|HTTPbis Working Group||R. Fielding, Editor|
|Obsoletes: 2616 (if approved)||Y. Lafon, Editor|
|Intended status: Standards Track||W3C|
|Expires: September 13, 2012||J. Reschke, Editor|
|March 12, 2012|
HTTP/1.1, part 5: Range Requests and Partial Responses
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application-level protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypertext information systems. HTTP has been in use by the World Wide Web global information initiative since 1990. This document is Part 5 of the seven-part specification that defines the protocol referred to as "HTTP/1.1" and, taken together, obsoletes RFC 2616.
Part 5 defines range-specific requests and the rules for constructing and combining responses to those requests.
Discussion of this draft should take place on the HTTPBIS working group mailing list (email@example.com), which is archived at <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/>.
The current issues list is at <http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/report/3> and related documents (including fancy diffs) can be found at <http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/>.
The changes in this draft are summarized in Appendix D.20.
This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.
Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.
Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as “work in progress”.
This Internet-Draft will expire on September 13, 2012.
Copyright © 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.
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This document may contain material from IETF Documents or IETF Contributions published or made publicly available before November 10, 2008. The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this material may not have granted the IETF Trust the right to allow modifications of such material outside the IETF Standards Process. Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling the copyright in such materials, this document may not be modified outside the IETF Standards Process, and derivative works of it may not be created outside the IETF Standards Process, except to format it for publication as an RFC or to translate it into languages other than English.
HTTP clients often encounter interrupted data transfers as a result of cancelled requests or dropped connections. When a client has stored a partial representation, it is desirable to request the remainder of that representation in a subsequent request rather than transfer the entire representation. There are also a number of Web applications that benefit from being able to request only a subset of a larger representation, such as a single page of a very large document or only part of an image to be rendered by a device with limited local storage.
This document defines HTTP/1.1 range requests, partial responses, and the multipart/byteranges media type. The protocol for range requests is an OPTIONAL feature of HTTP, designed so resources or recipients that do not implement this feature can respond as if it is a normal GET request without impacting interoperability. Partial responses are indicated by a distinct status code to not be mistaken for full responses by intermediate caches that might not implement the feature.
Although the HTTP range request mechanism is designed to allow for extensible range types, this specification only defines requests for byte ranges.
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].
This document defines conformance criteria for several roles in HTTP communication, including Senders, Recipients, Clients, Servers, User-Agents, Origin Servers, Intermediaries, Proxies and Gateways. See Section 2 of [Part1] for definitions of these terms.
An implementation is considered conformant if it complies with all of the requirements associated with its role(s). Note that SHOULD-level requirements are relevant here, unless one of the documented exceptions is applicable.
This document also uses ABNF to define valid protocol elements (Section 1.2). In addition to the prose requirements placed upon them, Senders MUST NOT generate protocol elements that are invalid.
Unless noted otherwise, Recipients MAY take steps to recover a usable protocol element from an invalid construct. However, HTTP does not define specific error handling mechanisms, except in cases where it has direct impact on security. This is because different uses of the protocol require different error handling strategies; for example, a Web browser may wish to transparently recover from a response where the Location header field doesn't parse according to the ABNF, whereby in a systems control protocol using HTTP, this type of error recovery could lead to dangerous consequences.
This specification uses the Augmented Backus-Naur Form (ABNF) notation of [RFC5234] with the list rule extension defined in Section 1.2 of [Part1]. Appendix C shows the collected ABNF with the list rule expanded.
The following core rules are included by reference, as defined in [RFC5234], Appendix B.1: ALPHA (letters), CR (carriage return), CRLF (CR LF), CTL (controls), DIGIT (decimal 0-9), DQUOTE (double quote), HEXDIG (hexadecimal 0-9/A-F/a-f), LF (line feed), OCTET (any 8-bit sequence of data), SP (space), and VCHAR (any visible US-ASCII character).
