REST vs gRPC- Which is the best API Protocol?
In today’s time, most business projects need the use of APIs in their
technology. APIs traverse communication between services that might address a
single or complex system. It can dwell on single or multiple machines,
networks, or languages.
Many tech advancements address the inter-service communication requirements of
a distributed system, such as REST, SOAP, GraphQL,gRPC, etc.
The REST API has been a pillar of web programming for quite a while. Most
developers are familiar with REST. It is used significantly worldwide and in
amateur tutorials on HTTP protocol. So, of course, new devs accepted REST.
But nowadays, gRPC API has begun encroaching on the web development area.
While REST is a lean approach, gRPC is a commendable competitor. gRPC offers
elite execution, type contacts, and magnificent tooling.
There is much info available on the internet, and it isn’t easy to sort
everything out about gRPC and REST APIs. It’s normal for developers of new
APIs to battle choosing an ideal API. For new developers, the issue is far
As per stats, gRPC is seven times quicker than REST when receiving data and
ten times faster than sending data for a particular payload.
In this blog, we will compare API protocol between REST and gRPC and when to
choose gRPC over RESTs.
This blog post also contains:
- What is REST?
- What is RPC?
- What is gRPC?
- Comparison between REST and gRPC
- Rest vs gRPC: Which one is better?
- When to make use of the REST?
- When to make use of gRPC?
What is REST?
REST stands for Representational State Transfer . It provides rules on the
most proficient method to create web APIs. Yet, that is a bunch of rules, but
it doesn’t attempt to enforce anything.
While using REST APIs, the reaction from the backend data gets passed to the
user through the JSON or XML format. In general, this model follows
HTTP protocol . RPC design chooses several HTTP thoughts while keeping up
with the RPC model.
Most APIs get executed by mapping the APIs to a similar HTTP protocol
despite the model use (RPC or REST).
When the REST API is available, each service coordinates the microservice
application. It can get introduced to the client/users as an asset accessed
through the HTTP commands.
What is RPC?
RPC stands for Remote Procedure Call. It uses a client-server model.
It’s a software communication protocol a program uses to request a service
The requesting server( i.e., the client) requested a message interpreted by
the RPC. Later on, it shipped off another server. When the server gets the
solicitation/request, it sends the response back to the client. The server
handles this call; the client gets obstructed.
The message passed inside the servers. Further, RPC permits the client to
request a function in a specific format. The client can get the reaction in
the same configuration.
The technique for presenting a call with RPC API gets tracked down in the URL.
RPC upholds far-off method calls both in nearby and conveyed environments.
Like a REST API, RPC establishes the guidelines of connection and how a user
can submit requests. RPC requires conjuring techniques that convey and
communicate with the services.
What is gRPC?
In 2015, Google developed gRPC as an extension of the RPC framework to connect
various microservices. In the early phase, it associates with Google’s
internal infrastructure. Then, it was made open-source and regulated for
gRPC stands for Google Remote Procedure Call . and it’s based on the RPC
protocol and follows an RPC API’s implementation that uses HTTP 2.0 protocol.
But, HTTP didn’t present to the API developer or the server.
It allows the client and server applications to communicate and develop
During its initial phase, top Companies used it for many cases like web,
mobile, and IoT support. Later in 2017, due to its popularity, it become
Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) .
Leading tech firms like Google, Netflix, Cisco, & Dropbox have adopted
gRPC. This framework relies on HTTP/2, protocol buffers, and others to ensure
API security, performance, and scalability.
Hence, there is no worry about the RPC concepts getting mapped to HTTP, which
reduces complexity. This innovation follows an RPC API’s execution that
utilizes the HTTP 2.0 protocol. But, HTTP isn’t introduced to the API
developers or the server.
gRPC aims to transfer data while depending on services, its layout, and also
tends to empower them.
Besides, it communicates the RPC API model in an IDL (interface
description language ). IDL offers an easier way to decide on remote
procedures. The IDL utilizes Protocol Buffers to interface and constructs
the payload messages.
Comparison Between REST and gRPC
Now, We have an overview of gRPC and REST; let’s look at their main
differences in detail.
In the REST API, a cross-language makes web services adaptable, and versatile.
The most vital benefit of REST API is that it doesn’t have to set up a client.
Hence, you must settle on decisions to the server address, dissimilar to gRPC.
It’s simple for developers to decide whether the client inputs are sent to the
server and back.
But, you can use gRPC as a cross-language if you have composed a web
service, making it versatile and scalable. gRPC utilizes a protocol buffer
for information serialization. It makes the payloads quicker, smaller, and
more transparent. This way, gRPC uses an HTTP 2 to help high-scale execution
and uses binary data rather than text.
It is workable to switch off the message compression utilizing the gRPC. You
can send a picture that is already compressed instead of compressing it once
more. gRPC is like a type-safe; this requires excellent investment & time.
