What is the Difference Between TCP and UDP?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

There is a difference between TCP and UDP however both protocols are used to send data or packets over the internet or intranet. Both do the same thing but in different ways. We have provided the difference between TCP and UDP in the table below.

Difference between TCP and UDP



Data transmission requires an established connection (the connection should be closed once the transmission is complete).

There are no criteria for initiating, maintaining or ending a connection in this protocol.

It incorporates error-checking, ensures delivery, and keeps the data packets in order.

It doesn’t ensure error checking or data recovery.

TCP transmits data in a certain order, ensuring that packets arrive at the receiver in the correct order. 

On the other hand, because there is no data sequencing in UDP, the application layer must control the ordering.

TCP is slower than UDP because it performs error checking, and flow management, and gives delivery assurance. 

UDP is quicker than TCP because it does not guarantee data packet delivery.

Data is read in the form of a byte stream, and messages are sent to segment borders.

Individual UDP packets with defined limits are transmitted and verified for integrity upon arrival.

When a safe and dependable communication mechanism is necessary, this protocol is typically utilized. 

This protocol is used when quick communication is necessary but dependability is not a concern.

Difference between TCP and UDP

TCP is a connection-oriented protocol whereas UDP does not require a connection. The difference between TCP and UDP are:

  • TCP is a connection-oriented protocol, whereas UDP is a connectionless protocol.
  • TCP is significantly slower than UDP.
  • TCP provides for the retransmission of lost data packets, while UDP does not.
  • UDP is simpler and speedier than TCP.
  • UDP is not designed for end-to-end communication whereas TCP sends data from the user to the server in the intended sequence.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) vs User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

TCP is an abbreviation for Transmission Control Protocol while UDP is an abbreviation for User Datagram Protocol. The key difference between TCP and UDP is given below:

  • TCP’s speed is slower, while UDP’s speed is faster.
  • TCP employs handshake protocols such as SYN, SYN-ACK, and ACK, but UDP employs no handshake protocols.
  • TCP performs error checking as well as error recovery, whereas UDP performs error checking but discards erroneous packets.
  • TCP has acknowledgment segments, whereas UDP does not have any.
  • When comparing the TCP and UDP protocols, TCP is heavier and UDP is lighter.

What is TCP?

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a connection-oriented protocol, which means that once a connection is established, data may be delivered in both ways. TCP contains built-in mechanisms to check for faults and ensure that data is delivered in the order it was transmitted, making it ideal for transmitting data such as still photos, data files, and web pages.

The TCP protocol assures that data is received accurately, with no missing or incorrect data. If the TCP protocol is not utilized, erroneous or out-of-order data may be received. If we try to read a web page or download a file without utilizing TCP, for example, some data or graphics may be lost.

What is UDP?

The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) stands for User Datagram Protocol. It works similarly to TCP in that it is also used to transmit and receive messages. The primary distinction is that UDP does not require a connection. Connectionless indicates that no connection is established before communication takes place. It also does not ensure data packet delivery.

UDP is also known as the fire-and-forget protocol since it does not care if the data is received on the receiver’s end. It’s also known as the fire-and-forget protocol since it delivers data regardless of whether it’s received. Because it does not give a guarantee for packet delivery, UDP is quicker than TCP.

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