BIO(7ssl) OpenSSL BIO(7ssl)

bio - Basic I/O abstraction

#include <openssl/bio.h>

A BIO is an I/O abstraction, it hides many of the underlying I/O details from an application. If an application uses a BIO for its I/O it can transparently handle SSL connections, unencrypted network connections and file I/O.

There are two types of BIO, a source/sink BIO and a filter BIO.

As its name implies a source/sink BIO is a source and/or sink of data, examples include a socket BIO and a file BIO.

A filter BIO takes data from one BIO and passes it through to another, or the application. The data may be left unmodified (for example a message digest BIO) or translated (for example an encryption BIO). The effect of a filter BIO may change according to the I/O operation it is performing: for example an encryption BIO will encrypt data if it is being written to and decrypt data if it is being read from.

BIOs can be joined together to form a chain (a single BIO is a chain with one component). A chain normally consists of one source/sink BIO and one or more filter BIOs. Data read from or written to the first BIO then traverses the chain to the end (normally a source/sink BIO).

Some BIOs (such as memory BIOs) can be used immediately after calling BIO_new(). Others (such as file BIOs) need some additional initialization, and frequently a utility function exists to create and initialize such BIOs.

If BIO_free() is called on a BIO chain it will only free one BIO resulting in a memory leak.

Calling BIO_free_all() on a single BIO has the same effect as calling BIO_free() on it other than the discarded return value.

Normally the type argument is supplied by a function which returns a pointer to a BIO_METHOD. There is a naming convention for such functions: a source/sink BIO typically starts with BIO_s_ and a filter BIO with BIO_f_.

TCP Fast Open (RFC7413), abbreviated "TFO", is supported by the BIO interface since OpenSSL 3.2. TFO is supported in the following operating systems:

  • Linux kernel 3.13 and later, where TFO is enabled by default.
  • Linux kernel 4.11 and later, using TCP_FASTOPEN_CONNECT.
  • FreeBSD 10.3 to 11.4, supports server TFO only.
  • FreeBSD 12.0 and later, supports both client and server TFO.
  • macOS 10.14 and later.

Each operating system has a slightly different API for TFO. Please refer to the operating systems' API documentation when using sockets directly.

Create a memory BIO:

BIO *mem = BIO_new(BIO_s_mem());

BIO_ctrl(3), BIO_f_base64(3), BIO_f_buffer(3), BIO_f_cipher(3), BIO_f_md(3), BIO_f_null(3), BIO_f_ssl(3), BIO_f_readbuffer(3), BIO_find_type(3), BIO_get_conn_mode(3), BIO_new(3), BIO_new_bio_pair(3), BIO_push(3), BIO_read_ex(3), BIO_s_accept(3), BIO_s_bio(3), BIO_s_connect(3), BIO_s_fd(3), BIO_s_file(3), BIO_s_mem(3), BIO_s_null(3), BIO_s_socket(3), BIO_set_callback(3), BIO_set_conn_mode(3), BIO_set_tfo(3), BIO_set_tfo_accept(3), BIO_should_retry(3)

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Licensed under the Apache License 2.0 (the "License"). You may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You can obtain a copy in the file LICENSE in the source distribution or at

2024-06-04 3.3.1