June 13, 2020

1411 words 7 mins read



Extremely fast non-cryptographic hash algorithm

repo name Cyan4973/xxHash
repo link https://github.com/Cyan4973/xxHash
homepage http://www.xxhash.com/
language C
size (curr.) 2621 kB
stars (curr.) 4013
created 2014-04-30
license Other

xxHash - Extremely fast hash algorithm

xxHash is an Extremely fast Hash algorithm, running at RAM speed limits. It successfully completes the SMHasher test suite which evaluates collision, dispersion and randomness qualities of hash functions. Code is highly portable, and hashes are identical on all platforms (little / big endian).

Branch Status
master Build Status
dev Build Status


The benchmark uses SMHasher speed test, compiled with Visual 2010 on a Windows Seven 32-bit box. The reference system uses a Core 2 Duo @3GHz

Name Speed Quality Author
xxHash 5.4 GB/s 10 Y.C.
MurmurHash 3a 2.7 GB/s 10 Austin Appleby
SBox 1.4 GB/s 9 Bret Mulvey
Lookup3 1.2 GB/s 9 Bob Jenkins
CityHash64 1.05 GB/s 10 Pike & Alakuijala
FNV 0.55 GB/s 5 Fowler, Noll, Vo
CRC32 0.43 GB/s † 9
MD5-32 0.33 GB/s 10 Ronald L.Rivest
SHA1-32 0.28 GB/s 10

Note †: SMHasher’s CRC32 implementation is known to be slow. Faster implementations exist.

Q.Score is a measure of quality of the hash function. It depends on successfully passing SMHasher test set. 10 is a perfect score. Algorithms with a score < 5 are not listed on this table.

A more recent version, XXH64, has been created thanks to Mathias Westerdahl, which offers superior speed and dispersion for 64-bit systems. Note however that 32-bit applications will still run faster using the 32-bit version.

SMHasher speed test, compiled using GCC 4.8.2, on Linux Mint 64-bit. The reference system uses a Core i5-3340M @2.7GHz

Version Speed on 64-bit Speed on 32-bit
XXH64 13.8 GB/s 1.9 GB/s
XXH32 6.8 GB/s 6.0 GB/s

This project also includes a command line utility, named xxhsum, offering similar features to md5sum, thanks to Takayuki Matsuoka’s contributions.


The library files xxhash.c and xxhash.h are BSD licensed. The utility xxhsum is GPL licensed.

New hash algorithms

Starting with v0.7.0, the library includes a new algorithm named XXH3, which is able to generate 64 and 128-bit hashes.

The new algorithm is much faster than its predecessors for both long and small inputs, which can be observed in the following graphs:

XXH3, bargraph

XXH3, latency, random size

To access these new prototypes, one needs to unlock their declaration, using the build macro XXH_STATIC_LINKING_ONLY.

The algorithm is currently in development, meaning its return values might still change in future versions. However, the API is stable, and can be used in production, typically for generation of ephemeral hashes (produced and consumed in same session).

XXH3 has now reached “release candidate” status. If everything remains fine, its format will be “frozen” and become final. After which, return values of XXH3 and XXH128 will no longer change in future versions. XXH3’s return values will be officially finalized upon reaching v0.8.0.

Build modifiers

The following macros can be set at compilation time to modify libxxhash’s behavior. They are generally disabled by default.

