I/O in Trio

The abstract Stream API

Trio provides a set of abstract base classes that define a standard interface for unidirectional and bidirectional byte streams.

Why is this useful? Because it lets you write generic protocol implementations that can work over arbitrary transports, and easily create complex transport configurations. Here’s some examples:

  • trio.SocketStream wraps a raw socket (like a TCP connection over the network), and converts it to the standard stream interface.

  • trio.SSLStream is a “stream adapter” that can take any object that implements the trio.abc.Stream interface, and convert it into an encrypted stream. In Trio the standard way to speak SSL over the network is to wrap an SSLStream around a SocketStream.

  • If you spawn a Spawning subprocesses, you can get a SendStream that lets you write to its stdin, and a ReceiveStream that lets you read from its stdout. If for some reason you wanted to speak SSL to a subprocess, you could use a StapledStream to combine its stdin/stdout into a single bidirectional Stream, and then wrap that in an SSLStream:

    ssl_context = ssl.create_default_context()
    ssl_context.check_hostname = False
    s = SSLStream(StapledStream(process.stdin, process.stdout), ssl_context)
  • It sometimes happens that you want to connect to an HTTPS server, but you have to go through a web proxy… and the proxy also uses HTTPS. So you end up having to do SSL-on-top-of-SSL. In Trio this is trivial – just wrap your first SSLStream in a second SSLStream:

    # Get a raw SocketStream connection to the proxy:
    s0 = await open_tcp_stream("proxy", 443)
    # Set up SSL connection to proxy:
    s1 = SSLStream(s0, proxy_ssl_context, server_hostname="proxy")
    # Request a connection to the website
    await s1.send_all(b"CONNECT website:443 / HTTP/1.0\r\n\r\n")
    await check_CONNECT_response(s1)
    # Set up SSL connection to the real website. Notice that s1 is
    # already an SSLStream object, and here we're wrapping a second
    # SSLStream object around it.
    s2 = SSLStream(s1, website_ssl_context, server_hostname="website")
    # Make our request
    await s2.send_all(b"GET /index.html HTTP/1.0\r\n\r\n")
  • The trio.testing module provides a set of flexible in-memory stream object implementations, so if you have a protocol implementation to test then you can can start two tasks, set up a virtual “socket” connecting them, and then do things like inject random-but-repeatable delays into the connection.

Abstract base classes

Overview: abstract base classes for I/O

Abstract base class

Inherits from…

Adds these abstract methods…

And these concrete methods.

Example implementations



__aenter__, __aexit__

Asynchronous file objects



send_all(), wait_send_all_might_not_block()





__aiter__, __anext__



SendStream, ReceiveStream





SocketStream, StapledStream




SocketListener, SSLListener








__aiter__, __anext__



SendChannel, ReceiveChannel

class trio.abc.AsyncResource

A standard interface for resources that needs to be cleaned up, and where that cleanup may require blocking operations.

This class distinguishes between “graceful” closes, which may perform I/O and thus block, and a “forceful” close, which cannot. For example, cleanly shutting down a TLS-encrypted connection requires sending a “goodbye” message; but if a peer has become non-responsive, then sending this message might block forever, so we may want to just drop the connection instead. Therefore the aclose() method is unusual in that it should always close the connection (or at least make its best attempt) even if it fails; failure indicates a failure to achieve grace, not a failure to close the connection.

Objects that implement this interface can be used as async context managers, i.e., you can write:

async with create_resource() as some_async_resource:

Entering the context manager is synchronous (not a checkpoint); exiting it calls aclose(). The default implementations of __aenter__ and __aexit__ should be adequate for all subclasses.

abstractmethod await aclose()

Close this resource, possibly blocking.

IMPORTANT: This method may block in order to perform a “graceful” shutdown. But, if this fails, then it still must close any underlying resources before returning. An error from this method indicates a failure to achieve grace, not a failure to close the connection.

For example, suppose we call aclose() on a TLS-encrypted connection. This requires sending a “goodbye” message; but if the peer has become non-responsive, then our attempt to send this message might block forever, and eventually time out and be cancelled. In this case the aclose() method on SSLStream will immediately close the underlying transport stream using trio.aclose_forcefully() before raising Cancelled.

If the resource is already closed, then this method should silently succeed.

Once this method completes, any other pending or future operations on this resource should generally raise ClosedResourceError, unless there’s a good reason to do otherwise.

See also: trio.aclose_forcefully().

await trio.aclose_forcefully(resource)

Close an async resource or async generator immediately, without blocking to do any graceful cleanup.

AsyncResource objects guarantee that if their aclose() method is cancelled, then they will still close the resource (albeit in a potentially ungraceful fashion). aclose_forcefully() is a convenience function that exploits this behavior to let you force a resource to be closed without blocking: it works by calling await resource.aclose() and then cancelling it immediately.

Most users won’t need this, but it may be useful on cleanup paths where you can’t afford to block, or if you want to close a resource and don’t care about handling it gracefully. For example, if SSLStream encounters an error and cannot perform its own graceful close, then there’s no point in waiting to gracefully shut down the underlying transport either, so it calls await aclose_forcefully(self.transport_stream).

Note that this function is async, and that it acts as a checkpoint, but unlike most async functions it cannot block indefinitely (at least, assuming the underlying resource object is correctly implemented).

class trio.abc.SendStream

Bases: trio.abc.AsyncResource

A standard interface for sending data on a byte stream.

The underlying stream may be unidirectional, or bidirectional. If it’s bidirectional, then you probably want to also implement ReceiveStream, which makes your object a Stream.

SendStream objects also implement the AsyncResource interface, so they can be closed by calling aclose() or using an async with block.

If you want to send Python objects rather than raw bytes, see SendChannel.

abstractmethod await send_all(data)

Sends the given data through the stream, blocking if necessary.


data (bytes, bytearray, or memoryview) – The data to send.


Most low-level operations in Trio provide a guarantee: if they raise trio.Cancelled, this means that they had no effect, so the system remains in a known state. This is not true for send_all(). If this operation raises trio.Cancelled (or any other exception for that matter), then it may have sent some, all, or none of the requested data, and there is no way to know which.

abstractmethod await wait_send_all_might_not_block()

Block until it’s possible that send_all() might not block.

This method may return early: it’s possible that after it returns, send_all() will still block. (In the worst case, if no better implementation is available, then it might always return immediately without blocking. It’s nice to do better than that when possible, though.)

This method must not return late: if it’s possible for send_all() to complete without blocking, then it must return. When implementing it, err on the side of returning early.



This method is intended to aid in implementing protocols that want to delay choosing which data to send until the last moment. E.g., suppose you’re working on an implemention of a remote display server like VNC, and the network connection is currently backed up so that if you call send_all() now then it will sit for 0.5 seconds before actually sending anything. In this case it doesn’t make sense to take a screenshot, then wait 0.5 seconds, and then send it, because the screen will keep changing while you wait; it’s better to wait 0.5 seconds, then take the screenshot, and then send it, because this way the data you deliver will be more up-to-date. Using wait_send_all_might_not_block() makes it possible to implement the better strategy.

If you use this method, you might also want to read up on TCP_NOTSENT_LOWAT.

Further reading:

class trio.abc.ReceiveStream

Bases: trio.abc.AsyncResource

A standard interface for receiving data on a byte stream.

The underlying stream may be unidirectional, or bidirectional. If it’s bidirectional, then you probably want to also implement SendStream, which makes your object a Stream.

ReceiveStream objects also implement the AsyncResource interface, so they can be closed by calling aclose() or using an async with block.

