For testing purposes I need to create a shell script that connects with a remote IP>Port and sends a simple text TCPIP Socket message.

4 Answers 4


Using nc (netcat).


$ nc -l localhost 3000


$ nc localhost 3000

Both server and client will read and write to standard output/input.

This will work when both server and client is on the same machine. Otherwise change localhost to the external name of the server.

Slightly more interesting, a "server" that gives you the time of day if you connect to it and send it a d, and which quits if you send q:

Server (in bash):


coproc nc -l localhost 3000

while read -r cmd; do
  case $cmd in
    d) date ;;
    q) break ;;
    *) echo 'What?'
done <&"${COPROC[0]}" >&"${COPROC[1]}"

kill "$COPROC_PID"

Client session:

$ nc localhost 3000
Thu Jan 12 18:04:21 CET 2017

(the server exits after q, but the client doesn't detect that it's gone until you press Enter).

  • 2
    If the server returns a result when client finishes sending data, the ctrl+c won't show the result. If using echo, e.g. echo "cookie" | nc localhost 9090, the client's output stream will be closed (eof sent) but the client will still wait for the server's result. Jul 17, 2018 at 10:38

In general advice with netcat is better way.

But in bash and ksh you can also do this:

exec 3<>/dev/tcp/hostname/port
echo "request" 1>&3
response="$(cat <&3)"
  • what is 1>&3 ? I am not sure what that represents Apr 20, 2018 at 21:54
  • in other words, why not just echo "request" >&3, I guess the 1 is just redundant Apr 20, 2018 at 21:55
  • 1
    This might be better with an example.
    – Ken Sharp
    Mar 3, 2020 at 0:07

try netcat (e.g. nc )

echo GET / HTTP/1.0 | nc 0 80
HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 13:44:23 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
Content-Length: 311
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
  • in sample above I send a GET (echo GET / HTTP/1.0 ) to my local http server
  • If you don't want complex protocol, this might do the job.

In many cases I have not had access to netcat/socat. I have also had issues with using bash's exec in a distributed computing environment.

Due to its prevalence, an alternative solution is to use GNU AWK's TCP/IP capabilities. It provides a simple syntax based around it's "two-way pipe" operator.

Here is a modified example from this source that will send a TCP message over a socket:

 NetService = "/inet/tcp/0/cs.wisc.edu/finger"
 print "coke" |& NetService

The full syntax for the address is: /net-type/protocol/local-port/remote-host/remote-port. When local-port is set to 0 the local host chooses the port automatically which is typically what you want. You can read more about gawk's TCP/IP networking capabilities in the supplied link.

It's worth noting that this can be shortened if you're only going to be sending one message per awk execution:

BEGIN {print "coke" |& "/inet/tcp/0/cs.wisc.edu/finger"}

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