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Hello world

IXWebSocket is a C++ library for WebSocket client and server development. It has minimal dependencies (no boost), is very simple to use and support everything you'll likely need for websocket dev (SSL, deflate compression, compiles on most platforms, etc…). HTTP client and server code is also available, but it hasn't received as much testing.

It is been used on big mobile video game titles sending and receiving tons of messages since 2017 (iOS and Android). It was tested on macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Windows and FreeBSD. Two important design goals are simplicity and correctness.

 *  main.cpp
 *  Author: Benjamin Sergeant
 *  Copyright (c) 2020 Machine Zone, Inc. All rights reserved.
 *  Super simple standalone example. See ws folder, unittest and doc/ for more.
 *  On macOS
 *  $ mkdir -p build ; (cd build ; cmake -DUSE_TLS=1 .. ; make -j ; make install)
 *  $ clang++ --std=c++11 --stdlib=libc++ main.cpp -lixwebsocket -lz -framework Security -framework Foundation
 *  $ ./a.out
 *  Or use cmake -DBUILD_DEMO=ON option for other platforms

#include <ixwebsocket/IXNetSystem.h>
#include <ixwebsocket/IXWebSocket.h>
#include <ixwebsocket/IXUserAgent.h>
#include <iostream>

int main()
    // Required on Windows

    // Our websocket object
    ix::WebSocket webSocket;

    // Connect to a server with encryption
    // See
    // (self signed certificates)
    std::string url("wss://");

    std::cout << "Connecting to " << url << "..." << std::endl;

    // Setup a callback to be fired (in a background thread, watch out for race conditions !)
    // when a message or an event (open, close, error) is received
    webSocket.setOnMessageCallback([](const ix::WebSocketMessagePtr& msg)
            if (msg->type == ix::WebSocketMessageType::Message)
                std::cout << "received message: " << msg->str << std::endl;
                std::cout << "> " << std::flush;
            else if (msg->type == ix::WebSocketMessageType::Open)
                std::cout << "Connection established" << std::endl;
                std::cout << "> " << std::flush;
            else if (msg->type == ix::WebSocketMessageType::Error)
                // Maybe SSL is not configured properly
                std::cout << "Connection error: " << msg->errorInfo.reason << std::endl;
                std::cout << "> " << std::flush;

    // Now that our callback is setup, we can start our background thread and receive messages

    // Send a message to the server (default to TEXT mode)
    webSocket.send("hello world");

    // Display a prompt
    std::cout << "> " << std::flush;

    std::string text;
    // Read text from the console and send messages in text mode.
    // Exit with Ctrl-D on Unix or Ctrl-Z on Windows.
    while (std::getline(std::cin, text))
        std::cout << "> " << std::flush;

    return 0;

Interested? Go read the docs! If things don't work as expected, please create an issue on GitHub, or even better a pull request if you know how to fix your problem.

IXWebSocket is actively being developed, check out the changelog to know what's cooking. If you are looking for a real time messaging service (the chat-like 'server' your websocket code will talk to) with many features such as history, backed by Redis, look at cobra.

IXWebSocket client code is autobahn compliant beginning with the 6.0.0 version. See the current test results. Some tests are still failing in the server code.

Starting with the 11.0.8 release, IXWebSocket should be fully C++11 compatible.


If your company or project is using this library, feel free to open an issue or PR to amend this list.

Alternative libraries

There are plenty of great websocket libraries out there, which might work for you. Here are a couple of serious ones.

uvweb is a library written by the IXWebSocket author which is built on top of uvw, which is a C++ wrapper for libuv. It has more dependencies and does not support SSL at this point, but it can be used to open multiple connections within a single OS thread thanks to libuv.

To check the performance of a websocket library, you can look at the autoroute project.

Continuous Integration

OS TLS Sanitizer Status
Linux OpenSSL None Build2
macOS Secure Transport Thread Sanitizer Build2
macOS OpenSSL Thread Sanitizer Build2
macOS MbedTLS Thread Sanitizer Build2
Windows Disabled None Build2
UWP Disabled None Build2
Linux OpenSSL Address Sanitizer Build2
Mingw Disabled None Build2