If you want to receive Python objects rather than raw bytes, see ReceiveChannel.

ReceiveStream objects can be used in async for loops. Each iteration will produce an arbitrary sized chunk of bytes, like calling receive_some with no arguments. Every chunk will contain at least one byte, and the loop automatically exits when reaching end-of-file.

abstractmethod await receive_some(max_bytes=None)

Wait until there is data available on this stream, and then return some of it.

A return value of b"" (an empty bytestring) indicates that the stream has reached end-of-file. Implementations should be careful that they return b"" if, and only if, the stream has reached end-of-file!


max_bytes (int) – The maximum number of bytes to return. Must be greater than zero. Optional; if omitted, then the stream object is free to pick a reasonable default.


The data received.

Return type

bytes or bytearray


class trio.abc.Stream

Bases: trio.abc.SendStream, trio.abc.ReceiveStream

A standard interface for interacting with bidirectional byte streams.

A Stream is an object that implements both the SendStream and ReceiveStream interfaces.

If implementing this interface, you should consider whether you can go one step further and implement HalfCloseableStream.

class trio.abc.HalfCloseableStream

Bases: trio.abc.Stream

This interface extends Stream to also allow closing the send part of the stream without closing the receive part.

abstractmethod await send_eof()

Send an end-of-file indication on this stream, if possible.

The difference between send_eof() and aclose() is that send_eof() is a unidirectional end-of-file indication. After you call this method, you shouldn’t try sending any more data on this stream, and your remote peer should receive an end-of-file indication (eventually, after receiving all the data you sent before that). But, they may continue to send data to you, and you can continue to receive it by calling receive_some(). You can think of it as calling aclose() on just the SendStream “half” of the stream object (and in fact that’s literally how trio.StapledStream implements it).


  • On a socket, this corresponds to shutdown(..., SHUT_WR) (man page).

  • The SSH protocol provides the ability to multiplex bidirectional “channels” on top of a single encrypted connection. A Trio implementation of SSH could expose these channels as HalfCloseableStream objects, and calling send_eof() would send an SSH_MSG_CHANNEL_EOF request (see RFC 4254 §5.3).

  • On an SSL/TLS-encrypted connection, the protocol doesn’t provide any way to do a unidirectional shutdown without closing the connection entirely, so SSLStream implements Stream, not HalfCloseableStream.

If an EOF has already been sent, then this method should silently succeed.


class trio.abc.Listener

Bases: trio.abc.AsyncResource, typing.Generic

A standard interface for listening for incoming connections.

Listener objects also implement the AsyncResource interface, so they can be closed by calling aclose() or using an async with block.

abstractmethod await accept()

Wait until an incoming connection arrives, and then return it.


An object representing the incoming connection. In practice this is generally some kind of Stream, but in principle you could also define a Listener that returned, say, channel objects.

Return type



Listeners don’t generally raise BrokenResourceError, because for listeners there is no general condition of “the network/remote peer broke the connection” that can be handled in a generic way, like there is for streams. Other errors can occur and be raised from accept() – for example, if you run out of file descriptors then you might get an OSError with its errno set to EMFILE.

class trio.abc.SendChannel

Bases: trio.abc.AsyncResource, typing.Generic

A standard interface for sending Python objects to some receiver.

SendChannel objects also implement the AsyncResource interface, so they can be closed by calling aclose or using an async with block.

If you want to send raw bytes rather than Python objects, see ReceiveStream.

abstractmethod await send(value: SendType) → None

Attempt to send an object through the channel, blocking if necessary.


value (object) – The object to send.


class trio.abc.ReceiveChannel

Bases: trio.abc.AsyncResource, typing.Generic

A standard interface for receiving Python objects from some sender.

You can iterate over a ReceiveChannel using an async for loop:

async for value in receive_channel:

This is equivalent to calling receive() repeatedly. The loop exits without error when receive raises EndOfChannel.

ReceiveChannel objects also implement the AsyncResource interface, so they can be closed by calling aclose or using an async with block.

If you want to receive raw bytes rather than Python objects, see ReceiveStream.

abstractmethod await receive() → ReceiveType

Attempt to receive an incoming object, blocking if necessary.


Whatever object was received.

Return type



class trio.abc.Channel

Bases: trio.abc.SendChannel, trio.abc.ReceiveChannel

A standard interface for interacting with bidirectional channels.

A Channel is an object that implements both the SendChannel and ReceiveChannel interfaces, so you can both send and receive objects.

Generic stream tools

Trio currently provides a generic helper for writing servers that listen for connections using one or more Listeners, and a generic utility class for working with streams. And if you want to test code that’s written against the streams interface, you should also check out Streams in trio.testing.

await trio.serve_listeners(handler, listeners, *, handler_nursery=None, task_status=TASK_STATUS_IGNORED)

Listen for incoming connections on listeners, and for each one start a task running handler(stream).


If handler raises an exception, then this function doesn’t do anything special to catch it – so by default the exception will propagate out and crash your server. If you don’t want this, then catch exceptions inside your handler, or use a handler_nursery object that responds to exceptions in some other way.


  • handler – An async callable, that will be invoked like handler_nursery.start_soon(handler, stream) for each incoming connection.

  • listeners – A list of Listener objects. serve_listeners() takes responsibility for closing them.

  • handler_nursery – The nursery used to start handlers, or any object with a start_soon method. If None (the default), then serve_listeners() will create a new nursery internally and use that.

  • task_status – This function can be used with nursery.start, which will return listeners.


This function never returns unless cancelled.

Resource handling:

If handler neglects to close the stream, then it will be closed using trio.aclose_forcefully().

Error handling:

Most errors coming from accept() are allowed to propagate out (crashing the server in the process). However, some errors – those which indicate that the server is temporarily overloaded – are handled specially. These are OSErrors with one of the following errnos:

  • EMFILE: process is out of file descriptors

  • ENFILE: system is out of file descriptors

  • ENOBUFS, ENOMEM: the kernel hit some sort of memory limitation when trying to create a socket object

When serve_listeners() gets one of these errors, then it:

  • Logs the error to the standard library logger trio.serve_listeners (level = ERROR, with exception information included). By default this causes it to be printed to stderr.

  • Waits 100 ms before calling accept again, in hopes that the system will recover.

class trio.StapledStream(send_stream, receive_stream)

Bases: trio.abc.HalfCloseableStream

This class staples together two unidirectional streams to make single bidirectional stream.


  • send_stream (SendStream) – The stream to use for sending.

  • receive_stream (ReceiveStream) – The stream to use for receiving.


A silly way to make a stream that echoes back whatever you write to it:

left, right = trio.testing.memory_stream_pair()
echo_stream = StapledStream(SocketStream(left), SocketStream(right))
await echo_stream.send_all(b"x")
assert await echo_stream.receive_some() == b"x"

StapledStream objects implement the methods in the HalfCloseableStream interface. They also have two additional public attributes:


The underlying SendStream. send_all() and wait_send_all_might_not_block() are delegated to this object.


The underlying ReceiveStream. receive_some() is delegated to this object.

await aclose()

Calls aclose on both underlying streams.

await receive_some(max_bytes=None)

Calls self.receive_stream.receive_some.

await send_all(data)

Calls self.send_stream.send_all.

await send_eof()

Shuts down the send side of the stream.

If self.send_stream.send_eof exists, then calls it. Otherwise, calls self.send_stream.aclose().

await wait_send_all_might_not_block()

Calls self.send_stream.wait_send_all_might_not_block.

