Top 9 Difference Between SOAP and REST Web Services

Top 9 Difference Between SOAP and REST Web Services

The use of REST APIs is growing enormously and many big firms are moving with REST APIs. As recently Facebook has moved to RESTFul APIs and deprecated many of its old APIs.

Since then, this is one of the biggest misconceptions buzzing in everyone’s mind. Many think REST is the alternative to the SOAP protocol.

Here is the Google Trend about “REST API”.

REST API Google Trends

REST is an emerging technology in API development.

If we compare two REST with SOAP protocol, finding the differences between them makes things easier to understand.

So, here you go…

Difference Between SOAP and REST API

First of all, we can not compare the two.  As SOAP is protocol and REST is the architectural style.

By keeping things a little apart, if you ask to do the comparison. So here you go…

How REST is Different from SOAP web services?

  1. As we know SOAP and REST both follow client-server architecture. What differs between them is that their mechanism of coupling between server and client.
  2. SOAP web services are tightly coupled with the client. If any of the web services or any client makes any changes, the web service can not work properly. So SOAP web services and clients have to keep updated changes with each other.
  3. REST API services and clients are loosely coupled. Any changes can be handled gracefully with minimal changes. These are one of the advantages of REST over SOAP protocol.
  4. The REST client side is more like the browser. In the browser, we use URL to access web pages whereas REST uses URI to access resources.
    In the case of SOAP, you can not access resources using URI.
  5. For using SOAP web service, a client should be aware of the provided SOAP service in detail. In the case of REST, a client can start using it will zero knowledge. They can explore the resources using the Hypermedia engine. The client only knows the entry point in REST rather than complete knowledge.
  6. SOAP web services are not stateless as it saves data from the server to the client and used it for further communication.
  7. SOAP is more operation-centric whereas REST URI is more resource-centric.
  8. REST is lightweight than SOAP. So REST uses lower bandwidth and it is faster than SOAP services.
  9. SOAP is useful for developing web services where security is a big concern like in backing operations. Whereas, REST is useful for developing web services like multimedia websites (mostly in the public domain).

If you are preparing for the job, this is the most common question you will be asked in the interview. Check out more REST API interview questions.

Advantages of SOAP Protocol Over REST

The only advantage of the SOAP over RESTFul API is that the SOAP API provides the mechanism for services. So if you are going to provide services outside, SOAP servers are more beneficial.

In a previous post, I have explained REST architecture in detail. You can go through REST API architecture to give more light on REST APIs.

If you are comparing SOAP and REST APIs, I hope this difference between SOAP and REST gets the notion to decide which one is suitable for your development.

The one more advanced alternatives to the SOAP and REST API is GraphQL. Read about GraphQL.

RESTFul APIs are new to everyone. So if you have any point to discuss feel free to mention it in the comment section below.

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