Vercel Websockets: Your Guide to Building Real-time Applications

Vercel is a cloud platform for static sites and serverless functions. It’s a popular choice for developers who want to build fast, scalable, and secure web applications. One of the key features of Vercel is its support for websockets, a protocol that enables real-time communication between a client and server. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using Vercel websockets and how you can get started with them.

What are Websockets?

Websockets are a protocol for bi-directional, real-time communication between a web client and server. Unlike traditional HTTP requests, which are unidirectional (i.e., the client sends a request and the server responds), websockets allow both the client and server to send and receive data at any time.

Websockets use a persistent connection between the client and server, so data can be transmitted quickly and efficiently. This makes websockets ideal for real-time applications such as chat rooms, online gaming, and collaborative editing tools.

Why Use Vercel Websockets?

While websockets can be implemented using a variety of technologies, Vercel provides several benefits that make it a great choice for building real-time applications:

  1. Scalability: Vercel handles the scaling of your application automatically, so you don’t have to worry about provisioning servers or managing infrastructure.
  2. Security: Vercel provides built-in security features such as HTTPS encryption and DDoS protection.
  3. Speed: Vercel’s global CDN ensures that your application is delivered quickly to users around the world.
  4. Developer Experience: Vercel provides a seamless development experience with features such as hot reloading and automatic deployment.

Getting Started with Vercel Websockets

Now that you understand the benefits of using Vercel websockets, let’s walk through the process of building a real-time application using Vercel.

Step 1: Create a Vercel Account

The first step is to create a Vercel account. You can sign up for a free account at Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be taken to the Vercel dashboard.

Step 2: Create a New Project

To create a new project, click the “New Project” button in the top right corner of the dashboard. Choose the type of project you want to create (e.g., Next.js, Create React App, etc.) and follow the prompts to create your project.

Step 3: Install the WebSocket Library

Next, you’ll need to install a websocket library in your project. One popular option is, which provides a simple and elegant API for working with websockets.

To install, run the following command in your project directory:

npm install

Step 4: Set Up Your Server

Now that you have the websocket library installed, you need to set up your server to handle websocket connections.

In a Next.js project, you can create a custom server by creating a file called “server.js” in the root of your project. Here’s an example of what the file might look like:

// server.js

const express = require('express');const app = express();const server = require('http').createServer(app);const io = require('')(server);

io.on('connection', (socket) => {console.log('a user connected');socket.on('disconnect', () => {console.log('user disconnected');});socket.on('chat message', (msg) => {console.log('message: ' + msg);io.emit('chat message', msg);});});

server.listen(3000, () => {console.log('listening on *:3000');});

This code sets up an Express server and creates a instance that listens for websocket connections. When a user connects, the server logs a message to the console. When a user sends a chat message, the server logs the message and broadcasts it to all connected clients.

Step 5: Connect to the Server from Your Client

Now that your server is set up to handle websocket connections, you need to connect to it from your client-side code.

In a Next.js project, you can create a custom “app” component that wraps your entire application. Within this component, you can create a client and connect to your server. Here’s an example of what the component might look like:

// pages/_app.js

import React from 'react';import App from 'next/app';import io from '';

class MyApp extends App {constructor(props) {super(props);this.state = {messages: []};this.socket = io.connect('http://localhost:3000');this.socket.on('chat message', (msg) => {this.setState({ messages: [ ...this.state.messages, msg ] });});}render() {const { Component, pageProps } = this.props;return (<Component {...pageProps} messages={this.state.messages} socket={this.socket} />);}}

export default MyApp;

This code creates a client and connects to the server running on localhost:3000. When the client receives a “chat message” event from the server, it updates its state with the new message.

Step 6: Build Your Real-time Application

With your server and client-side code set up to handle websockets, you can now build your real-time application.

Here’s an example of a simple chat application built using Vercel websockets:

// pages/index.js

import React, { useState } from 'react';

function Home({ messages, socket }) {const [message, setMessage] = useState('');function handleSubmit(e) {e.preventDefault();socket.emit('chat message', message);setMessage('');}return (<div><ul>{, index) => (<li key={index}>{msg}</li>))}</ul><form onSubmit={handleSubmit}><input type="text" value={message} onChange={(e) => setMessage(} /><button type="submit">Send</button></form></div>);}

export default Home;

This code defines a stateful component that displays a list of chat messages and a form for submitting new messages. When the user submits a message, it sends the message to the server using the client.


What is Vercel?

Vercel is a cloud platform for static sites and serverless functions. It provides a fast, secure, and scalable environment for building web applications.

What are websockets?

Websockets are a protocol for bi-directional, real-time communication between a web client and server. They allow both the client and server to send and receive data at any time.

Why use Vercel websockets?

Vercel provides several benefits for building real-time applications, including scalability, security, speed, and a seamless developer experience.

How do I get started with Vercel websockets?

To get started, create a Vercel account, install a websocket library in your project, set up your server to handle websocket connections, connect to the server from your client-side code, and build your real-time application.