This paper examines the influence of rock socket lengths on the lateral response of piles embedded in homogeneous sandy soil overlying rock. A 3-D finite element based numerical analysis has been used to investigate the performance of piles due to socketing into the rock. Parametric studies have been carried out for understanding the behaviour of piles in a continuum consisting of a sandy soil layer overlying a rock mass layer. The numerical results are discussed in terms of the lateral load-deflection relationships and bending moments along the length of the pile with reference to pile head fixity conditions and rock socket lengths, which are of prime interest to designers. The limiting rock socket lengths for achieving the maximum beneficial effect is found to be equal to the width of the pile for both free and fixed head piles. © 2012 Indian Geotechnical Society.