getsockopt, setsockopt — get and set options on sockets


#include <sys/types.h>           /* See NOTES */
#include <sys/socket.h>
int getsockopt( int sockfd,
  int level,
  int optname,
  void *optval,
  socklen_t *optlen);
int setsockopt( int sockfd,
  int level,
  int optname,
  const void *optval,
  socklen_t optlen);


getsockopt() and setsockopt() manipulate options for the socket referred to by the file descriptor sockfd. 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 sockets API level, level is specified as SOL_SOCKET. To manipulate options at any other level the protocol number of the appropriate protocol 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 arguments optval and optlen 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(), optlen is a value-result argument, initially containing the size of the buffer pointed to by optval, and modified on return to indicate the actual size of the value returned. If no option value is to be supplied or returned, optval may be NULL.

Optname 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 argument for optval. For setsockopt(), the argument should be nonzero to enable a boolean option, or zero if the option is to be disabled.

For a description of the available socket options see socket(7) and the appropriate protocol man pages.


On success, zero is returned for the standard options. On error, −1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.

Netfilter allows the programmer to define custom socket options with associated handlers; for such options, the return value on success is the value returned by the handler.



The argument sockfd is not a valid file descriptor.


The address pointed to by optval is not in a valid part of the process address space. For getsockopt(), this error may also be returned if optlen is not in a valid part of the process address space.


optlen invalid in setsockopt(). In some cases this error can also occur for an invalid value in optval (e.g., for the IP_ADD_MEMBERSHIP option described in ip(7)).


The option is unknown at the level indicated.


The file descriptor sockfd does not refer to a socket.


POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, SVr4, 4.4BSD (these system calls first appeared in 4.2BSD).


POSIX.1 does not require the inclusion of <sys/types.h> and this header file is not required on Linux. However, some historical (BSD) implementations required this header file, and portable applications are probably wise to include it.

For background on the socklen_t type, see accept(2).


Several of the socket options should be handled at lower levels of the system.


ioctl(2), socket(2), getprotoent(3), protocols(5), ip(7), packet(7), socket(7), tcp(7), udp(7), unix(7)


This page is part of release 4.16 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at−pages/.

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    $Id: getsockopt.2,v 1.1 1999/05/24 14:57:04 freitag Exp $

Modified Sat Jul 24 16:19:32 1993 by Rik Faith (
Modified Mon Apr 22 02:29:06 1996 by Martin Schulze (
Modified Tue Aug 27 10:52:51 1996 by Andries Brouwer (
Modified Thu Jan 23 13:29:34 1997 by Andries Brouwer (
Modified Sun Mar 28 21:26:46 1999 by Andries Brouwer (
Modified 1999 by Andi Kleen <>.
    Removed most stuff because it is in socket.7 now.