UDP(7) Linux Programmer's Manual UDP(7)
udp - User Datagram Protocol for IPv4
udp_socket = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0);
This is an implementation of the User Datagram Protocol described in RFC 768. It imple-
ments a connectionless, unreliable datagram packet service. Packets may be reordered or
duplicated before they arrive. UDP generates and checks checksums to catch transmission
When a UDP socket is created, its local and remote addresses are unspecified. Datagrams
can be sent immediately using sendto(2) or sendmsg(2) with a valid destination address as
an argument. When connect(2) is called on the socket, the default destination address is
set and datagrams can now be sent using send(2) or write(2) without specifying a destina-
tion address. It is still possible to send to other destinations by passing an address to
sendto(2) or sendmsg(2). In order to receive packets, the socket can be bound to a local
address first by using bind(2). Otherwise the socket layer will automatically assign a
free local port out of the range defined by /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range and
bind the socket to INADDR_ANY.
All receive operations return only one packet. When the packet is smaller than the passed
buffer, only that much data is returned; when it is bigger, the packet is truncated and
the MSG_TRUNC flag is set. MSG_WAITALL is not supported.
IP options may be sent or received using the socket options described in ip(7). They are
processed by the kernel only when the appropriate /proc parameter is enabled (but still
passed to the user even when it is turned off). See ip(7).
When the MSG_DONTROUTE flag is set on sending, the destination address must refer to a
local interface address and the packet is sent only to that interface.
By default, Linux UDP does path MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) discovery. This means the
kernel will keep track of the MTU to a specific target IP address and return EMSGSIZE when
a UDP packet write exceeds it. When this happens, the application should decrease the
packet size. Path MTU discovery can be also turned off using the IP_MTU_DISCOVER socket
option or the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_no_pmtu_disc file; see ip(7) for details. When turned
off, UDP will fragment outgoing UDP packets that exceed the interface MTU. However, dis-
abling it is not recommended for performance and reliability reasons.
UDP uses the IPv4 sockaddr_in address format described in ip(7).
All fatal errors will be passed to the user as an error return even when the socket is not
connected. This includes asynchronous errors received from the network. You may get an
error for an earlier packet that was sent on the same socket. This behavior differs from
many other BSD socket implementations which don't pass any errors unless the socket is
connected. Linux's behavior is mandated by RFC 1122.
For compatibility with legacy code, in Linux 2.0 and 2.2 it was possible to set the
SO_BSDCOMPAT SOL_SOCKET option to receive remote errors only when the socket has been con-
nected (except for EPROTO and EMSGSIZE). Locally generated errors are always passed.
Support for this socket option was removed in later kernels; see socket(7) for further
When the IP_RECVERR option is enabled, all errors are stored in the socket error queue,
and can be received by recvmsg(2) with the MSG_ERRQUEUE flag set.
System-wide UDP parameter settings can be accessed by files in the directory
udp_mem (since Linux 2.6.25)
This is a vector of three integers governing the number of pages allowed for queue-
ing by all UDP sockets.
min Below this number of pages, UDP is not bothered about its memory
appetite. When the amount of memory allocated by UDP exceeds this num-
ber, UDP starts to moderate memory usage.
pressure This value was introduced to follow the format of tcp_mem (see tcp(7)).
max Number of pages allowed for queueing by all UDP sockets.
Defaults values for these three items are calculated at boot time from the amount
of available memory.
udp_rmem_min (integer; default value: PAGE_SIZE; since Linux 2.6.25)
Minimal size, in bytes, of receive buffers used by UDP sockets in moderation. Each
UDP socket is able to use the size for receiving data, even if total pages of UDP
sockets exceed udp_mem pressure.
udp_wmem_min (integer; default value: PAGE_SIZE; since Linux 2.6.25)
Minimal size, in bytes, of send buffer used by UDP sockets in moderation. Each UDP
socket is able to use the size for sending data, even if total pages of UDP sockets
exceed udp_mem pressure.
To set or get a UDP socket option, call getsockopt(2) to read or setsockopt(2) to write
the option with the option level argument set to IPPROTO_UDP. Unless otherwise noted,
optval is a pointer to an int.
UDP_CORK (since Linux 2.5.44)
If this option is enabled, then all data output on this socket is accumulated into
a single datagram that is transmitted when the option is disabled. This option
should not be used in code intended to be portable.
These ioctls can be accessed using ioctl(2). The correct syntax is:
error = ioctl(udp_socket, ioctl_type, &value);
Gets a pointer to an integer as argument. Returns the size of the next pending
datagram in the integer in bytes, or 0 when no datagram is pending. Warning: Using
FIONREAD, it is impossible to distinguish the case where no datagram is pending
from the case where the next pending datagram contains zero bytes of data. It is
safer to use select(2), poll(2), or epoll(7) to distinguish these cases.
Returns the number of data bytes in the local send queue. Only supported with
Linux 2.4 and above.
In addition all ioctls documented in ip(7) and socket(7) are supported.
All errors documented for socket(7) or ip(7) may be returned by a send or receive on a UDP
No receiver was associated with the destination address. This might be caused by a
previous packet sent over the socket.
IP_RECVERR is a new feature in Linux 2.2.
ip(7), raw(7), socket(7), udplite(7)
RFC 768 for the User Datagram Protocol.
RFC 1122 for the host requirements.
RFC 1191 for a description of path MTU discovery.
This page is part of release 3.53 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the
project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at
Linux 2013-07-31 UDP(7)