Storage Classes in C plus plus

Storage class is used to define the lifetime and visibility of a variable and/or function within a C++ program.

Lifetime refers to the period during which the variable remains active and visibility refers to the module of a program in which the variable is accessible.

There are five types of storage classes, which can be used in a C++ program

  1. Automatic
  2. Register
  3. Static
  4. External
  5. Mutable
Storage ClassKeywordLifetimeVisibilityInitial Value
AutomaticautoFunction BlockLocalGarbage
RegisterregisterFunction BlockLocalGarbage
ExternalexternWhole ProgramGlobalZero
StaticstaticWhole ProgramLocalZero


Automatic Storage Class

It is the default storage class for all local variables. The auto keyword is applied to all local variables automatically.

  • {   
  • auto int y;  
  • float y = 3.45;  
  • }  

The above example defines two variables with a same storage class, auto can only be used within functions.

Register Storage Class

The register variable allocates memory in register than RAM. Its size is same of register size. It has a faster access than other variables.

It is recommended to use register variable only for quick access such as in counter.

Note: We can’t get the address of register variable.

  • register int counter=0;    

Static Storage Class

The static variable is initialized only once and exists till the end of a program. It retains its value between multiple functions call.

The static variable has the default value 0 which is provided by compiler.

  • #include <iostream>  
  • using namespace std;  
  • void func() {    
  •    static int i=0; //static variable    
  •    int j=0; //local variable    
  •    i++;    
  •    j++;    
  •    cout<<“i=” << i<<” and j=” <<j<<endl;    
  • }    
  • int main()  
  • {  
  •  func();    
  •  func();    
  •  func();    
  • }  


i= 1 and j= 1
i= 2 and j= 1
i= 3 and j= 1