SOAP and REST Web Services: What’s the difference?

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and REST (Representational State Transfer) are two well-known ways to send data over the Internet. When working with APIs (application programming interfaces), it’s important to know whether they use SOAP or REST. When making an API, it’s important to choose the web service that works best for the project.

SOAP and REST Web Services

What is SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)?

SOAP, which stands for “Simple Object Access Protocol,” is a messaging protocol with a strict set of rules for how clients and servers send and receive data. It only sends messages in the XML format so that messages can be sent and received in the same way on any platform.

Implementing a SOAP API requires careful planning because SOAP exposes application logic as services. To get data, you must call XML-defined, name-spaced server-side operations. A SOAP-based messaging system will list services and functions that a client can use only if it closely follows the rules set by the server, such as using the same data types. In other words, SOAP is a contract between a client and a server that is very close.

Why to use HTTP protocol for SOAP messages?

Web pages have always been sent over the internet using HTTP protocol. Most firewalls don’t block traffic on port 80 (HTTP), so most SOAP messages can get through without any problems.

What is REST (Representational State Transfer)

Roy Fielding came up with the REST architecture style, which often sends data over the web using HTTP. REST is limited in what it can do because it uses the web and technologies that have already been made. But REST is lighter and easier to use than most other Web Services because it doesn’t have as many features. REST gets things done by using HTTP 1.1 verbs. These four basic verbs are used most often:

  • GET – Read or retrieve data
  • POST – Add new data
  • PUT – Update existing data
  • DELETE – Remove data

REST Architecture

Most of the time, a REST client and a server make up a REST architecture. Most of the time, the server gives the client access to the resources, and the client uses and changes the resources. The global IDs, which are usually Universal Resource Indicators (URIs), are used to find resources. To make a system work better, the architecture focuses on making sure there aren’t too many steps between the client and the server.

Advantages SOAP has over REST

SOAP has been around longer than REST, so it is usually thought of as an old technology. But there are times when it makes more sense to use SOAP than REST.

  • Enterprise-friendly
  • Better safety.
  • Built-in ability to grow
  • Transport layer independence
  • error management

Advantages of REST over SOAP

REST is used by more than 70% of web APIs, and for good reason. It’s easy to use and learn, and it’s also easy to scale up, which is why many developers choose it over SOAP and REST.

  • Use-friendly
  • Speed and performance scalability
  • Multiple data formats
  • Caching

Key Differences

  • REST doesn’t need anything else besides HTTP. SOAP needs a full set of tools and support from middleware.
  • In REST, there is a built-in way to handle errors. SOAP doesn’t have this kind of handler.
  • SOAP is made for distributed computing, while REST is based on point-to-point communication in which the middleman doesn’t play a big role.
  • SOAP is a messaging protocol based on XML, while REST is a style of building.


People sometimes say that SOAP and REST are like envelopes (SOAP) and postcards (REST) . Even though it’s faster and cheaper to send a postcard, an envelope can hold more information. Envelopes and postcards can both be read, but the extra steps needed to read what’s in an envelope add an extra layer of security. The same is true for SOAP and REST. Even though the comparison isn’t perfect, it helps to show how SOAP and REST are different.