GETSOCKOPT(2) BSD System Calls Manual GETSOCKOPT(2)
getsockopt, setsockopt -- get and set options on sockets
getsockopt(int socket, int level, int option_name, void *restrict option_value, socklen_t *restrict option_len);
setsockopt(int socket, int level, int option_name, const void *option_value, socklen_t option_len);
getsockopt() and setsockopt() manipulate the options associated with a socket. Options may exist at multiple protocol levels; they are
always present at the uppermost ``socket'' level.
When manipulating socket options the level at which the option resides and the name of the option must be specified. To manipulate options
at the socket level, level is specified as SOL_SOCKET. To manipulate options at any other level the protocol number of the appropriate pro-
tocol controlling the option is supplied. For example, to indicate that an option is to be interpreted by the TCP protocol, level should be
set to the protocol number of TCP; see getprotoent(3).
The parameters option_value and option_len are used to access option values for setsockopt(). For getsockopt() they identify a buffer in
which the value for the requested option(s) are to be returned. For getsockopt(), option_len is a value-result parameter, initially contain-
ing the size of the buffer pointed to by option_value, and modified on return to indicate the actual size of the value returned. If no
option value is to be supplied or returned, option_value may be NULL.
option_name and any specified options are passed uninterpreted to the appropriate protocol module for interpretation. The include file
<sys/socket.h> contains definitions for socket level options, described below. Options at other protocol levels vary in format and name;
consult the appropriate entries in section 4 of the manual.
Most socket-level options utilize an int parameter for option_value. For setsockopt(), the parameter should be non-zero to enable a boolean
option, or zero if the option is to be disabled. SO_LINGER uses a struct linger parameter, defined in <sys/socket.h>, which specifies the
desired state of the option and the linger interval (see below). SO_SNDTIMEO and SO_RCVTIMEO use a struct timeval parameter, defined in
The following options are recognized at the socket level. Except as noted, each may be examined with getsockopt() and set with setsockopt().
SO_DEBUG enables recording of debugging information
SO_REUSEADDR enables local address reuse
SO_REUSEPORT enables duplicate address and port bindings
SO_KEEPALIVE enables keep connections alive
SO_DONTROUTE enables routing bypass for outgoing messages
SO_LINGER linger on close if data present
SO_BROADCAST enables permission to transmit broadcast messages
SO_OOBINLINE enables reception of out-of-band data in band
SO_SNDBUF set buffer size for output
SO_RCVBUF set buffer size for input
SO_SNDLOWAT set minimum count for output
SO_RCVLOWAT set minimum count for input
SO_SNDTIMEO set timeout value for output
SO_RCVTIMEO set timeout value for input
SO_TYPE get the type of the socket (get only)
SO_ERROR get and clear error on the socket (get only)
SO_NOSIGPIPE do not generate SIGPIPE, instead return EPIPE
SO_NREAD number of bytes to be read (get only)
SO_NWRITE number of bytes written not yet sent by the protocol (get only)
SO_LINGER_SEC linger on close if data present with timeout in seconds
SO_DEBUG enables debugging in the underlying protocol modules.
SO_REUSEADDR indicates that the rules used in validating addresses supplied in a bind(2) call should allow reuse of local addresses.
SO_REUSEPORT allows completely duplicate bindings by multiple processes if they all set SO_REUSEPORT before binding the port. This option
permits multiple instances of a program to each receive UDP/IP multicast or broadcast datagrams destined for the bound port.
SO_KEEPALIVE enables the periodic transmission of messages on a connected socket. Should the connected party fail to respond to these mes-
sages, the connection is considered broken and processes using the socket are notified via a SIGPIPE signal when attempting to send data.
SO_DONTROUTE indicates that outgoing messages should bypass the standard routing facilities. Instead, messages are directed to the appropri-
ate network interface according to the network portion of the destination address.
SO_LINGER controls the action taken when unsent messages are queued on socket and a close(2) is performed. If the socket promises reliable
delivery of data and SO_LINGER is set, the system will block the process on the close attempt until it is able to transmit the data or until
it decides it is unable to deliver the information (a timeout period, termed the linger interval, is specified in the setsockopt() call when
SO_LINGER is requested). If SO_LINGER is disabled and a close is issued, the system will process the close in a manner that allows the
process to continue as quickly as possible.
SO_LINGER_SEC is the same option as SO_LINGER except the linger time is in seconds for SO_LINGER_SEC.
The option SO_BROADCAST requests permission to send broadcast datagrams on the socket. Broadcast was a privileged operation in earlier ver-
sions of the system.
