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 con-
nections. 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 setsockopt(2).
The paccept() function behaves exactly like accept(), but it also allows to set the following 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 sig-
nal 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
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 systems. On the other hand, there are implementations which don't do so. Linux is an example of such implemen-
tations. 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 accepted.
[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 listen(2)).
[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.
June 2, 2011 BSD