Rest vs gRPC: Which one is Better?
REST API gets upheld because each microservices depends on respect to the REST
APIs as magic. But looking at the features that gRPC APIs offer, developers
consider it a future.
Let’s compare Rest vs gRPC from various perspectives.
HTTP 1.1 vs HTTP 2
REST APIs follow a request/response model of communication based on HTTP 1.1.
But, if a microservice gets client requests, the model deals with each
proposal and eases the whole system framework.
REST APIs also get created on HTTP 2. Still, the request/response model
continues as before. But REST APIs prohibit HTTP 2 benefits like streaming and
gRPC does not face a similar obstacle. It’s built on HTTP 2 and follows a
client-response communication model. It receives requests from clients and
handles them by streaming data. It can also run unary interactions like
those built on HTTP 1.1.
This viewpoint is one of the best REST API benefits over gRPC. From one
perspective, REST gets support from all browsers.
But, gRPC is still very restricted about browser support. It requires gRPC-web
and an intermediary proxy layer to perform changes between HTTP 1.1 and HTTP
Hence, gRPC turns out to get used for internal and private systems. Internal
and remote systems are API programs within backend data and app
Payload Data Structure
As mentioned above, gRPC utilizes Protocol Buffer to serialize payload
information. This arrangement is lighter, empowers a packed, and diminishes
the message’s size. Further, the Protocol Buffer is binary. It serializes and
deserializes organized data to impart and communicate. The messages change
from Protobuf (Protocol Buffers) to the client’s programming language.
Google developed Protobuf or Protocol Buffer for internal use. It provided a
code generator for various languages. The design goal for Protobuf is to make
it simple and faster than XML. Google mainly uses it for storing and
interchanging all types of structured data. This method is a basis for the RPC
system used for all intermachine communication.
In contrast, REST depends on JSON or XML configurations to send and get
information/data. Even though it is not mandatory, JSON is the most famous
because of its adaptability and capacity. JSON sends dynamic information
without following a strict system. One more advantage of using JSON is its
human-comprehensibility level. Generally, Protobuf can’t contend with it yet.
JSON isn’t as lightweight or quick on information/data
transmission. The justification for that lies in that while using REST. JSON
should get serialized and transferred to the programming language.
Code Generation Features
gRPC has local code generation highlights because of its protocol compiler. It
is viable with a few programming dialects. And valuable for microservices
systems. This coordination of different administrations gets created in
various dialects and platforms. The implicit code generator likewise
facilitates creating SDK (Software Development Kit).
When to make use of the REST?
REST APIs have been the most favored application integration decision for a
a long time if you are building an interior or an external system.
REST API denotes its significance when the system needs a fast integration
speed. it also normalization of HTTP connections. Alongside third-party tools’ help, REST APIs are essential for app integration and other web
When to make use of the gRPC?
gRPC APIs are the most used web services to create an internal system close to
outer clients. With unique qualities, we can utilize gRPC in part of the
- gRPC upholds a native code generation system for a variety of improvement dialects. It empowers you to oversee associations in a bilingual climate.
- gRPC upholds high-velocity throughput communication. It permits you to interface with the architecture. gRPC comprises lightweight microservices where the skill of the message transmission is fundamental.
- As gRPC utilizes its serialized Protobuf informing system. gRPC offers a lightweight info process, productivity, low-power network, and transfer speed. **IoT is the best illustration of a network that could profit from gRPC APIs.
- Real-time streaming: gRPC enables you to manage bidirectional streaming to send/receive messages. This process happens in real-time without waiting for Unary client-response communication.
- Ongoing streaming: gRPC empowers you to oversee bidirectional streaming to send/receive messages. This process happens without sitting tight for Unary client-reaction communication.
Despite the many benefits gRPC offers, it has one major demerit, i.e., low
browser compatibility. Thus, gRPC is a bit limited to internal and private
systems. This means gRPC is restricted to interior/confidential frameworks.
REST APIs might have their demerit, as we have discussed. Yet REST APIs stay
the most known for interfacing microservices-based systems. Besides, REST
follows the HTTP protocol and offers all-inclusive help.
APIs in the developed market empowers you for quicker app development
with advanced technologies. You can construct better items while standing
apart from the opposition by making the right APIs for your business. To
install the API to trade, you must ensure that you can handle end-to-end
services migrations and development.
gRPC provides many benefits. Dissimilar to REST, it can make the most out of
HTTP 2, utilizing multiplexed streams and following the binary protocol. It
offers execution benefits because of the Protobuf message structure. We should
remember the in-build code generation features that empower a
multilingual climate. These reasons make gRPC a more promising API style than
It’s a matter of your personal choice. Both API protocols are excellent; we
can’t make any firm recommendations about which API protocol
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