The Wikipedia article USB hardware states:

Standard connectors

  • The type-A plug. This plug has an elongated rectangular cross-section, inserts into a type-A receptacle on a downstream port on a USB host or hub, and carries both power and data. Captive cables on USB devices, such as keyboards or mice, terminate with a type-A plug.
  • The type-B plug: This plug has a near square cross-section with the top exterior corners beveled and inserts into a type-B receptacle on an upstream port on a USB device, such as a printer. On some devices, the type-B receptacle has no data connections, being used solely for accepting power from the upstream device. This two-connector-type scheme (A/B) prevents a user from accidentally creating a loop.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Receptacle is socket, or female connector. Port is the connection point (which could be plug or socket, male or female connector). \$\endgroup\$
    – Puffafish
    Sep 30, 2020 at 7:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Puffafish What do you mean by the connection point? Why plug or receptacle, isn’t it always plug and receptacle (since you cannot connect two plugs or two receptacles)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Géry Ogam
    Sep 30, 2020 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


The USB 'receptacle' is the mechanical connector - the thing you plug a USB cable into. That consists of electrical contacts in a plastic-and-metal housing.

The USB 'port' describes the connector, communication electronics, software and any power supply electronics needed by the equipment the port is in.

For a PC, the USB port uses a connector, power supply with current control/protection, communications electronics and an OS software driver.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks TonyM. What do you mean by ‘housing’? \$\endgroup\$
    – Géry Ogam
    Sep 27, 2020 at 10:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ housing means enclosure or shell \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Sep 27, 2020 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you provide a reference for these definitions? \$\endgroup\$
    – Géry Ogam
    Sep 27, 2020 at 19:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.