Sockets and networking

The high-level network interface is built on top of our stream abstraction.

await trio.open_tcp_stream(host, port, *, happy_eyeballs_delay=0.25)

Connect to the given host and port over TCP.

If the given host has multiple IP addresses associated with it, then we have a problem: which one do we use?

One approach would be to attempt to connect to the first one, and then if that fails, attempt to connect to the second one … until we’ve tried all of them. But the problem with this is that if the first IP address is unreachable (for example, because it’s an IPv6 address and our network discards IPv6 packets), then we might end up waiting tens of seconds for the first connection attempt to timeout before we try the second address.

Another approach would be to attempt to connect to all of the addresses at the same time, in parallel, and then use whichever connection succeeds first, abandoning the others. This would be fast, but create a lot of unnecessary load on the network and the remote server.

This function strikes a balance between these two extremes: it works its way through the available addresses one at a time, like the first approach; but, if happy_eyeballs_delay seconds have passed and it’s still waiting for an attempt to succeed or fail, then it gets impatient and starts the next connection attempt in parallel. As soon as any one connection attempt succeeds, all the other attempts are cancelled. This avoids unnecessary load because most connections will succeed after just one or two attempts, but if one of the addresses is unreachable then it doesn’t slow us down too much.

This is known as a “happy eyeballs” algorithm, and our particular variant is modelled after how Chrome connects to webservers; see RFC 6555 for more details.


  • host (str or bytes) – The host to connect to. Can be an IPv4 address, IPv6 address, or a hostname.

  • port (int) – The port to connect to.

  • happy_eyeballs_delay (float) – How many seconds to wait for each connection attempt to succeed or fail before getting impatient and starting another one in parallel. Set to math.inf if you want to limit to only one connection attempt at a time (like socket.create_connection()). Default: 0.3 (300 ms).


a Stream connected to the given server.

Return type



OSError – if the connection fails.

See also


await trio.serve_tcp(handler, port, *, host=None, backlog=None, handler_nursery=None, task_status=TASK_STATUS_IGNORED)

Listen for incoming TCP connections, and for each one start a task running handler(stream).

This is a thin convenience wrapper around open_tcp_listeners() and serve_listeners() – see them for full details.


If handler raises an exception, then this function doesn’t do anything special to catch it – so by default the exception will propagate out and crash your server. If you don’t want this, then catch exceptions inside your handler, or use a handler_nursery object that responds to exceptions in some other way.

When used with nursery.start you get back the newly opened listeners. So, for example, if you want to start a server in your test suite and then connect to it to check that it’s working properly, you can use something like:

from trio.testing import open_stream_to_socket_listener

async with trio.open_nursery() as nursery:
    listeners = await nursery.start(serve_tcp, handler, 0)
    client_stream = await open_stream_to_socket_listener(listeners[0])

    # Then send and receive data on 'client_stream', for example:
    await client_stream.send_all(b"GET / HTTP/1.0\r\n\r\n")

This avoids several common pitfalls:

  1. It lets the kernel pick a random open port, so your test suite doesn’t depend on any particular port being open.

  2. It waits for the server to be accepting connections on that port before start returns, so there’s no race condition where the incoming connection arrives before the server is ready.

  3. It uses the Listener object to find out which port was picked, so it can connect to the right place.


  • handler – The handler to start for each incoming connection. Passed to serve_listeners().

  • port – The port to listen on. Use 0 to let the kernel pick an open port. Passed to open_tcp_listeners().

  • host (str, bytes, or None) – The host interface to listen on; use None to bind to the wildcard address. Passed to open_tcp_listeners().

  • backlog – The listen backlog, or None to have a good default picked. Passed to open_tcp_listeners().

  • handler_nursery – The nursery to start handlers in, or None to use an internal nursery. Passed to serve_listeners().

  • task_status – This function can be used with nursery.start.


This function only returns when cancelled.

await trio.open_ssl_over_tcp_stream(host, port, *, https_compatible=False, ssl_context=None, happy_eyeballs_delay=0.25)

Make a TLS-encrypted Connection to the given host and port over TCP.

This is a convenience wrapper that calls open_tcp_stream() and wraps the result in an SSLStream.

This function does not perform the TLS handshake; you can do it manually by calling do_handshake(), or else it will be performed automatically the first time you send or receive data.


  • host (bytes or str) – The host to connect to. We require the server to have a TLS certificate valid for this hostname.

  • port (int) – The port to connect to.

  • https_compatible (bool) – Set this to True if you’re connecting to a web server. See SSLStream for details. Default: False.

  • ssl_context (SSLContext or None) – The SSL context to use. If None (the default), ssl.create_default_context() will be called to create a context.

  • happy_eyeballs_delay (float) – See open_tcp_stream().


the encrypted connection to the server.

Return type


await trio.serve_ssl_over_tcp(handler, port, ssl_context, *, host=None, https_compatible=False, backlog=None, handler_nursery=None, task_status=TASK_STATUS_IGNORED)

Listen for incoming TCP connections, and for each one start a task running handler(stream).

This is a thin convenience wrapper around open_ssl_over_tcp_listeners() and serve_listeners() – see them for full details.


If handler raises an exception, then this function doesn’t do anything special to catch it – so by default the exception will propagate out and crash your server. If you don’t want this, then catch exceptions inside your handler, or use a handler_nursery object that responds to exceptions in some other way.

When used with nursery.start you get back the newly opened listeners. See the documentation for serve_tcp() for an example where this is useful.


  • handler – The handler to start for each incoming connection. Passed to serve_listeners().

  • port (int) – The port to listen on. Use 0 to let the kernel pick an open port. Ultimately passed to open_tcp_listeners().

  • ssl_context (SSLContext) – The SSL context to use for all incoming connections. Passed to open_ssl_over_tcp_listeners().

  • host (str, bytes, or None) – The address to bind to; use None to bind to the wildcard address. Ultimately passed to open_tcp_listeners().

  • https_compatible (bool) – Set this to True if you want to use “HTTPS-style” TLS. See SSLStream for details.

  • backlog (int or None) – See SSLStream for details.

  • handler_nursery – The nursery to start handlers in, or None to use an internal nursery. Passed to serve_listeners().

  • task_status – This function can be used with nursery.start.


This function only returns when cancelled.

await trio.open_unix_socket(filename)

Opens a connection to the specified Unix domain socket.

You must have read/write permission on the specified file to connect.


filename (str or bytes) – The filename to open the connection to.


a Stream connected to the given file.

Return type



  • OSError – If the socket file could not be connected to.

  • RuntimeError – If AF_UNIX sockets are not supported.

class trio.SocketStream(socket)

Bases: trio.abc.HalfCloseableStream

An implementation of the trio.abc.HalfCloseableStream interface based on a raw network socket.


socket – The Trio socket object to wrap. Must have type SOCK_STREAM, and be connected.

By default for TCP sockets, SocketStream enables TCP_NODELAY, and (on platforms where it’s supported) enables TCP_NOTSENT_LOWAT with a reasonable buffer size (currently 16 KiB) – see issue #72 for discussion. You can of course override these defaults by calling setsockopt().

Once a SocketStream object is constructed, it implements the full trio.abc.HalfCloseableStream interface. In addition, it provides a few extra features:


The Trio socket object that this stream wraps.

await aclose()

getsockopt(level, option, buffersize=0)

Check the current value of an option on the underlying socket.

See socket.socket.getsockopt() for details.

await receive_some(max_bytes=None)

await send_all(data)

await send_eof()

setsockopt(level, option, value)

Set an option on the underlying socket.

