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WebSocket is a communications protocol that provides full-duplex communication channels to web servers and clients over a single TCP connection. The protocol was standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and has been in common use by web developers for more than a decade.

Red Hat 3scale API Management is a hosted environment for web applications. In this quick tip, you will see how to use 3scale to set up WebSocket communication easily. Figure 1 shows how 3scale mediates between the web client and the WebSocket interface on the server.

The 3scale WebSockets policy stands between the client and server.
Figure 1: The relationship between the browser, 3scale, and the server.

This tip takes you through the following steps:

  • Setting up the WebSocket server.
  • Configuring 3scale API Management.
  • Using a WebSocket client to test the WebSocket endpoint.

Step 1: Set up the WebSocket server

You can use any of your favorite frameworks to start the WebSocket server. For this article, we use Node.js. (Installing Node.js is out of the scope of this tip.)

We'll also use a simple JavaScript program that sets up a WebSocket server, accepts a request, and sends a reply. You can save it as index.js:

// Minimal amount of secure websocket server

var fs = require('fs');

// read ssl certificate

var privateKey = fs.readFileSync('ssl-cert/key.pem', 'utf8');

var certificate = fs.readFileSync('ssl-cert/certificate.pem', 'utf8');

var credentials = { key: privateKey, cert: certificate };

var https = require('https');

//pass in your credentials to create an https server

var httpsServer = https.createServer(credentials);


var WebSocketServer = require('ws').Server;

var wss = new WebSocketServer({

    server: httpsServer


wss.on('connection', function connection(ws) {

    ws.on('message', function incoming(message) {

        console.log('received: %s', message);

        ws.send('reply from server : ' + message)




You can use Node.js to start the script:

$ node index.js

Step 2: Configure 3scale API Management

Follow the 3scale documentation to add a back end and create the necessary metrics, products, and application plan to expose an endpoint. Provide the WebSocket server URL as the Private Base URL, as shown in Figure 2.

Enter the WebSocket server URL as the Private Base URL.
Figure 2: Enter the WebSocket server URL in the Private Base URL field.

Add your WebSockets policy to the policy chain, as shown in Figure 3. No configuration is needed inside the policy.

Using the 3scale dialog to define the policy chain.
Figure 3: Configuring the policy chain in 3scale.

Promote the endpoint to the staging API Gateway for testing. Figure 4 shows how the endpoint and mapping rules appear in the console.

Viewing the server's endpoint and mapping rules in the console.
Figure 4: View the endpoint and mapping rules in the console.

Step 3: Use a WebSocket client to test the WebSocket endpoint

A convenient client we use for testing in this example is the Chrome browser's Web Socket Client extension. Enter the staging API Gateway URL and append the WebSocket public path to connect, as shown in Figure 5.

Testing a 3scale WebSocket connection by entering a URL.
Figure 5: A sample URL for testing a 3scale WebSocket connection.


3scale API Management offers policies to support communication between your front end and back end. See these resources for further information:

Last updated: September 19, 2023