This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux
implementation of this interface may differ (consult the
corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or
the interface may not be implemented on Linux.
The recv() function shall receive a message from a connection-mode or
connectionless-mode socket. It is normally used with connected
sockets because it does not permit the application to retrieve the
source address of received data.
The recv() function takes the following arguments:
socket Specifies the socket file descriptor.
buffer Points to a 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
MSG_PEEK Peeks at an incoming message. The data is
treated as unread and the next recv() or
similar function shall still return this data.
MSG_OOB Requests out-of-band data. The significance and
semantics of out-of-band data are protocol-
MSG_WAITALL 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
The recv() 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_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.
If no messages are available at the socket and O_NONBLOCK is not set
on the socket's file descriptor, recv() shall block until a message
arrives. If no messages are available at the socket and O_NONBLOCK is
set on the socket's file descriptor, recv() shall fail and set errno
to [EAGAIN] or [EWOULDBLOCK].
Upon successful completion, recv() 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, recv() shall return 0.
Otherwise, −1 shall be returned and errno set to indicate the error.
The recv() 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-band data.
EBADF The socket argument is not a valid file descriptor.
A connection was forcibly closed by a peer.
EINTR The recv() function was interrupted by a signal that was
caught, 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
The socket argument does not refer to a socket.
The specified flags are not supported for this socket type or
The connection timed out during connection establishment, or
due to a transmission timeout on active connection.
The recv() function may fail if:
EIO An I/O error occurred while reading from or writing to the
Insufficient resources were available in the system to perform
ENOMEM Insufficient memory was available to fulfill the request.
The following sections are informative.
The recv() function is equivalent to recvfrom() with null pointer
address and address_len arguments, and to read() if the socket
argument refers to a socket and the flags argument is 0.
The select() and poll() functions can be used to determine when data
is available to be received.
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information
Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open
Group Base Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open
Group. (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1
applied.) 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.unix.org/online.html .
Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the
source files to man page format. To report such errors, see
IEEE/The Open Group 2013 RECV(3P)