OWS = <OWS, defined in [Part1], Section 3.2.1> token = <token, defined in [Part1], Section 3.2.4> HTTP-date = <HTTP-date, defined in [Part2], Section 8>
The ABNF rules below are defined in other parts:
entity-tag = <entity-tag, defined in [Part4], Section 2.3>
HTTP/1.1 allows a client to request that only part (a range) of the representation be included within the response. HTTP/1.1 uses range units in the Range (Section 5.4) and Content-Range (Section 5.2) header fields. A representation can be broken down into subranges according to various structural units.
range-unit = bytes-unit / other-range-unit bytes-unit = "bytes" other-range-unit = token
HTTP/1.1 has been designed to allow implementations of applications that do not depend on knowledge of ranges. The only range unit defined by HTTP/1.1 is "bytes". Additional specifiers can be defined as described in Section 2.1.
If a range unit is not understood in a request, a server MUST ignore the whole Range header field (Section 5.4). If a range unit is not understood in a response, an intermediary SHOULD pass the response to the client; a client MUST fail.
The HTTP Range Specifier Registry defines the name space for the range specifier names.
Registrations MUST include the following fields:
The registry itself is maintained at <http://www.iana.org/assignments/http-range-specifiers>.
The server has fulfilled the partial GET request for the resource. The request MUST have included a Range header field (Section 5.4) indicating the desired range, and MAY have included an If-Range header field (Section 5.3) to make the request conditional.
The response MUST include the following header fields:
If the 206 response is the result of an If-Range request, the response SHOULD NOT include other representation header fields. Otherwise, the response MUST include all of the representation header fields that would have been returned with a 200 (OK) response to the same request.
A server SHOULD return a response with this status code if a request included a Range header field (Section 5.4), and none of the ranges-specifier values in this field overlap the current extent of the selected resource, and the request did not include an If-Range header field (Section 5.3). (For byte-ranges, this means that the first-byte-pos of all of the byte-range-spec values were greater than the current length of the selected resource.)
When this status code is returned for a byte-range request, the response SHOULD include a Content-Range header field specifying the current length of the representation (see Section 5.2). This response MUST NOT use the multipart/byteranges content-type. For example,
HTTP/1.1 416 Requested Range Not Satisfiable Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2012 15:41:54 GMT Content-Range: bytes */47022 Content-Type: image/gif
Note: Clients cannot depend on servers to send a 416 (Requested range not satisfiable) response instead of a 200 (OK) response for an unsatisfiable Range header field, since not all servers implement this header field.
When an HTTP message includes the content of a single range (for example, a response to a request for a single range, or to a request for a set of ranges that overlap without any holes), this content is transmitted with a Content-Range header field, and a Content-Length header field showing the number of bytes actually transferred. For example,
HTTP/1.1 206 Partial Content Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 06:25:24 GMT Last-Modified: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 04:58:08 GMT Content-Range: bytes 21010-47021/47022 Content-Length: 26012 Content-Type: image/gif
When an HTTP message includes the content of multiple ranges (for example, a response to a request for multiple non-overlapping ranges), these are transmitted as a multipart message. The multipart media type used for this purpose is "multipart/byteranges" as defined in Appendix A.
A server MAY combine requested ranges when those ranges are overlapping (see Section 7).
A response to a request for a single range MUST NOT be sent using the multipart/byteranges media type. A response to a request for multiple ranges, whose result is a single range, MAY be sent as a multipart/byteranges media type with one part. A client that cannot decode a multipart/byteranges message MUST NOT ask for multiple ranges in a single request.
When a client requests multiple ranges in one request, the server SHOULD return them in the order that they appeared in the request.
A response might transfer only a subrange of a representation if the connection closed prematurely or if the request used one or more Range specifications. After several such transfers, a client might have received several ranges of the same representation. These ranges can only be safely combined if they all have in common the same strong validator, where "strong validator" is defined to be either an entity-tag that is not marked as weak (Section 2.3 of [Part4]) or, if no entity-tag is provided, a Last-Modified value that is strong in the sense defined by Section 2.2.2 of [Part4].