With protocols that support out-of-band data, the SO_OOBINLINE option requests that out-of-band data be placed in the normal data input queue
as received; it will then be accessible with recv or read calls without the MSG_OOB flag. Some protocols always behave as if this option is
SO_SNDBUF and SO_RCVBUF are options to adjust the normal buffer sizes allocated for output and input buffers, respectively. The buffer size
may be increased for high-volume connections, or may be decreased to limit the possible backlog of incoming data. The system places an abso-
lute limit on these values.
SO_SNDLOWAT is an option to set the minimum count for output operations. Most output operations process all of the data supplied by the
call, delivering data to the protocol for transmission and blocking as necessary for flow control. Nonblocking output operations will
process as much data as permitted (subject to flow control) without blocking, but will process no data if flow control does not allow the
smaller of the low-water mark value or the entire request to be processed. A select(2) operation testing the ability to write to a socket
will return true only if the low-water mark amount could be processed. The default value for SO_SNDLOWAT is set to a convenient size for
network efficiency, often 2048.
SO_RCVLOWAT is an option to set the minimum count for input operations. In general, receive calls will block until any (non-zero) amount of
data is received, then return with the smaller of the amount available or the amount requested. The default value for SO_RCVLOWAT is 1. If
SO_RCVLOWAT is set to a larger value, blocking receive calls normally wait until they have received the smaller of the low-water mark value
or the requested amount. Receive calls may still return less than the low-water mark if an error occurs, a signal is caught, or the type of
data next in the receive queue is different than that returned.
SO_SNDTIMEO is an option to set a timeout value for output operations. It accepts a struct timeval parameter with the number of seconds and
microseconds used to limit waits for output operations to complete. If a send operation has blocked for this much time, it returns with a
partial count or with the error EWOULDBLOCK if no data were sent. In the current implementation, this timer is restarted each time addi-
tional data are delivered to the protocol, implying that the limit applies to output portions ranging in size from the low-water mark to the
high-water mark for output.
SO_RCVTIMEO is an option to set a timeout value for input operations. It accepts a struct timeval parameter with the number of seconds and
microseconds used to limit waits for input operations to complete. In the current implementation, this timer is restarted each time addi-
tional data are received by the protocol, and thus the limit is in effect an inactivity timer. If a receive operation has been blocked for
this much time without receiving additional data, it returns with a short count or with the error EWOULDBLOCK if no data were received. The
struct timeval parameter must represent a positive time interval; otherwise, setsockopt() returns with the error EDOM.
SO_NOSIGPIPE is an option that prevents SIGPIPE from being raised when a write fails on a socket to which there is no reader; instead, the
write to the socket returns with the error EPIPE when there is no reader.
Finally, SO_TYPE, SO_ERROR, SO_NREAD, and SO_NWRITE are options used only with getsockopt().
SO_TYPE returns the type of the socket, such as SOCK_STREAM; it is useful for servers that inherit sockets on startup.
SO_ERROR returns any pending error on the socket and clears the error status. It may be used to check for asynchronous errors on connected
datagram sockets or for other asynchronous errors.
SO_NREAD returns the amount of data in the input buffer that is available to be received. For datagram oriented sockets, SO_NREAD returns
the size of the first packet -- this differs from the ioctl() command FIONREAD that returns the total amount of data available.
SO_NWRITE returns the amount of data in the output buffer not yet sent by the protocol.
Upon successful completion, the value 0 is returned; otherwise the value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the
The getsockopt() and setsockopt() system calls will succeed unless:
[EBADF] The argument socket is not a valid file descriptor.
[EFAULT] The address pointed to by option_value is not in a valid part of the process address space. For getsockopt(), this error
may also be returned if option_len is not in a valid part of the process address space.
[EINVAL] The option is invalid at the level indicated.
[ENOBUFS] Insufficient system resources available for the call to complete.
[ENOMEM] Insufficient memory available for the system call to complete.
[ENOPROTOOPT] The option is unknown at the level indicated.
[ENOTSOCK] The argument socket is not a socket (e.g., a plain file).
The setsockopt() system call will succeed unless:
[EDOM] The argument option_value is out of bounds.
[EISCONN] socket is already connected and a specified option cannot be set while this is the case.
[EINVAL] The socket has been shut down.
The include file <sys/types.h> is necessary.
socket(2), bind(2), ioctl(2), getprotoent(3), protocols(5)
Several of the socket options should be handled at lower levels of the system.
The getsockopt() system call appeared in 4.2BSD.
4.3-Reno Berkeley Distribution April 19, 1994 4.3-Reno Berkeley Distribution