RECVFROM(3P) POSIX Programmer's Manual RECVFROM(3P)
This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the correspond-
ing Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.
recvfrom - receive a message from a socket
ssize_t recvfrom(int socket, void *restrict buffer, size_t length,
int flags, struct sockaddr *restrict address,
socklen_t *restrict address_len);
The recvfrom() function shall receive a message from a connection-mode or connectionless-mode socket. It is normally used with connection-
less-mode sockets because it permits the application to retrieve the source address of received data.
The recvfrom() function takes the following arguments:
socket Specifies the socket file descriptor.
buffer Points to the buffer where the message should be stored.
length Specifies the length in bytes of the buffer pointed to by the buffer argument.
flags Specifies the type of message reception. Values of this argument are formed by logically OR'ing zero or more of the following val-
Peeks at an incoming message. The data is treated as unread and the next recvfrom() or similar function shall still return this
Requests out-of-band data. The significance and semantics of out-of-band data are protocol-specific.
On SOCK_STREAM sockets this requests that the function block until the full amount of data can be returned. The function may return
the smaller amount of data if the socket is a message-based socket, if a signal is caught, if the connection is terminated, if
MSG_PEEK was specified, or if an error is pending for the socket.
A null pointer, or points to a sockaddr structure in which the sending address is to be stored. The length and format of the address
depend on the address family of the socket.
Specifies the length of the sockaddr structure pointed to by the address argument.
The recvfrom() function shall return the length of the message written to the buffer pointed to by the buffer argument. For message-based
sockets, such as SOCK_RAW, SOCK_DGRAM, and SOCK_SEQPACKET, the entire message shall be read in a single operation. If a message is too
long to fit in the supplied buffer, and MSG_PEEK is not set in the flags argument, the excess bytes shall be discarded. For stream-based
sockets, such as SOCK_STREAM, message boundaries shall be ignored. In this case, data shall be returned to the user as soon as it becomes
available, and no data shall be discarded.
If the MSG_WAITALL flag is not set, data shall be returned only up to the end of the first message.
Not all protocols provide the source address for messages. If the address argument is not a null pointer and the protocol provides the
source address of messages, the source address of the received message shall be stored in the sockaddr structure pointed to by the address
argument, and the length of this address shall be stored in the object pointed to by the address_len argument.
If the actual length of the address is greater than the length of the supplied sockaddr structure, the stored address shall be truncated.
If the address argument is not a null pointer and the protocol does not provide the source address of messages, the value stored in the
object pointed to by address is unspecified.
If no messages are available at the socket and O_NONBLOCK is not set on the socket's file descriptor, recvfrom() shall block until a mes-
sage arrives. If no messages are available at the socket and O_NONBLOCK is set on the socket's file descriptor, recvfrom() shall fail and
set errno to [EAGAIN] or [EWOULDBLOCK].
Upon successful completion, recvfrom() shall return the length of the message in bytes. If no messages are available to be received and the
peer has performed an orderly shutdown, recvfrom() shall return 0. Otherwise, the function shall return -1 and set errno to indicate the
The recvfrom() function shall fail if:
EAGAIN or EWOULDBLOCK
The socket's file descriptor is marked O_NONBLOCK and no data is waiting to be received; or MSG_OOB is set and no out-of-band data
is available and either the socket's file descriptor is marked O_NONBLOCK or the socket does not support blocking to await out-of-
EBADF The socket argument is not a valid file descriptor.
A connection was forcibly closed by a peer.
EINTR A signal interrupted recvfrom() before any data was available.
EINVAL The MSG_OOB flag is set and no out-of-band data is available.
A receive is attempted on a connection-mode socket that is not connected.
The socket argument does not refer to a socket.
The specified flags are not supported for this socket type.
The connection timed out during connection establishment, or due to a transmission timeout on active connection.
The recvfrom() function may fail if:
EIO An I/O error occurred while reading from or writing to the file system.
Insufficient resources were available in the system to perform the operation.
ENOMEM Insufficient memory was available to fulfill the request.
The following sections are informative.
The select() and poll() functions can be used to determine when data is available to be received.
poll(), read(), recv(), recvmsg(), select(), send(), sendmsg(), sendto(), shutdown() , socket(), write(), the Base Definitions volume of
IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <sys/socket.h>
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technol-
ogy -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE
and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained
online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
/The Open Group 2003 RECVFROM(3P)