ACCEPT(2) BSD System Calls Manual ACCEPT(2)
accept, paccept -- accept a connection on a socket
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
accept(int s, struct sockaddr * restrict addr, socklen_t * restrict addrlen);
paccept(int s, struct sockaddr * restrict addr, socklen_t * restrict addrlen,
const sigset_t * restrict sigmask, int flags);
The argument s is a socket that has been created with socket(2), bound to an address with
bind(2), and is listening for connections after a listen(2). The accept() argument extracts
the first connection request on the queue of pending connections, creates a new socket with
the same properties of s and allocates a new file descriptor for the socket. If no pending
connections are present on the queue, and the socket is not marked as non-blocking, accept()
blocks the caller until a connection is present. If the socket is marked non-blocking and
no pending connections are present on the queue, accept() returns an error as described
below. The accepted socket may not be used to accept more connections. The original socket
s remains open.
The argument addr is a result parameter that is filled in with the address of the connecting
entity, as known to the communications layer. The exact format of the addr parameter is
determined by the domain in which the communication is occurring. The addrlen is a value-
result parameter; it should initially contain the amount of space pointed to by addr; on
return it will contain the actual length (in bytes) of the address returned. This call is
used with connection-based socket types, currently with SOCK_STREAM.
It is possible to select(2) or poll(2) a socket for the purposes of doing an accept() by
selecting or polling it for read.
For certain protocols which require an explicit confirmation, such as ISO or DATAKIT,
accept() can be thought of as merely dequeuing the next connection request and not implying
confirmation. Confirmation can be implied by a normal read or write on the new file
descriptor, and rejection can be implied by closing the new socket.
One can obtain user connection request data without confirming the connection by issuing a
recvmsg(2) call with an msg_iovlen of 0 and a non-zero msg_controllen, or by issuing a
getsockopt(2) request. Similarly, one can provide user connection rejection information by
issuing a sendmsg(2) call with providing only the control information, or by calling
The paccept() function behaves exactly like accept(), but it also allows to set the follow-
ing flags on the returned file descriptor:
SOCK_CLOEXEC Set the close on exec property.
SOCK_NONBLOCK Sets non-blocking I/O.
It can also temporarily replace the signal mask of the calling thread if sigmask is a
non-NULL pointer, then the paccept() function shall replace the signal mask of the caller by
the set of signals pointed to by sigmask before waiting for a connection, and shall restore
the signal mask of the calling thread before returning.
The accept() and paccept() calls return -1 on error. If they succeed, they return a non-
negative integer that is a descriptor for the accepted socket.
The accept() implementation makes the new file descriptor inherit file flags (like
O_NONBLOCK) from the listening socket. It's a traditional behaviour for BSD derivative sys-
tems. On the other hand, there are implementations which don't do so. Linux is an example
of such implementations. Portable programs should not rely on either of the behaviours.
The accept() will fail if:
[EAGAIN] The socket is marked non-blocking and no connections are present to be
[EBADF] The descriptor is invalid.
[ECONNABORTED] A connection has been aborted.
[EFAULT] The addr parameter is not in a writable part of the user address space.
[EINTR] The accept() call has been interrupted by a signal.
[EINVAL] The socket has not been set up to accept connections (using bind(2) and
[EMFILE] The per-process descriptor table is full.
[ENFILE] The system file table is full.
[ENOTSOCK] The descriptor references a file, not a socket.
[EOPNOTSUPP] The referenced socket is not of type SOCK_STREAM.
bind(2), connect(2), listen(2), poll(2), select(2), socket(2)
The accept() function appeared in 4.2BSD. The pselect() function is inspired from Linux and
appeared in NetBSD 6.0.
BSD June 2, 2011 BSD