Winsock Programmer’s FAQ
Basic Winsock Examples: Multithreaded Server
The threaded server is probably the simplest "real" server type to understand. A server program almost always needs to handle more than one connection at a time, and this is the simplest way to do that under Winsock. The reason is, since each connection gets its own thread, each thread can use simple blocking I/O on the socket. All other multi-connection server types use non-synchronous I/O of varying complexities in order to avoid thread overhead.
This server isn't that different from the basic single-connection server. The architectures are fairly different, but some of the code is identical between the two server programs.
In the basic server, the
AcceptConnection() function is
only two lines. The equivalent function in the threaded server,
AcceptConnections(), is about 20 lines, because it sits in a
loop waiting for connections, each of which it spins off into its own
Each thread handles its connection more or less identically
to the way the basic server handles each connection. In fact, the
EchoIncomingPackets() is the same in each program. The only
difference is that the main loop calls this function in the basic
server, but it's called from the thread entry function in the threaded
server. Similarly, the thread function shuts the connection down once
the client stops sending packets; in the basic server, the main loop
shuts client connections down.
The only module you will need to compile this program, aside from the common files listed on the main examples page, is threaded-server.cpp. The comment at the top of the file gives complete compilation instructions; alternately, you can use the common Makefile.
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