSF programs
Socket.IO

None.

Discover how AWS AppSync and Socket.IO stack up against Ably

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