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HTTP Message Headers
HTTP communication takes place through
the relatively simple exchange
of request and response messages. There
are only a small number of methods (commands)
supported by the protocol, which might give one the impression that
the protocol is quite limited. Looks can be deceiving, however. Much
of the functionality in HTTP is actually implemented in the form of
message headers, which convey important details between clients
Some headers can appear in only HTTP
requests, some in only HTTP
responses, and some in either type of
message. Since they are so important, there are literally dozens of
them, and many apply to both requests and responses, I decided to describe
them in detail in a separate section rather than try to summarize them
too much in the course of describing the message formats
In this section I provide a description
of each of the many headers used in HTTP request and response messages.
The section contains four topics, each of which covers one of the four
basic types of HTTP headers: general headers, request headers, response
headers and entity headers.
Note: For the purpose of determining how Web caches treat HTTP messages, HTTP headers are categorized as either end-to-end or hop-by-hop headers. The former are meaningful only to the ultimate recipient of a message, while the latter are relevant to each device in the chain of devices (such as proxies) connecting a client and server. To avoid unnecessary complication I have not categorized the headers in this section using these categories; see the topic on caching for more information. In the descriptions of the individual headers, I indicate which headers are hop-by-hop; all others are end-to-end.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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