See socket.socket.setsockopt() for details.

await wait_send_all_might_not_block()

class trio.SocketListener(socket)

Bases: trio.abc.Listener

A Listener that uses a listening socket to accept incoming connections as SocketStream objects.


socket – The Trio socket object to wrap. Must have type SOCK_STREAM, and be listening.

Note that the SocketListener “takes ownership” of the given socket; closing the SocketListener will also close the socket.


The Trio socket object that this stream wraps.

await accept()

Accept an incoming connection.




  • OSError – if the underlying call to accept raises an unexpected error.

  • ClosedResourceError – if you already closed the socket.

This method handles routine errors like ECONNABORTED, but passes other errors on to its caller. In particular, it does not make any special effort to handle resource exhaustion errors like EMFILE, ENFILE, ENOBUFS, ENOMEM.

await aclose()

Close this listener and its underlying socket.

await trio.open_tcp_listeners(port, *, host=None, backlog=None)

Create SocketListener objects to listen for TCP connections.


  • port (int) –

    The port to listen on.

    If you use 0 as your port, then the kernel will automatically pick an arbitrary open port. But be careful: if you use this feature when binding to multiple IP addresses, then each IP address will get its own random port, and the returned listeners will probably be listening on different ports. In particular, this will happen if you use host=None – which is the default – because in this case open_tcp_listeners() will bind to both the IPv4 wildcard address ( and also the IPv6 wildcard address (::).

  • host (str, bytes-like, or None) –

    The local interface to bind to. This is passed to getaddrinfo() with the AI_PASSIVE flag set.

    If you want to bind to the wildcard address on both IPv4 and IPv6, in order to accept connections on all available interfaces, then pass None. This is the default.

    If you have a specific interface you want to bind to, pass its IP address or hostname here. If a hostname resolves to multiple IP addresses, this function will open one listener on each of them.

    If you want to use only IPv4, or only IPv6, but want to accept on all interfaces, pass the family-specific wildcard address: "" for IPv4-only and "::" for IPv6-only.

  • backlog (int or None) – The listen backlog to use. If you leave this as None then Trio will pick a good default. (Currently: whatever your system has configured as the maximum backlog.)


list of SocketListener

await trio.open_ssl_over_tcp_listeners(port, ssl_context, *, host=None, https_compatible=False, backlog=None)

Start listening for SSL/TLS-encrypted TCP connections to the given port.


SSL / TLS support

Trio provides SSL/TLS support based on the standard library ssl module. Trio’s SSLStream and SSLListener take their configuration from a ssl.SSLContext, which you can create using ssl.create_default_context() and customize using the other constants and functions in the ssl module.


Avoid instantiating ssl.SSLContext directly. A newly constructed SSLContext has less secure defaults than one returned by ssl.create_default_context(), dramatically so before Python 3.6.

Instead of using ssl.SSLContext.wrap_socket(), you create a SSLStream:

class trio.SSLStream(transport_stream, ssl_context, *, server_hostname=None, server_side=False, https_compatible=False, max_refill_bytes='unused and deprecated')

Bases: trio.abc.Stream

Encrypted communication using SSL/TLS.

SSLStream wraps an arbitrary Stream, and allows you to perform encrypted communication over it using the usual Stream interface. You pass regular data to send_all(), then it encrypts it and sends the encrypted data on the underlying Stream; receive_some() takes encrypted data out of the underlying Stream and decrypts it before returning it.

You should read the standard library’s ssl documentation carefully before attempting to use this class, and probably other general documentation on SSL/TLS as well. SSL/TLS is subtle and quick to anger. Really. I’m not kidding.


  • transport_stream (Stream) – The stream used to transport encrypted data. Required.

  • ssl_context (SSLContext) – The SSLContext used for this connection. Required. Usually created by calling ssl.create_default_context().

  • server_hostname (str or None) – The name of the server being connected to. Used for SNI and for validating the server’s certificate (if hostname checking is enabled). This is effectively mandatory for clients, and actually mandatory if ssl_context.check_hostname is True.

  • server_side (bool) – Whether this stream is acting as a client or server. Defaults to False, i.e. client mode.

  • https_compatible (bool) –

    There are two versions of SSL/TLS commonly encountered in the wild: the standard version, and the version used for HTTPS (HTTP-over-SSL/TLS).

    Standard-compliant SSL/TLS implementations always send a cryptographically signed close_notify message before closing the connection. This is important because if the underlying transport were simply closed, then there wouldn’t be any way for the other side to know whether the connection was intentionally closed by the peer that they negotiated a cryptographic connection to, or by some man-in-the-middle attacker who can’t manipulate the cryptographic stream, but can manipulate the transport layer (a so-called “truncation attack”).

    However, this part of the standard is widely ignored by real-world HTTPS implementations, which means that if you want to interoperate with them, then you NEED to ignore it too.

    Fortunately this isn’t as bad as it sounds, because the HTTP protocol already includes its own equivalent of close_notify, so doing this again at the SSL/TLS level is redundant. But not all protocols do! Therefore, by default Trio implements the safer standard-compliant version (https_compatible=False). But if you’re speaking HTTPS or some other protocol where close_notifys are commonly skipped, then you should set https_compatible=True; with this setting, Trio will neither expect nor send close_notify messages.

    If you have code that was written to use ssl.SSLSocket and now you’re porting it to Trio, then it may be useful to know that a difference between SSLStream and ssl.SSLSocket is that SSLSocket implements the https_compatible=True behavior by default.


The underlying transport stream that was passed to __init__. An example of when this would be useful is if you’re using SSLStream over a SocketStream and want to call the SocketStream’s setsockopt() method.



Internally, this class is implemented using an instance of ssl.SSLObject, and all of SSLObject’s methods and attributes are re-exported as methods and attributes on this class. However, there is one difference: SSLObject has several methods that return information about the encrypted connection, like cipher() or selected_alpn_protocol(). If you call them before the handshake, when they can’t possibly return useful data, then ssl.SSLObject returns None, but trio.SSLStream raises NeedHandshakeError.

This also means that if you register a SNI callback using sni_callback, then the first argument your callback receives will be a ssl.SSLObject.

await aclose()

Gracefully shut down this connection, and close the underlying transport.

If https_compatible is False (the default), then this attempts to first send a close_notify and then close the underlying stream by calling its aclose() method.

If https_compatible is set to True, then this simply closes the underlying stream and marks this stream as closed.

await do_handshake()

Ensure that the initial handshake has completed.

The SSL protocol requires an initial handshake to exchange certificates, select cryptographic keys, and so forth, before any actual data can be sent or received. You don’t have to call this method; if you don’t, then SSLStream will automatically peform the handshake as needed, the first time you try to send or receive data. But if you want to trigger it manually – for example, because you want to look at the peer’s certificate before you start talking to them – then you can call this method.

If the initial handshake is already in progress in another task, this waits for it to complete and then returns.

If the initial handshake has already completed, this returns immediately without doing anything (except executing a checkpoint).


If this method is cancelled, then it may leave the SSLStream in an unusable state. If this happens then any future attempt to use the object will raise trio.BrokenResourceError.

await receive_some(max_bytes=None)

Read some data from the underlying transport, decrypt it, and return it.

See trio.abc.ReceiveStream.receive_some() for details.


If this method is cancelled while the initial handshake or a renegotiation are in progress, then it may leave the SSLStream in an unusable state. If this happens then any future attempt to use the object will raise trio.BrokenResourceError.

await send_all(data)

Encrypt some data and then send it on the underlying transport.

See trio.abc.SendStream.send_all() for details.