  • XXH_INLINE_ALL: Make all functions inline, with implementations being directly included within xxhash.h. Inlining functions is beneficial for speed on small keys. It’s extremely effective when key length is expressed as a compile time constant, with performance improvements observed in the +200% range . See this article for details.
  • XXH_PRIVATE_API: same outcome as XXH_INLINE_ALL. Still available for legacy support. The name underlines that XXH_* symbols will not be exported.
  • XXH_NAMESPACE: Prefixes all symbols with the value of XXH_NAMESPACE. This macro can only use compilable character set. Useful to evade symbol naming collisions, in case of multiple inclusions of xxHash’s source code. Client applications still use the regular function names, as symbols are automatically translated through xxhash.h.
  • XXH_FORCE_MEMORY_ACCESS: The default method 0 uses a portable memcpy() notation. Method 1 uses a gcc-specific packed attribute, which can provide better performance for some targets. Method 2 forces unaligned reads, which is not standards compliant, but might sometimes be the only way to extract better read performance. Method 3 uses a byteshift operation, which is best for old compilers which don’t inline memcpy() or big-endian systems without a byteswap instruction
  • XXH_FORCE_ALIGN_CHECK: Use a faster direct read path when input is aligned. This option can result in dramatic performance improvement when input to hash is aligned on 32 or 64-bit boundaries, when running on architectures unable to load memory from unaligned addresses, or suffering a performance penalty from it. It is (slightly) detrimental on platform with good unaligned memory access performance (same instruction for both aligned and unaligned accesses). This option is automatically disabled on x86, x64 and aarch64, and enabled on all other platforms.
  • XXH_VECTOR : manually select a vector instruction set (default: auto-selected at compilation time). Available instruction sets are XXH_SCALAR, XXH_SSE2, XXH_AVX2, XXH_AVX512, XXH_NEON and XXH_VSX. Compiler may require additional flags to ensure proper support (for example, gcc on linux will require -mavx2 for AVX2, and -mavx512f for AVX512).
  • XXH_NO_PREFETCH : disable prefetching. XXH3 only.
  • XXH_PREFETCH_DIST : select prefecting distance. XXH3 only.
  • XXH_NO_INLINE_HINTS: By default, xxHash uses __attribute__((always_inline)) and __forceinline to improve performance at the cost of code size. Defining this macro to 1 will mark all internal functions as static, allowing the compiler to decide whether to inline a function or not. This is very useful when optimizing for smallest binary size, and is automatically defined when compiling with -O0, -Os, -Oz, or -fno-inline on GCC and Clang. This may also increase performance depending on compiler and architecture.
  • XXH_REROLL: Reduces the size of the generated code by not unrolling some loops. Impact on performance may vary, depending on platform and algorithm.
  • XXH_ACCEPT_NULL_INPUT_POINTER: if set to 1, when input is a NULL pointer, xxHash’d result is the same as a zero-length input (instead of a dereference segfault). Adds one branch at the beginning of each hash.
  • XXH_STATIC_LINKING_ONLY: gives access to the state declaration for static allocation. Incompatible with dynamic linking, due to risks of ABI changes.
  • XXH_NO_LONG_LONG: removes compilation of algorithms relying on 64-bit types (XXH3 and XXH64). Only XXH32 will be compiled. Useful for targets (architectures and compilers) without 64-bit support.
  • XXH_IMPORT: MSVC specific: should only be defined for dynamic linking, as it prevents linkage errors.
  • XXH_CPU_LITTLE_ENDIAN: By default, endianess is determined by a runtime test resolved at compile time. If, for some reason, the compiler cannot simplify the runtime test, it can cost performance. It’s possible to skip auto-detection and simply state that the architecture is little-endian by setting this macro to 1. Setting it to 0 states big-endian.

For the Command Line Interface xxhsum, the following environment variables can also be set :

  • DISPATCH=1 : use xxh_x86dispatch.c, to automatically select between scalar, sse2, avx2 or avx512 instruction set at runtime, depending on local host. This option is only valid for x86/x64 systems.

Building xxHash - Using vcpkg

You can download and install xxHash using the vcpkg dependency manager:

git clone https://github.com/Microsoft/vcpkg.git
cd vcpkg
./vcpkg integrate install
./vcpkg install xxhash

The xxHash port in vcpkg is kept up to date by Microsoft team members and community contributors. If the version is out of date, please create an issue or pull request on the vcpkg repository.


Calling xxhash 64-bit variant from a C program:

#include "xxhash.h"

    XXH64_hash_t hash = XXH64(buffer, size, seed);

Using streaming variant is more involved, but makes it possible to provide data incrementally:

#include "stdlib.h"   /* abort() */
#include "xxhash.h"

XXH64_hash_t calcul_hash_streaming(FileHandler fh)
    /* create a hash state */
    XXH64_state_t* const state = XXH64_createState();
    if (state==NULL) abort();

    size_t const bufferSize = SOME_SIZE;
    void* const buffer = malloc(bufferSize);
    if (buffer==NULL) abort();

    /* Initialize state with selected seed */
    XXH64_hash_t const seed = 0;   /* or any other value */
    if (XXH64_reset(state, seed) == XXH_ERROR) abort();

    /* Feed the state with input data, any size, any number of times */
    while ( /* any condition */ ) {
        size_t const length = get_more_data(buffer, bufferSize, fh);
        if (XXH64_update(state, buffer, length) == XXH_ERROR) abort();

    /* Get the hash */
    XXH64_hash_t const hash = XXH64_digest(state);

    /* State can be re-used; in this example, it is simply freed  */

    return hash;

Other programming languages

Aside from the C reference version, xxHash is also available in many different programming languages, thanks to many great contributors. They are listed here.

Branch Policy

  • The “master” branch is considered stable, at all times.
  • The “dev” branch is the one where all contributions must be merged before being promoted to master.
    • If you plan to propose a patch, please commit into the “dev” branch, or its own feature branch. Direct commit to “master” are not permitted.
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