Since version 0.3.0 RESTinio has a basic support of WebSockets. To start working with websockets one needs to upgrade underlying HTTP connection. RESTinio has a special function to do the trick, it returns a special object - WebSockets handle. RESTinio guarantees correctness of WebSockets frames and takes care of close frames in order to follow the protocol. But ping/pong controls are left for the user to handle.

Upgrade connection

RESTinio doesn’t detect HTTP Upgrade request for upgrading the current connection to WebSockets. User has to do this check manually. For example:

auto request_handler(restinio::request_handle_t req) {
  if(restinio::http_connection_header_t::upgrade == req->header().connection()) {
    // An upgrade request detected and will be processed...
    return restinio::request_accepted();
  else {
  return restinio::request_rejected();

When an update request detected user can create WebSocket handler. To create WebSocket handler a restinio::websocket::basic::upgrade() function is used:

// Upgrade http-connection of a current request to a websocket connection.
template<typename Traits, typename WS_Message_Handler >
ws_handle_t upgrade(
  // Upgrade request.
  request_t & req,
  // Activation policy.
  activation_t activation_flag,
  // Message handler.
  WS_Message_Handler ws_message_handler );

This function takes request handle, activation flag and WebSocket message handler as parameters.

  • req - a given http-request, its underlying tcp connection is used for WebSocket session;
  • activation_flag - a policy that says whether to start reading and handling messages in upgrade function (activation_t::immediate) or wait until user calls ws_t::activate() explicitly (activation_t::delayed);
  • ws_message_handler - function object for handling WebSocket messages.

Function returns a handle (shared pointer) on restinio::websocket::basic::ws_t that is an abstraction for WebSocket. User have to keep this handle all the time when he want to use this WebSocket connection. When the last reference on this handle is lost connection will be closed.

See also other overloads of upgrade() function.

Сorrectness of WebSocket frames

RESTinio automatically performs the following checks:

  • Reserved bits are not set.
  • Opcode has correct value.
  • Mask flag is present.
  • Payload size is not greater than 125 bytes if the current frame is control frame.
  • Continuation frame can’t be received without any previous data frame.
  • Close code has correct value if the current frame is close frame.
  • Payload has correct UTF-8 value if the current frame is close frame or text frame.
  • Final flag is set in control frames.
  • Concatenated payload in fragmented text frames has correct UTF-8 value.

User reсeives a frame only if this frame is correct. In case of incorrect frame, RESTinio sends a close frame to the client-side.

Close WebSocket

To close current WebSocket connection there are shutdown/kill methods:

class ws_t
  // ...

  void shutdown();

  void kill();

  // ...
  • shutdown() waits for close frame from client side;
  • kill() just closes connection without closing handshake.

For example:

auto websocket_handle =
  restinio::websocket::basic::upgrade< traits_t >(
    ws_message_handler_t{} );

Minimalistic sample

Here is a minimal echo server:

#include <restinio/all.hpp>
#include <restinio/websocket/websocket.hpp>

namespace rr = restinio::router;
using router_t = rr::express_router_t;

namespace rws = restinio::websocket::basic;

using traits_t =
    router_t >;

// Alias for container with stored websocket handles.
using ws_registry_t = std::map< std::uint64_t, rws::ws_handle_t >;

auto server_handler( ws_registry_t & registry )
  auto router = std::make_unique< router_t >();

    [ &registry ]( auto req, auto ) mutable {

      if( restinio::http_connection_header_t::upgrade == req->header().connection() )
        auto wsh =
          rws::upgrade< traits_t >(
            [ &registry ]( auto wsh, auto m ){
              wsh->send_message( *m );
            } );
        // Store websocket handle to registry object to prevent closing of the websocket
        // on exit from this request handler.
        registry.emplace( wsh->connection_id(), wsh );

        return restinio::request_accepted();

      return restinio::request_rejected();
    } );

  return router;

int main()
  using namespace std::chrono;

    // This registry is necessary for storing handles to created websockets.
    ws_registry_t registry;
        .address( "localhost" )
        .request_handler( server_handler( registry ) )
        .read_next_http_message_timelimit( 10s )
        .write_http_response_timelimit( 1s )
        .handle_request_timeout( 1s )
        // Registry has to be cleaned manually.
        // This will lead to closing all websockets when server finishes its work.
        .cleanup_func( [&]{ registry.clear(); } ) );

  catch( const std::exception & ex )
    std::cerr << "Error: " << ex.what() << std::endl;
    return 1;

  return 0;