If this method is cancelled, then it may leave the SSLStream in an unusable state. If this happens then any attempt to use the object will raise trio.BrokenResourceError.

await unwrap()

Cleanly close down the SSL/TLS encryption layer, allowing the underlying stream to be used for unencrypted communication.

You almost certainly don’t need this.


A pair (transport_stream, trailing_bytes), where transport_stream is the underlying transport stream, and trailing_bytes is a byte string. Since SSLStream doesn’t necessarily know where the end of the encrypted data will be, it can happen that it accidentally reads too much from the underlying stream. trailing_bytes contains this extra data; you should process it as if it was returned from a call to transport_stream.receive_some(...).

await wait_send_all_might_not_block()

See trio.abc.SendStream.wait_send_all_might_not_block().

And if you’re implementing a server, you can use SSLListener:

class trio.SSLListener(transport_listener, ssl_context, *, https_compatible=False, max_refill_bytes='unused and deprecated')

Bases: trio.abc.Listener

A Listener for SSL/TLS-encrypted servers.

SSLListener wraps around another Listener, and converts all incoming connections to encrypted connections by wrapping them in a SSLStream.



The underlying listener that was passed to __init__.



await accept()

Accept the next connection and wrap it in an SSLStream.

See trio.abc.Listener.accept() for details.

await aclose()

Close the transport listener.

Some methods on SSLStream raise NeedHandshakeError if you call them before the handshake completes:

exception trio.NeedHandshakeError

Some SSLStream methods can’t return any meaningful data until after the handshake. If you call them before the handshake, they raise this error.

Low-level networking with trio.socket

The trio.socket module provides Trio’s basic low-level networking API. If you’re doing ordinary things with stream-oriented connections over IPv4/IPv6/Unix domain sockets, then you probably want to stick to the high-level API described above. If you want to use UDP, or exotic address families like AF_BLUETOOTH, or otherwise get direct access to all the quirky bits of your system’s networking API, then you’re in the right place.

Top-level exports

Generally, the API exposed by trio.socket mirrors that of the standard library socket module. Most constants (like SOL_SOCKET) and simple utilities (like inet_aton()) are simply re-exported unchanged. But there are also some differences, which are described here.

First, Trio provides analogues to all the standard library functions that return socket objects; their interface is identical, except that they’re modified to return Trio socket objects instead:

trio.socket.socket(family=, type=, proto=0, fileno=None)

Create a new Trio socket, like socket.socket().

This function’s behavior can be customized using set_custom_socket_factory().

trio.socket.socketpair(family=None, type=, proto=0)

Like socket.socketpair(), but returns a pair of Trio socket objects.

trio.socket.fromfd(fd, family, type, proto=0)

Like socket.fromfd(), but returns a Trio socket object.


Like socket.fromshare(), but returns a Trio socket object.

In addition, there is a new function to directly convert a standard library socket into a Trio socket:


Convert a standard library socket.socket() object into a Trio socket object.

Unlike socket.socket(), trio.socket.socket() is a function, not a class; if you want to check whether an object is a Trio socket, use isinstance(obj, trio.socket.SocketType).

For name lookup, Trio provides the standard functions, but with some changes:

await trio.socket.getaddrinfo(host, port, family=0, type=0, proto=0, flags=0)

Look up a numeric address given a name.

Arguments and return values are identical to socket.getaddrinfo(), except that this version is async.

Also, trio.socket.getaddrinfo() correctly uses IDNA 2008 to process non-ASCII domain names. (socket.getaddrinfo() uses IDNA 2003, which can give the wrong result in some cases and cause you to connect to a different host than the one you intended; see bpo-17305.)

This function’s behavior can be customized using set_custom_hostname_resolver().

await trio.socket.getnameinfo(sockaddr, flags)

Look up a name given a numeric address.

Arguments and return values are identical to socket.getnameinfo(), except that this version is async.

This function’s behavior can be customized using set_custom_hostname_resolver().

await trio.socket.getprotobyname(name)

Look up a protocol number by name. (Rarely used.)

Like socket.getprotobyname(), but async.

Trio intentionally DOES NOT include some obsolete, redundant, or broken features:

Socket objects

class trio.socket.SocketType


trio.socket.SocketType is an abstract class and cannot be instantiated directly; you get concrete socket objects by calling constructors like trio.socket.socket(). However, you can use it to check if an object is a Trio socket via isinstance(obj, trio.socket.SocketType).

Trio socket objects are overall very similar to the standard library socket objects, with a few important differences:

First, and most obviously, everything is made “Trio-style”: blocking methods become async methods, and the following attributes are not supported:

  • setblocking(): Trio sockets always act like blocking sockets; if you need to read/write from multiple sockets at once, then create multiple tasks.

  • settimeout(): see Cancellation and timeouts instead.

  • makefile(): Python’s file-like API is synchronous, so it can’t be implemented on top of an async socket.

  • sendall(): Could be supported, but you’re better off using the higher-level SocketStream, and specifically its send_all() method, which also does additional error checking.

In addition, the following methods are similar to the equivalents in socket.socket(), but have some Trio-specific quirks:

await connect()

Connect the socket to a remote address.

Similar to socket.socket.connect(), except async.


Due to limitations of the underlying operating system APIs, it is not always possible to properly cancel a connection attempt once it has begun. If connect() is cancelled, and is unable to abort the connection attempt, then it will:

  1. forcibly close the socket to prevent accidental re-use

  2. raise Cancelled.

tl;dr: if connect() is cancelled then the socket is left in an unknown state – possibly open, and possibly closed. The only reasonable thing to do is to close it.


Check whether the socket is readable or not.


Not implemented yet!

We also keep track of an extra bit of state, because it turns out to be useful for trio.SocketStream:


This bool attribute is True if you’ve called sock.shutdown(SHUT_WR) or sock.shutdown(SHUT_RDWR), and False otherwise.

The following methods are identical to their equivalents in socket.socket(), except async, and the ones that take address arguments require pre-resolved addresses:

All methods and attributes not mentioned above are identical to their equivalents in socket.socket():

Asynchronous filesystem I/O

Trio provides built-in facilities for performing asynchronous filesystem operations like reading or renaming a file. Generally, we recommend that you use these instead of Python’s normal synchronous file APIs. But the tradeoffs here are somewhat subtle: sometimes people switch to async I/O, and then they’re surprised and confused when they find it doesn’t speed up their program. The next section explains the theory behind async file I/O, to help you better understand your code’s behavior. Or, if you just want to get started, you can jump down to the API overview.

Background: Why is async file I/O useful? The answer may surprise you

Many people expect that switching to from synchronous file I/O to async file I/O will always make their program faster. This is not true! If we just look at total throughput, then async file I/O might be faster, slower, or about the same, and it depends in a complicated way on things like your exact patterns of disk access, or how much RAM you have. The main motivation for async file I/O is not to improve throughput, but to reduce the frequency of latency glitches.

To understand why, you need to know two things.

First, right now no mainstream operating system offers a generic, reliable, native API for async file or filesystem operations, so we have to fake it by using threads (specifically, trio.to_thread.run_sync()). This is cheap but isn’t free: on a typical PC, dispatching to a worker thread adds something like ~100 µs of overhead to each operation. (“µs” is pronounced “microseconds”, and there are 1,000,000 µs in a second. Note that all the numbers here are going to be rough orders of magnitude to give you a sense of scale; if you need precise numbers for your environment, measure!)

