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Stateless protocol

Stateless protocol

Stateless protocol definition

A stateless protocol is a communication method where each message is independent and doesn’t rely on past history. It’s “stateless” because it doesn’t remember the previous “state” of communication — like having a completely new conversation where you don’t recall what was said before. Stateless protocols are simple and can be great for various online activities — from shopping to firing a quick email. The opposite of a stateless protocol is a stateful protocol.

See also: computer system

Stateless vs. stateful protocol

  1. Stateless protocol has no memory of previous interactions. This communication method is simple to maintain and highly scalable.
  2. Stateful protocol stores information about previous messages and expects a response, making ongoing sessions and transactions possible. However, it is more complex than a stateless protocol — and not as scalable.

Stateless protocols in everyday situations

  • Web browsing. When you visit web pages in your browser, each request for a webpage or resource (like images) is a separate interaction. Your browser doesn’t remember your previous visits to different websites while fetching the current page.
  • Email sending. When you send an email, the email server treats each message as a standalone task. It doesn’t remember previous emails you’ve sent when delivering the current one.
  • Phone calls. Traditional phone calls often operate in a stateless manner. Each conversation you have is separate from previous ones, and the phone system doesn’t keep a history of your past calls.
  • Postal mail. Mailing letters is a stateless process. Each letter you send is processed individually, without the postal service remembering past letters you’ve mailed.
  • Text messaging. When you send text messages on your phone, each message you send is treated as a distinct message. Your messaging app doesn’t maintain a conversation history between messages.
  • Online search. When you perform an online search using a search engine like Google, each search query you make is treated as an isolated event. The search engine doesn’t remember your previous searches when responding to the current one.

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