Difference between Reference and Pointer in C++

Here you will learn about difference between reference and pointer in C++.

Reference: Reference contains address of a variable. It can be called as alternative name of a variable.

Example:

Pointer: Pointer also contains address of a variable.

Example:

Difference between Reference and Pointer in C++

Both reference and pointer are used to point to address of a variable but they are different in many ways.

Difference between Reference and Pointer in C++

S.No Reference

Pointer

1. Once reference is assigned an address then it can’t be reassigned address of any other variable. There is no such restriction.
2. Reference can’t be NULL. Pointer can be NULL.
3. A reference should be initialized at the time of its declaration. There is no such restriction.
4. We can dereference the address without using any operator. In pointer, address is dereferenced using * operator.
5. We can’t increment or decrement the address stored in reference. Due to this, reference is safe to use. It is possible to increment or decrement the address stored in pointer. Due to this, pointer is not safe to use.

Comment below if you found any mistake or know any other difference between pointer and reference in C++.

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