WCF Services – Choosing the appropriate WCF binding

By | July 30, 2012
Windows Communication Foundation is a programming model that enables us to develop and then expose our services in a variety of different ways. It means a single WCF service can be exposed with different wire formats and message protocols. Bindings in WCF actually defines that how to communicate with the service. So, binding specifies that what communication protocol as well as encoding method will be used. Optionally, it can specify other important factors like transactions, reliable sessions and security.
Windows Communication Foundation comes with a number of built-in bindings that we can use to expose our service, but WCF is extensible so we can define our own custom bindings to fulfill specific needs.In this WCF Tutorial, we will keep our focus on learning about existing bindings available in WCF. But instead of explaining those bindings in general, we will try to understand these bindings with respect to some suitable scenarios in which it can be used. For understanding WCF Binding internals, another WCF Binding Tutorial has these details.WCF Bindings
Interoperability Scenario:
If we are going to develop a WCF service that will be consumed by non-WCF client applications, then we can expose our service using BasicHttpBinding or WsHttpBinding. So, how these two bindings differ from each other is explain as:
1)    BasicHttpBindingis designed to replaceASMX Web services. It supports both HTTP and Secure HTTP. As far as encodingis concerned, it provides support for Text as well asMTOM encoding methods.BasicHttpBinding doesn’t supportWS-* standards like WS-Addressing, WS-Security andWS-ReliableMessaging.
2)    WsHttpBinding also supports interoperability. With this binding, the SOAP message is, by default, encrypted. It supports HTTP and HTTPS. In terms of encoding, it provides support for Text as well as MTOM encoding methods. It supportsWS-* standards like WS-Addressing, WS-Security andWS-ReliableMessaging. By default, reliable sessionsare disabled because it can cause a bit of performance overhead.
3)    WsDualHttpBinding has all features of WsHttpBinding with addition that it supports Duplex MEP (Message Exchange Pattern). In this MEP, service can communicate with client via callback. Its basically a two way communication.

Note: For further details on Message Exchange Patterns, you can refer my other article “WCF Service -Top 10 Interview Questions” which explainsMEPs in details.

4)    WsFederationHttpBinding is a specialized form of WS Binding that offers support for federated security.

Single Computer Scenario:
If our WCF service resides on a single computer, then netNamedPipeBinding will be the best choice.
5)    NetNamedPipeBinding is secure and reliable binding on a single WCF computer across process communication. It provides support for binary encoding which is the best choice in this scenario and uses named pipes as transport for SOAP messages.

Intranet/Cross Computers .NET Communication Scenario:
If we need to communicate across computers with same .NET technology on intranet, then netTcpBinding or netPeerTcpBinding options are available. It’s basically the replacement or enhancement of earlier .NET Remoting technology.
6)    NetTcpBinding supports reliability, transactions and security. It also supports TCP protocol and binary as encoding method. We can say that it’s the most optimized or fastest binding because both client and service are on the same WCF technology.

7)    NetPeerTcpBinding supports features as that of netTcpBinding but it provides secure binding for peer-to-peer environment with WCF Services.

Disconnected Queued Scenario:
8)    NetMsmqBinding is required in a cross machine environment with secure and reliable queued communication. This uses MSMQ as transport.

Top 10 Interview Questions and Answers Series:

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Imran Abdul Ghani is working as Software Developer(Senior) with extensive knowledge in Web development technologies especially C#, ASP.NET, MVC, WCF, Web API, ADO.NET Entity Framework, jQuery etc. He has several years of experience in designing/developing enterprise level applications. He is Microsoft Certified Solution Developer for .NET (MCSD.NET) since 2005. You can reach his blogging at www.webdevelopmenthelp.net, www.topwcftutorials.net, and www.sharepointfordummies.net.

7 thoughts on “WCF Services – Choosing the appropriate WCF binding

    1. WebdevTutorial

      Hi momo,

      webHttpBinding is used for REST-based Services. As opposite to WCF SOAP-based services, REST uses HTTP for making calls instead of using it as just a transport. See attachment for usage of webHttpBinding in configuration.

      To further understand about it and a complete practical example for creating your first REST-based WCF Service in 5 simple steps, please follow the link below:


  1. kirnyk

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