Redis Communication Protocol

August 16, 2014
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Redis clients communicate with Redis server using a protocol called RESP (REdis Serialization Protocol).

RESP is simple, fast and human readable. Also, it is binary safe and can serialize different data types like integers, strings, arrays. It is an application layer protocol over tcp as client connects to Redis server using a TCP connection to the default port 6379.

Note: RESP is only used for client-server communication. Redis Cluster uses a different binary protocol in order to exchange messages between nodes.

Protocol Specification

Data Type

In RESP, there are five basic types to identify different data, the difference is the first byte character:

Bulk String

Bulk Strings are encoded in the following way:


Bulk Array

Bulk Arrays are sent using the following format:

Following with additional RESP type for every element of the Array.



Request and Response


Clients and Servers are connected via networking link. Whatever the network latency is, there is a time for the packets to travel from the client to the server, and back from the server to the client to carry the reply. This time is called RTT (Round Trip Time). This can heavily affect the server performance.

Pipelining sends multiple commands to the server without waiting for the replies at all, and finally read the replies in a single step. So there is no RTT overhead for each command, just one RTT for all commands together.

NOTE: while the client sends commands using pipelining, the server will be forced to queue the replies, using memory. For saving memory, just send a reasonable number of commands, like 10k commands each time.