Simple and lightweight OOP wrapper for PHP's low-level sockets extension (ext-sockets).

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v1.6.0 2022-04-14 14:58 UTC

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Last update: 2024-03-29 02:27:44 UTC


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Simple and lightweight OOP wrapper for PHP's low-level sockets extension (ext-sockets).

PHP offers two networking APIs, the newer streams API and the older socket API. While the former has been a huge step forward in generalizing various streaming resources, it lacks some of the advanced features of the original and much more low-level socket API. This lightweight library exposes this socket API in a modern way by providing a thin wrapper around the underlying API.

  • Full socket API - It exposes the whole socket API through a sane object-oriented interface. Provides convenience methods for common operations as well as exposing all underlying methods and options.
  • Fluent interface - Uses a fluent interface so you can easily chain method calls. Error conditions will be signalled using Exceptions instead of relying on cumbersome return codes.
  • Lightweight, SOLID design - Provides a thin abstraction that is just good enough and does not get in your way. This library is merely a very thin wrapper and has no other external dependencies.
  • Good test coverage - Comes with an automated test suite and is regularly tested in the real world.

Table of contents

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Quickstart example

Once installed, you can use the following example to send and receive HTTP messages:

$factory = new \Socket\Raw\Factory();

$socket = $factory->createClient('');
echo 'Connected to ' . $socket->getPeerName() . PHP_EOL;

// send simple HTTP request to remote side
$socket->write("GET / HTTP/1.1\r\n\Host:\r\n\r\n");

// receive and dump HTTP response


See also the examples.



As shown in the quickstart example, this library uses a Factory pattern as a simple API to socket_create(). It provides simple access to creating TCP, UDP, UNIX, UDG and ICMP protocol sockets and supports both IPv4 and IPv6 addressing.

$factory = new \Socket\Raw\Factory();


The createClient(string $address, null|float $timeout): Socket method is the most convenient method for creating connected client sockets (similar to how fsockopen() or stream_socket_client() work).

// establish a TCP/IP stream connection socket to on port 80
$socket = $factory->createClient('tcp://');

// same as above, as scheme defaults to TCP
$socket = $factory->createClient('');

// same as above, but wait no longer than 2.5s for connection
$socket = $factory->createClient('', 2.5);

// create connectionless UDP/IP datagram socket connected to google's DNS
$socket = $factory->createClient('udp://');

// establish TCP/IPv6 stream connection socket to localhost on port 1337
$socket = $factory->createClient('tcp://[::1]:1337');

// connect to local Unix stream socket path
$socket = $factory->createClient('unix:///tmp/daemon.sock');

// create Unix datagram socket
$socket = $factory->createClient('udg:///tmp/udg.socket');

// create a raw low-level ICMP socket (requires root!)
$socket = $factory->createClient('icmp://');


The createServer($address) method can be used to create a server side (listening) socket bound to specific address/path (similar to how stream_socket_server() works). It accepts the same addressing scheme as the createClient() method.

// create a TCP/IP stream connection socket server on port 1337
$socket = $factory->createServer('tcp://localhost:1337');

// create a UDP/IPv6 datagram socket server on port 1337
$socket = $factory->createServer('udp://[::1]:1337');


Less commonly used, the Factory provides access to creating (unconnected) sockets for various socket types:

$socket = $factory->createTcp4();
$socket = $factory->createTcp6();

$socket = $factory->createUdp4();
$socket = $factory->createUdp6();

$socket = $factory->createUnix();
$socket = $factory->createUdg();

$socket = $factory->createIcmp4();
$socket = $factory->createIcmp6();

You can also create arbitrary socket protocol types through the underlying mechanism:

$factory->create($family, $type, $protocol);


As discussed above, the Socket class is merely an object-oriented wrapper around a socket resource. As such, it helps if you're familar with socket programming in general.

The recommended way to create a Socket instance is via the above Factory.


All low-level socket operations are available as methods on the Socket class.

You can refer to PHP's fairly good socket API documentation or the docblock comments in the Socket class to get you started.

Data I/O:
$data = $socket->read(8192);
Unconnected I/O:
$socket->sendTo('data', $flags, $remote);
$data = $socket->rcvFrom(8192, $flags, $remote);
Non-blocking (async) I/O:
Connection handling:
$client = $socket->accept();


The recommended way to install this library is through Composer. New to Composer?

This project follows SemVer. This will install the latest supported version:

$ composer require clue/socket-raw:^1.6

See also the CHANGELOG for details about version upgrades.

This project aims to run on any platform and thus does not require any PHP extensions besides ext-sockets and supports running on legacy PHP 5.3 through current PHP 8+. It's highly recommended to use the latest supported PHP version for this project.


To run the test suite, you first need to clone this repo and then install all dependencies through Composer:

$ composer install

To run the test suite, go to the project root and run:

$ vendor/bin/phpunit

Note that the test suite contains tests for ICMP sockets which require root access on Unix/Linux systems. Therefor some tests will be skipped unless you run the following command to execute the full test suite:

$ sudo vendor/bin/phpunit

The test suite also contains a number of functional integration tests that rely on a stable internet connection. If you do not want to run these, they can simply be skipped like this:

$ vendor/bin/phpunit --exclude-group internet


This project is released under the permissive MIT license.

Did you know that I offer custom development services and issuing invoices for sponsorships of releases and for contributions? Contact me (@clue) for details.