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Java I/O by Elliotte Rusty Harold

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Server Sockets

There are two ends to each connection: the client, which initiates the connection, and the server, which responds to the connection. So far, we’ve only discussed the client side and assumed that a server existed out there for the client to talk to. To implement a server, you need to write a program that waits for other hosts to connect to it. A server socket binds to a particular port on the local machine (the server); once it has successfully bound to a port, it listens for incoming connection attempts from remote machines (the clients). When the server detects a connection attempt, it accepts the connection. This creates a socket between the two machines over which the client and the server communicate.

Many clients can connect to a port on the server simultaneously. Incoming data is distinguished by the port to which it is addressed and the client host and port from which it came. The server can tell for which service (like HTTP or FTP) the data is intended by inspecting the port. It knows where to send any response by looking at the client address and port stored with the data.

No more than one server socket can listen to a particular port at one time. Therefore, since a server may need to handle many connections at once, server programs tend to be heavily multithreaded. Generally, the server socket listening on the port only accepts the connections. It passes off the actual processing of each connection to a separate thread. Incoming connections are stored in ...

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