Is there a command similar to mkfifo but for domain sockets?


There is no exact equivalent of mkfifo for socket, i.e. there is no command that just creates a "hanging" socket. This is for historical reason: server's function bind(), the one that creates a socket name/inode in the filesystem, fails if the name is already used. In other words, server cannot operate on a pre-existing socket.

So if you'd created socket earlier, it would need to be removed by the server anyway first. No benefit. As you see with Gregory's answer, you can create a socket IF you keep a server for it, such as netcat. Once a server is gone, the old socket is gone. A new server has a new socket, and all clients need to re-connect, despite the socket's name being identical.


Most recent netcat (nc) and similar programs (socat as far as I know) have domain socket options.
Else, you can have a look at ucspi-unix

  • 1
    +1 for nc on BSD. – Clint Pachl Aug 16 '14 at 8:21
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    On Debian: # sudo apt-get install netcat-openbsd – Dr. Koutheir Attouchi Apr 24 '17 at 16:43
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    ok once you install that, how do you create a "socket file" – Alexander Mills May 20 '18 at 4:30

You can use python:

python -c "import socket as s; sock = s.socket(s.AF_UNIX); sock.bind('/tmp/test.sock')"

Also C, see this answer.

  • mksock() { SOCK="$1" python -c "import os, socket as s; s.socket(s.AF_UNIX).bind(os.environ['SOCK'])"; } for easy shell use: mksock /tmp/test.sock – Tino Jul 21 '19 at 12:39

I simply use netcat and stay listening in such a case:

nc -lkU aSocket.sock

you should use netcat-openbsd. netcat-traditional does not have -U switch which is for Unix Domain socket.

  • 1
    -k Forces nc to stay listening for another connection after its current connection is completed. It is an error to use this option without the -l option. -U Specifies to use UNIX-domain sockets. – Johan Boulé Aug 29 '19 at 15:01

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