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Python Sockets - SOCK_STREAM and SOCK_DGRAM

There are two type of sockets: SOCK_STREAM and SOCK_DGRAM. Below we have a comparison of both types of sockets.

For TCP protocolsFor UDP protocols
Reliable deliveryUnrelible delivery
Guaranteed correct ordering of packetsNo order guaranteed
Connection-orientedNo notion of connection(UDP)
BidirectionalNot Bidirectional

Socket Module in Python

To create a socket, we must use socket.socket() function available in the Python socket module, which has the general syntax as follows:

S = socket.socket(socket_family, socket_type, protocol=0)
  • socket_family: This is either AF_UNIX or AF_INET. We are only going to talk about INET sockets in this tutorial, as they account for at least 99% of the sockets in use.
  • socket_type: This is either SOCK_STREAM or SOCK_DGRAM.
  • Protocol: This is usually left out, defaulting to 0.

Now, if you remember we have discussed client-server socket program in the last tutorial as well. Now let's dig deeper into that program and try to understand the terms and methods used.

Client Socket Methods

Following are some client socket methods:

connect( )

To connect to a remote socket at an address. An address format(host, port) pair is used for AF_INET address family.

Server Socket Methods

Following are some server socket methods:

bind( )

This method binds the socket to an address. The format of address depends on socket family mentioned above(AF_INET).


This method listens for the connection made to the socket. The backlog is the maximum number of queued connections that must be listened before rejecting the connection.

accept( )

This method is used to accept a connection. The socket must be bound to an address and listening for connections. The return value is a pair(conn, address) where conn is a new socket object which can be used to send and receive data on that connection, and address is the address bound to the socket on the other end of the connection.

For detailed view of methods refer documentation:

Few General Socket Methods

For the below defined socket object,

s = socket.socket(socket_family, socket_type, protocol=0)
TCP Socket MethodsUDP Socket Methods
s.recv()→ Receives TCP messagess.recvfrom()→ Receives UDP messages
s.send()→ Transmits TCP messagess.sendto()→ Transmits UDP messages

Some Basic Socket Methods

  • close() This method is used to close the socket connection.
  • gethostname() This method returns a string containing the hostname of the machine where the python interpreter is currently executing. For example: localhost.
  • gethostbyname() If you want to know the current machine's IP address, you may use gethostbyname(gethostname()).