I know that there are named sockets & named pipes (fifo) in Linux.

In ls -l, they would look as below: (I have changed the filenames, for demonstration.)

prw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Nov  8 16:31 /tmp/fifo
srwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Nov  8 15:54 /tmp/socket

Now, a named pipe can be created using mkfifo. Is there a command for creating a named socket?

Last option would be to write a C program, which would call mknod function, but wanted to know, if there is already a command for that.

What I have tried:
I tried to search for any options to mknod & mkfifo, but could not find one.

NOTE: I am not discussing about server-client model over Ethernet/network. The named socket file will be used by 2 processes on the same system.

  • 2
    Just a note: I have 2 processes - qemu & virsh, which can talk to each other using named socket (as per my understanding based on the documentation) But I don't know how to create a named socket. While there ARE other options to use virsh with qemu, I was looking for an option, wherein I can attach virsh to an existing qemu process & it needs a named socket, while starting the qemu process. Named fifo don't work. Plus, I think, it will be an interesting to know how to create named socket, in case it is required later.
    – anishsane
    Nov 8, 2012 at 12:30

3 Answers 3


A Unix/Linux socket file is basically a two-way FIFO.  Since sockets were originally created as a way to manage network communications, it is possible to manipulate them using the send() and recv() system calls.  However, in the Unix spirit of “everything is a file”, you can also use write() and read().  You need to use socketpair() or socket() to create named sockets.  A tutorial for using sockets in C can be found here: Beej's Guide to Unix IPC: Unix Sockets.

The socat command line utility is useful when you want to play around with sockets without writing a "real" program.  It is similar to netcat and acts as an adapter between different networking and file interfaces.


  • 1
    socketpair() or socket() creates an un-named socket, which will be useful only from within the C program.
    – anishsane
    Nov 8, 2012 at 12:36
  • It would be interesting to check, if it is possible to create a named socket using socat. Probably, create an un-named socket, bind it to localhost:some_port & then use socat with that port?
    – anishsane
    Nov 8, 2012 at 12:37
  • 3
    It is possible to create named sockets using socat with the UNIX-LISTEN command, see man socat or this HTML manual Nov 8, 2012 at 13:38
  • 1
    I tried this quick & dirty command and it created a socket file f1: socat UNIX-LISTEN:f1 LISTEN:f2.
    – Totor
    Feb 1, 2014 at 17:47
  • 1
    It's buried in the details of the socat website, but in case it's helpful, there's a syntax for treating two unidirectional named pipes (fifo's) as a single bidirectional unit that can be bridged to other bidirectional entities like Unix or TCP sockets. You join the named pipes with !! (socat 1.x) or % (socat 2.x), with the writing named pipe on the left and the reading named pipe on the right. e.g. socat 'PIPE:/tmp/outstream!!PIPE:/tmp/instream' UNIX-CONNECT:/tmp/mysocket
    – Ivan X
    Mar 31, 2015 at 10:56

Create a socket quickly in python:

~]# python -c "import socket as s; sock = s.socket(s.AF_UNIX); sock.bind('/tmp/somesocket')"
~]# ll /tmp/somesocket 
srwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 0 Mar  3 19:30 /tmp/somesocket

Or with a tiny C program, e.g., save the following to create-a-socket.c:

#include <fcntl.h>
#include <sys/un.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <sys/stat.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv)
    // The following line expects the socket path to be first argument
    char * mysocketpath = argv[1];
    // Alternatively, you could comment that and set it statically:
    //char * mysocketpath = "/tmp/mysock";
    struct sockaddr_un namesock;
    int fd;
    namesock.sun_family = AF_UNIX;
    strncpy(namesock.sun_path, (char *)mysocketpath, sizeof(namesock.sun_path));
    fd = socket(AF_UNIX, SOCK_DGRAM, 0);
    bind(fd, (struct sockaddr *) &namesock, sizeof(struct sockaddr_un));
    return 0;

Then install gcc, compile it, and ta-da:

~]# gcc -o create-a-socket create-a-socket.c
~]# ./create-a-socket mysock
~]# ll mysock
srwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 0 Mar  3 17:45 mysock

There is no commmand line tool to create sockets since a socket is always connect to a server which handles the requests sent to that socket.

So you will have to write a server and let that create the socket. Here is a tutorial.

  • That would still be an un-named socket. I want to create a socket, which would be used by 2 other processes, as bidirectional fifo.
    – anishsane
    Nov 8, 2012 at 12:56
  • Check the link in my answer. It shows how to configure bind() to connect to "/home/beej/mysocket" Nov 8, 2012 at 14:25

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