And second, the cost of a disk operation is incredibly bimodal. Sometimes, the data you need is already cached in RAM, and then accessing it is very, very fast – calling io.FileIO’s read method on a cached file takes on the order of ~1 µs. But when the data isn’t cached, then accessing it is much, much slower: the average is ~100 µs for SSDs and ~10,000 µs for spinning disks, and if you look at tail latencies then for both types of storage you’ll see cases where occasionally some operation will be 10x or 100x slower than average. And that’s assuming your program is the only thing trying to use that disk – if you’re on some oversold cloud VM fighting for I/O with other tenants then who knows what will happen. And some operations can require multiple disk accesses.

Putting these together: if your data is in RAM then it should be clear that using a thread is a terrible idea – if you add 100 µs of overhead to a 1 µs operation, then that’s a 100x slowdown! On the other hand, if your data’s on a spinning disk, then using a thread is great – instead of blocking the main thread and all tasks for 10,000 µs, we only block them for 100 µs and can spend the rest of that time running other tasks to get useful work done, which can effectively be a 100x speedup.

But here’s the problem: for any individual I/O operation, there’s no way to know in advance whether it’s going to be one of the fast ones or one of the slow ones, so you can’t pick and choose. When you switch to async file I/O, it makes all the fast operations slower, and all the slow operations faster. Is that a win? In terms of overall speed, it’s hard to say: it depends what kind of disks you’re using and your kernel’s disk cache hit rate, which in turn depends on your file access patterns, how much spare RAM you have, the load on your service, … all kinds of things. If the answer is important to you, then there’s no substitute for measuring your code’s actual behavior in your actual deployment environment. But what we can say is that async disk I/O makes performance much more predictable across a wider range of runtime conditions.

If you’re not sure what to do, then we recommend that you use async disk I/O by default, because it makes your code more robust when conditions are bad, especially with regards to tail latencies; this improves the chances that what your users see matches what you saw in testing. Blocking the main thread stops all tasks from running for that time. 10,000 µs is 10 ms, and it doesn’t take many 10 ms glitches to start adding up to real money; async disk I/O can help prevent those. Just don’t expect it to be magic, and be aware of the tradeoffs.

API overview

If you want to perform general filesystem operations like creating and listing directories, renaming files, or checking file metadata – or if you just want a friendly way to work with filesystem paths – then you want trio.Path. It’s an asyncified replacement for the standard library’s pathlib.Path, and provides the same comprehensive set of operations.

For reading and writing to files and file-like objects, Trio also provides a mechanism for wrapping any synchronous file-like object into an asynchronous interface. If you have a trio.Path object you can get one of these by calling its open() method; or if you know the file’s name you can open it directly with trio.open_file(). Alternatively, if you already have an open file-like object, you can wrap it with trio.wrap_file() – one case where this is especially useful is to wrap io.BytesIO or io.StringIO when writing tests.

Asynchronous path objects

class trio.Path(*args)

A pathlib.Path wrapper that executes blocking methods in trio.to_thread.run_sync().


Return the string representation of the path with forward (/) slashes.


Return the path as a ‘file’ URI.

await chmod(*args, **kwargs)

Like chmod(), but async.

classmethod await cwd(*args, **kwargs)

Like cwd(), but async.

await exists(*args, **kwargs)

Like exists(), but async.

await expanduser(*args, **kwargs)

Like expanduser(), but async.

await glob(*args, **kwargs)

Like glob(), but async.

await group(*args, **kwargs)

Like group(), but async.

classmethod await home(*args, **kwargs)

Like home(), but async.


True if the path is absolute (has both a root and, if applicable, a drive).

await is_block_device(*args, **kwargs)

Like is_block_device(), but async.

await is_char_device(*args, **kwargs)

Like is_char_device(), but async.

await is_dir(*args, **kwargs)

Like is_dir(), but async.

await is_fifo(*args, **kwargs)

Like is_fifo(), but async.

await is_file(*args, **kwargs)

Like is_file(), but async.


Return True if the path contains one of the special names reserved by the system, if any.

await is_socket(*args, **kwargs)

Like is_socket(), but async.

Like is_symlink(), but async.

await iterdir(*args, **kwargs)

Like pathlib.Path.iterdir(), but async.

This is an async method that returns a synchronous iterator, so you use it like:

for subpath in await mypath.iterdir():

Note that it actually loads the whole directory list into memory immediately, during the initial call. (See issue #501 for discussion.)


Combine this path with one or several arguments, and return a new path representing either a subpath (if all arguments are relative paths) or a totally different path (if one of the arguments is anchored).

await lchmod(*args, **kwargs)

Like lchmod(), but async.

await lstat(*args, **kwargs)

Like lstat(), but async.


Return True if this path matches the given pattern.

await mkdir(*args, **kwargs)

Like mkdir(), but async.

await open(mode='r', buffering=-1, encoding=None, errors=None, newline=None)

Open the file pointed by this path and return a file object, as the built-in open() function does.

await owner(*args, **kwargs)

Like owner(), but async.

await read_bytes(*args, **kwargs)

Like read_bytes(), but async.

await read_text(*args, **kwargs)

Like read_text(), but async.


Return the relative path to another path identified by the passed arguments. If the operation is not possible (because this is not a subpath of the other path), raise ValueError.

await rename(*args, **kwargs)

Like rename(), but async.

await replace(*args, **kwargs)

Like replace(), but async.

await resolve(*args, **kwargs)

Like resolve(), but async.

await rglob(*args, **kwargs)

Like rglob(), but async.

await rmdir(*args, **kwargs)

Like rmdir(), but async.

await samefile(*args, **kwargs)

Like samefile(), but async.

await stat(*args, **kwargs)

Like stat(), but async.

Like symlink_to(), but async.

await touch(*args, **kwargs)

Like touch(), but async.

Like unlink(), but async.


Return a new path with the file name changed.


Return a new path with the file suffix changed (or added, if none).

await write_bytes(*args, **kwargs)

Like write_bytes(), but async.

await write_text(*args, **kwargs)

Like write_text(), but async.

Asynchronous file objects

await trio.open_file(file, mode='r', buffering=-1, encoding=None, errors=None, newline=None, closefd=True, opener=None)

Asynchronous version of io.open().


An asynchronous file object


async with await trio.open_file(filename) as f:
    async for line in f:

assert f.closed

See also



This wraps any file object in a wrapper that provides an asynchronous file object interface.


file – a file object


An asynchronous file object that wraps file


async_file = trio.wrap_file(StringIO('asdf'))

assert await async_file.read() == 'asdf'

Asynchronous file interface

Trio’s asynchronous file objects have an interface that automatically adapts to the object being wrapped. Intuitively, you can mostly treat them like a regular file object, except adding an await in front of any of methods that do I/O. The definition of file object is a little vague in Python though, so here are the details:

  • Synchronous attributes/methods: if any of the following attributes or methods are present, then they’re re-exported unchanged: closed, encoding, errors, fileno, isatty, newlines, readable, seekable, writable, buffer, raw, line_buffering, closefd, name, mode, getvalue, getbuffer.

  • Async methods: if any of the following methods are present, then they’re re-exported as an async method: flush, read, read1, readall, readinto, readline, readlines, seek, tell, truncate, write, writelines, readinto1, peek, detach.

Special notes:

  • Async file objects implement Trio’s AsyncResource interface: you close them by calling aclose() instead of close (!!), and they can be used as async context managers. Like all aclose() methods, the aclose method on async file objects is guaranteed to close the file before returning, even if it is cancelled or otherwise raises an error.

