Java – Behavior of Java sockets when closing output stream


Can someone explain the following behavior in Java sockets:

The general idea is this:

  1. Open socket, Obtain I/O streams.
  2. Write request, Close out stream
  3. Read Response, Close in stream
  4. Close socket.

Here's my question / issue.

If I use a PrintWriter for output, and then close it, It closes the whole socket, and the subsequent read operation fails miserably.

Instead if I directly use the socket's shutdownOutput() method, it correctly closes the output stream channel, while keeping the socket alive.

Why would closing the PrintWriter object take the whole socket down with it?

Best Solution

This may be what your code looks like:

Socket socket;
PrintWriter pw = new PrintWriter(socket.getOutputStream());

Now, let's have a look at the description of getOutputStream() method of Socket.


public OutputStream getOutputStream() throws IOException

Returns an output stream for this socket. If this socket has an associated channel then the resulting output stream delegates all of its operations to the channel. If the channel is in non-blocking mode then the output stream's write operations will throw an IllegalBlockingModeException.

Closing the returned OutputStream will close the associated socket.


an output stream for writing bytes to this socket.


IOException - if an I/O error occurs when creating the output stream or if the socket is not connected.

from the description above, we know closing the returned OutputStream will close the associated socket.

Now, when you close the PrintWriter, it'll close the associated OutputStream which will close the associated socket.

Related Question