Based on the docs of ethersjs, I could use the provider.on() function to listen for events and perform some actions. However, would it still work if I don't have a websocket RPC URL?

If it still does work without a websocket RPC, how does it constantly listening for an event?

If it must have a websocket RPC to work, how else can I listen for an emitted event without using a websocket RPC in ethersjs?

3 Answers 3


Yes, you can do this without a websocket. provider.on() is leveraging JavaScript event handlers, and has nothing to do with websockets. JS is an event-driven language.

  • Behind the scene, since without web sockets, does the library constantly polling for the event every second then? Otherwise, how does it know that a new event has occurred?
    – xenon
    Apr 19, 2022 at 23:22
  • Behind the scenes, JS is an event-driven language. Read up on how the Event-Loop works for a deeper understanding. This is a good place to start developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/EventLoop
    – jstep
    Apr 19, 2022 at 23:56
  • To address your question about polling, it does not do any polling. It's an event-loop and a task queue. The events are processed from the task queue (which is a list of messages to be processed). You (the programmer) can add and remove events from the queue to be processed. Again, there is no polling.
    – jstep
    Apr 20, 2022 at 0:00
  • 1
    I disagree with jstep's answer re: provider.on not using polling. The source code is peppered with polling code: - github.com/ethers-io/ethers.js/blob/… - github.com/ethers-io/ethers.js/blob/…
    – kyzooghost
    Nov 12, 2022 at 16:31

With provider.on() you can filter the events only but can not listen them in real-time. websocket connection is essential for subscribing to real-time event listening. HTTP-based providers do not support this functionality.


I actually does some polling behind scenes like @kyzooghost mentioned in the comments. The event-loop nature of JS doesn't have anything to do with the type of connection used to get events in realtime.

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