  • Using the same async file object from multiple tasks simultaneously: because the async methods on async file objects are implemented using threads, it’s only safe to call two of them at the same time from different tasks IF the underlying synchronous file object is thread-safe. You should consult the documentation for the object you’re wrapping. For objects returned from trio.open_file() or trio.Path.open(), it depends on whether you open the file in binary mode or text mode: binary mode files are task-safe/thread-safe, text mode files are not.

  • Async file objects can be used as async iterators to iterate over the lines of the file:

    async with await trio.open_file(...) as f:
        async for line in f:
  • The detach method, if present, returns an async file object.

This should include all the attributes exposed by classes in io. But if you’re wrapping an object that has other attributes that aren’t on the list above, then you can access them via the .wrapped attribute:


The underlying synchronous file object.

Spawning subprocesses

Trio provides support for spawning other programs as subprocesses, communicating with them via pipes, sending them signals, and waiting for them to exit. The interface for doing so consists of two layers:

  • trio.run_process() runs a process from start to finish and returns a CompletedProcess object describing its outputs and return value. This is what you should reach for if you want to run a process to completion before continuing, while possibly sending it some input or capturing its output. It is modelled after the standard subprocess.run() with some additional features and safer defaults.

  • trio.open_process starts a process in the background and returns a Process object to let you interact with it. Using it requires a bit more code than run_process, but exposes additional capabilities: back-and-forth communication, processing output as soon as it is generated, and so forth. It is modelled after the standard library subprocess.Popen.

Options for starting subprocesses

All of Trio’s subprocess APIs accept the numerous keyword arguments used by the standard subprocess module to control the environment in which a process starts and the mechanisms used for communicating with it. These may be passed wherever you see **options in the documentation below. See the full list or just the frequently used ones in the subprocess documentation. (You may need to import subprocess in order to access constants such as PIPE or DEVNULL.)

Currently, Trio always uses unbuffered byte streams for communicating with a process, so it does not support the encoding, errors, universal_newlines (alias text in 3.7+), and bufsize options.

Running a process and waiting for it to finish

The basic interface for running a subprocess start-to-finish is trio.run_process(). It always waits for the subprocess to exit before returning, so there’s no need to worry about leaving a process running by mistake after you’ve gone on to do other things. run_process() is similar to the standard library subprocess.run() function, but tries to have safer defaults: with no options, the subprocess’s input is empty rather than coming from the user’s terminal, and a failure in the subprocess will be propagated as a subprocess.CalledProcessError exception. Of course, these defaults can be changed where necessary.

await trio.run_process(command, *, stdin=b'', capture_stdout=False, capture_stderr=False, check=True, **options)

Run command in a subprocess, wait for it to complete, and return a subprocess.CompletedProcess instance describing the results.

If cancelled, run_process() terminates the subprocess and waits for it to exit before propagating the cancellation, like Process.aclose().

Input: The subprocess’s standard input stream is set up to receive the bytes provided as stdin. Once the given input has been fully delivered, or if none is provided, the subprocess will receive end-of-file when reading from its standard input. Alternatively, if you want the subprocess to read its standard input from the same place as the parent Trio process, you can pass stdin=None.

Output: By default, any output produced by the subprocess is passed through to the standard output and error streams of the parent Trio process. If you would like to capture this output and do something with it, you can pass capture_stdout=True to capture the subprocess’s standard output, and/or capture_stderr=True to capture its standard error. Captured data is provided as the stdout and/or stderr attributes of the returned CompletedProcess object. The value for any stream that was not captured will be None.

If you want to capture both stdout and stderr while keeping them separate, pass capture_stdout=True, capture_stderr=True.

If you want to capture both stdout and stderr but mixed together in the order they were printed, use: capture_stdout=True, stderr=subprocess.STDOUT. This directs the child’s stderr into its stdout, so the combined output will be available in the stdout attribute.

Error checking: If the subprocess exits with a nonzero status code, indicating failure, run_process() raises a subprocess.CalledProcessError exception rather than returning normally. The captured outputs are still available as the stdout and stderr attributes of that exception. To disable this behavior, so that run_process() returns normally even if the subprocess exits abnormally, pass check=False.


  • command (list or str) – The command to run. Typically this is a sequence of strings such as ['ls', '-l', 'directory with spaces'], where the first element names the executable to invoke and the other elements specify its arguments. With shell=True in the **options, or on Windows, command may alternatively be a string, which will be parsed following platform-dependent quoting rules.

  • stdin (bytes, file descriptor, or None) – The bytes to provide to the subprocess on its standard input stream, or None if the subprocess’s standard input should come from the same place as the parent Trio process’s standard input. As is the case with the subprocess module, you can also pass a file descriptor or an object with a fileno() method, in which case the subprocess’s standard input will come from that file.

  • capture_stdout (bool) – If true, capture the bytes that the subprocess writes to its standard output stream and return them in the stdout attribute of the returned CompletedProcess object.

  • capture_stderr (bool) – If true, capture the bytes that the subprocess writes to its standard error stream and return them in the stderr attribute of the returned CompletedProcess object.

  • check (bool) – If false, don’t validate that the subprocess exits successfully. You should be sure to check the returncode attribute of the returned object if you pass check=False, so that errors don’t pass silently.

  • **optionsrun_process() also accepts any general subprocess options and passes them on to the Process constructor. This includes the stdout and stderr options, which provide additional redirection possibilities such as stderr=subprocess.STDOUT, stdout=subprocess.DEVNULL, or file descriptors.


A subprocess.CompletedProcess instance describing the return code and outputs.


  • UnicodeError – if stdin is specified as a Unicode string, rather than bytes

  • ValueError – if multiple redirections are specified for the same stream, e.g., both capture_stdout=True and stdout=subprocess.DEVNULL

  • subprocess.CalledProcessError – if check=False is not passed and the process exits with a nonzero exit status

  • OSError – if an error is encountered starting or communicating with the process


The child process runs in the same process group as the parent Trio process, so a Ctrl+C will be delivered simultaneously to both parent and child. If you don’t want this behavior, consult your platform’s documentation for starting child processes in a different process group.

Interacting with a process as it runs

If you want more control than run_process() affords, you can use trio.open_process to spawn a subprocess, and then interact with it using the Process interface.

await trio.open_process(command, *, stdin=None, stdout=None, stderr=None, **options) → trio.Process

Execute a child program in a new process.

After construction, you can interact with the child process by writing data to its stdin stream (a SendStream), reading data from its stdout and/or stderr streams (both ReceiveStreams), sending it signals using terminate, kill, or send_signal, and waiting for it to exit using wait. See Process for details.

Each standard stream is only available if you specify that a pipe should be created for it. For example, if you pass stdin=subprocess.PIPE, you can write to the stdin stream, else stdin will be None.


  • command (list or str) – The command to run. Typically this is a sequence of strings such as ['ls', '-l', 'directory with spaces'], where the first element names the executable to invoke and the other elements specify its arguments. With shell=True in the **options, or on Windows, command may alternatively be a string, which will be parsed following platform-dependent quoting rules.

  • stdin – Specifies what the child process’s standard input stream should connect to: output written by the parent (subprocess.PIPE), nothing (subprocess.DEVNULL), or an open file (pass a file descriptor or something whose fileno method returns one). If stdin is unspecified, the child process will have the same standard input stream as its parent.

  • stdout – Like stdin, but for the child process’s standard output stream.

  • stderr – Like stdin, but for the child process’s standard error stream. An additional value subprocess.STDOUT is supported, which causes the child’s standard output and standard error messages to be intermixed on a single standard output stream, attached to whatever the stdout option says to attach it to.

  • **options – Other general subprocess options are also accepted.


A new Process object.


