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INET_NTOP(3) Library Functions Manual INET_NTOP(3)


inet_ntop, inet_ptonconvert Internet addresses between presentation and network formats


#include <arpa/inet.h>
const char *
inet_ntop(int af, const void * restrict src, char * restrict dst, socklen_t size);
inet_pton(int af, const char * restrict src, void * restrict dst);


The inet_pton() function converts a presentation format address (that is, printable form as held in a character string) to network format (usually a struct in_addr or some other internal binary representation, in network byte order). It returns 1 if the address was valid for the specified address family; 0 if the address wasn't parseable in the specified address family; or -1 if some system error occurred (in which case errno will have been set). This function is presently valid for AF_INET and AF_INET6.
The function inet_ntop() converts an address from network format to presentation format. It returns NULL if a system error occurs (in which case, errno will have been set), or it returns a pointer to the destination string.
All Internet addresses are returned in network order (bytes ordered from left to right).


Values must be specified using the standard dot notation:
All four parts must be decimal numbers between 0 and 255, inclusive, and are assigned, from left to right, to the four bytes of an Internet address. Note that when an Internet address is viewed as a 32-bit integer quantity on a system that uses little-endian byte order (such as AMD64 or ARM processors) the bytes referred to above appear as “d.c.b.a”. That is, little-endian bytes are ordered from right to left.


In order to support scoped IPv6 addresses, getaddrinfo(3) and getnameinfo(3) are recommended rather than the functions presented here.
The presentation format of an IPv6 address is given in RFC 4291:
There are three conventional forms for representing IPv6 addresses as text strings:
  1. The preferred form is x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x, where the 'x's are the hexadecimal values of the eight 16-bit pieces of the address. Examples:
    Note that it is not necessary to write the leading zeros in an individual field, but there must be at least one numeral in every field (except for the case described in 2.).
  2. Due to the method of allocating certain styles of IPv6 addresses, it will be common for addresses to contain long strings of zero bits. In order to make writing addresses containing zero bits easier, a special syntax is available to compress the zeros. The use of “::” indicates multiple groups of 16 bits of zeros. The “::” can only appear once in an address. The “::” can also be used to compress the leading and/or trailing zeros in an address.
    For example the following addresses:
    1080:0:0:0:8:800:200C:417A  a unicast address 
    FF01:0:0:0:0:0:0:43         a multicast address 
    0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1             the loopback address 
    0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0             the unspecified addresses
    may be represented as:
    1080::8:800:200C:417A       a unicast address 
    FF01::43                    a multicast address 
    ::1                         the loopback address 
    ::                          the unspecified addresses
  3. An alternative form that is sometimes more convenient when dealing with a mixed environment of IPv4 and IPv6 nodes is x:x:x:x:x:x:d.d.d.d, where the 'x's are the hexadecimal values of the six high-order 16-bit pieces of the address, and the 'd's are the decimal values of the four low-order 8-bit pieces of the address (standard IPv4 representation). Examples:
    or in compressed form:


gethostbyname(3), inet_addr(3), inet_net(3), hosts(5)


The inet_ntop and inet_pton functions conform to the IETF IPv6 BSD API and address formatting specifications, as well as IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”).


The inet_pton and inet_ntop functions appeared in BIND 4.9.4.


Note that inet_pton does not accept 1-, 2-, or 3-part dotted addresses; all four parts must be specified and must be in decimal (and not octal or hexadecimal). This is a narrower input set than that accepted by inet_aton.
R. Gilligan, S. Thomson, J. Bound, J. McCann, and W. Stevens, Basic Socket Interface Extensions for IPv6, RFC 3493, February 2003.
R. Hinden and S. Deering, IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture, RFC 4291, February 2006.
July 8, 2017 OpenBSD-current