OSError – if the process spawning fails, for example because the specified command could not be found.

class trio.Process(*args, **kwargs)

A child process. Like subprocess.Popen, but async.

This class has no public constructor. To create a child process, use open_process:

process = await trio.open_process(...)

Process implements the AsyncResource interface. In order to make sure your process doesn’t end up getting abandoned by mistake or after an exception, you can use async with:

async with await trio.open_process(...) as process:

“Closing” a Process will close any pipes to the child and wait for it to exit; if cancelled, the child will be forcibly killed and we will ensure it has finished exiting before allowing the cancellation to propagate.


The command passed at construction time, specifying the process to execute and its arguments.


str or list


The process ID of the child process managed by this object.




A stream connected to the child’s standard input stream: when you write bytes here, they become available for the child to read. Only available if the Process was constructed using stdin=PIPE; otherwise this will be None.


trio.abc.SendStream or None


A stream connected to the child’s standard output stream: when the child writes to standard output, the written bytes become available for you to read here. Only available if the Process was constructed using stdout=PIPE; otherwise this will be None.


trio.abc.ReceiveStream or None


A stream connected to the child’s standard error stream: when the child writes to standard error, the written bytes become available for you to read here. Only available if the Process was constructed using stderr=PIPE; otherwise this will be None.


trio.abc.ReceiveStream or None


A stream that sends data to the child’s standard input and receives from the child’s standard output. Only available if both stdin and stdout are available; otherwise this will be None.


trio.StapledStream or None


The exit status of the process (an integer), or None if it is not yet known to have exited.

By convention, a return code of zero indicates success. On UNIX, negative values indicate termination due to a signal, e.g., -11 if terminated by signal 11 (SIGSEGV). On Windows, a process that exits due to a call to Process.terminate() will have an exit status of 1.

Accessing this attribute does not check for termination; use poll() or wait() for that.

await aclose()

Close any pipes we have to the process (both input and output) and wait for it to exit.

If cancelled, kills the process and waits for it to finish exiting before propagating the cancellation.

await wait()

Block until the process exits.


The exit status of the process; see returncode.


Check if the process has exited yet.


The exit status of the process, or None if it is still running; see returncode.


Immediately terminate the process.

On UNIX, this is equivalent to send_signal(signal.SIGKILL). On Windows, it calls TerminateProcess. In both cases, the process cannot prevent itself from being killed, but the termination will be delivered asynchronously; use wait() if you want to ensure the process is actually dead before proceeding.


Terminate the process, politely if possible.

On UNIX, this is equivalent to send_signal(signal.SIGTERM); by convention this requests graceful termination, but a misbehaving or buggy process might ignore it. On Windows, terminate() forcibly terminates the process in the same manner as kill().


Send signal sig to the process.

On UNIX, sig may be any signal defined in the signal module, such as signal.SIGINT or signal.SIGTERM. On Windows, it may be anything accepted by the standard library subprocess.Popen.send_signal().


communicate() is not provided as a method on Process objects; use run_process() instead, or write the loop yourself if you have unusual needs. communicate() has quite unusual cancellation behavior in the standard library (on some platforms it spawns a background thread which continues to read from the child process even after the timeout has expired) and we wanted to provide an interface with fewer surprises.

Quoting: more than you wanted to know

The command to run and its arguments usually must be passed to Trio’s subprocess APIs as a sequence of strings, where the first element in the sequence specifies the command to run and the remaining elements specify its arguments, one argument per element. This form is used because it avoids potential quoting pitfalls; for example, you can run ["cp", "-f", source_file, dest_file] without worrying about whether source_file or dest_file contains spaces.

If you only run subprocesses without shell=True and on UNIX, that’s all you need to know about specifying the command. If you use shell=True or run on Windows, you probably should read the rest of this section to be aware of potential pitfalls.

With shell=True on UNIX, you must specify the command as a single string, which will be passed to the shell as if you’d entered it at an interactive prompt. The advantage of this option is that it lets you use shell features like pipes and redirection without writing code to handle them. For example, you can write Process("ls | grep some_string", shell=True). The disadvantage is that you must account for the shell’s quoting rules, generally by wrapping in shlex.quote() any argument that might contain spaces, quotes, or other shell metacharacters. If you don’t do that, your safe-looking f"ls | grep {some_string}" might end in disaster when invoked with some_string = "foo; rm -rf /".

On Windows, the fundamental API for process spawning (the CreateProcess() system call) takes a string, not a list, and it’s actually up to the child process to decide how it wants to split that string into individual arguments. Since the C language specifies that main() should take a list of arguments, most programs you encounter will follow the rules used by the Microsoft C/C++ runtime. subprocess.Popen, and thus also Trio, uses these rules when it converts an argument sequence to a string, and they are documented alongside the subprocess module. There is no documented Python standard library function that can directly perform that conversion, so even on Windows, you almost always want to pass an argument sequence rather than a string. But if the program you’re spawning doesn’t split its command line back into individual arguments in the standard way, you might need to pass a string to work around this. (Or you might just be out of luck: as far as I can tell, there’s simply no way to pass an argument containing a double-quote to a Windows batch file.)

On Windows with shell=True, things get even more chaotic. Now there are two separate sets of quoting rules applied, one by the Windows command shell CMD.EXE and one by the process being spawned, and they’re different. (And there’s no shlex.quote() to save you: it uses UNIX-style quoting rules, even on Windows.) Most special characters interpreted by the shell &<>()^| are not treated as special if the shell thinks they’re inside double quotes, but %FOO% environment variable substitutions still are, and the shell doesn’t provide any way to write a double quote inside a double-quoted string. Outside double quotes, any character (including a double quote) can be escaped using a leading ^. But since a pipeline is processed by running each command in the pipeline in a subshell, multiple layers of escaping can be needed:

echo ^^^&x | find "x" | find "x"          # prints: &x

And if you combine pipelines with () grouping, you can need even more levels of escaping:

(echo ^^^^^^^&x | find "x") | find "x"    # prints: &x

Since process creation takes a single arguments string, CMD.EXE’s quoting does not influence word splitting, and double quotes are not removed during CMD.EXE’s expansion pass. Double quotes are troublesome because CMD.EXE handles them differently from the MSVC runtime rules; in:

prog.exe "foo \"bar\" baz"

the program will see one argument foo "bar" baz but CMD.EXE thinks bar\ is not quoted while foo \ and baz are. All of this makes it a formidable task to reliably interpolate anything into a shell=True command line on Windows, and Trio falls back on the subprocess behavior: If you pass a sequence with shell=True, it’s quoted in the same way as a sequence with shell=False, and had better not contain any shell metacharacters you weren’t planning on.

Further reading:


with trio.open_signal_receiver(*signals) as signal_aiter

A context manager for catching signals.

Entering this context manager starts listening for the given signals and returns an async iterator; exiting the context manager stops listening.

The async iterator blocks until a signal arrives, and then yields it.

Note that if you leave the with block while the iterator has unextracted signals still pending inside it, then they will be re-delivered using Python’s regular signal handling logic. This avoids a race condition when signals arrives just before we exit the with block.


signals – the signals to listen for.


RuntimeError – if you try to use this anywhere except Python’s main thread. (This is a Python limitation.)


A common convention for Unix daemons is that they should reload their configuration when they receive a SIGHUP. Here’s a sketch of what that might look like using open_signal_receiver():

with trio.open_signal_receiver(signal.SIGHUP) as signal_aiter:
    async for signum in signal_aiter:
        assert signum == signal.SIGHUP

© 2017 Nathaniel J. Smith
Licensed under the MIT License.