When a client receives an incomplete 200 (OK) or 206 (Partial Content) response and already has one or more stored responses for the same method and effective request URI, all of the stored responses with the same strong validator MAY be combined with the partial content in this new response. If none of the stored responses contain the same strong validator, then this new response corresponds to a new representation and MUST NOT be combined with the existing stored responses.
If the new response is an incomplete 200 (OK) response, then the header fields of that new response are used for any combined response and replace those of the matching stored responses.
If the new response is a 206 (Partial Content) response and at least one of the matching stored responses is a 200 (OK), then the combined response header fields consist of the most recent 200 response's header fields. If all of the matching stored responses are 206 responses, then the stored response with the most header fields is used as the source of header fields for the combined response, except that the client MUST use other header fields provided in the new response, aside from Content-Range, to replace all instances of the corresponding header fields in the stored response.
The combined response message body consists of the union of partial content ranges in the new response and each of the selected responses. If the union consists of the entire range of the representation, then the combined response MUST be recorded as a complete 200 (OK) response with a Content-Length header field that reflects the complete length. Otherwise, the combined response(s) MUST include a Content-Range header field describing the included range(s) and be recorded as incomplete. If the union consists of a discontinuous range of the representation, then the client MAY store it as either a multipart range response or as multiple 206 responses with one continuous range each.
This section defines the syntax and semantics of HTTP/1.1 header fields related to range requests and partial responses.
The "Accept-Ranges" header field allows a resource to indicate its acceptance of range requests.
Accept-Ranges = acceptable-ranges acceptable-ranges = 1#range-unit / "none"
Origin servers that accept byte-range requests MAY send
but are not required to do so. Clients MAY generate range requests without having received this header field for the resource involved. Range units are defined in Section 2.
Servers that do not accept any kind of range request for a resource MAY send
to advise the client not to attempt a range request.
The "Content-Range" header field is sent with a partial representation to specify where in the full representation the payload body is intended to be applied.
Range units are defined in Section 2.
Content-Range = byte-content-range-spec / other-content-range-spec byte-content-range-spec = bytes-unit SP byte-range-resp-spec "/" ( instance-length / "*" ) byte-range-resp-spec = (first-byte-pos "-" last-byte-pos) / "*" instance-length = 1*DIGIT other-content-range-spec = other-range-unit SP other-range-resp-spec other-range-resp-spec = *CHAR
The header field SHOULD indicate the total length of the full representation, unless this length is unknown or difficult to determine. The asterisk "*" character means that the instance-length is unknown at the time when the response was generated.
Unlike byte-ranges-specifier values (see Section 5.4.1), a byte-range-resp-spec MUST only specify one range, and MUST contain absolute byte positions for both the first and last byte of the range.
A byte-content-range-spec with a byte-range-resp-spec whose last-byte-pos value is less than its first-byte-pos value, or whose instance-length value is less than or equal to its last-byte-pos value, is invalid. The recipient of an invalid byte-content-range-spec MUST ignore it and any content transferred along with it.
In the case of a byte range request: A server sending a response with status code 416 (Requested range not satisfiable) SHOULD include a Content-Range field with a byte-range-resp-spec of "*". The instance-length specifies the current length of the selected resource. A response with status code 206 (Partial Content) MUST NOT include a Content-Range field with a byte-range-resp-spec of "*".
The "Content-Range" header field has no meaning for status codes that do not explicitly describe its semantic. Currently, only status codes 206 (Partial Content) and 416 (Requested range not satisfiable) describe the meaning of this header field.
Examples of byte-content-range-spec values, assuming that the representation contains a total of 1234 bytes:
If the server ignores a byte-range-spec (for example if it is syntactically invalid, or if it may be seen as a denial-of-service attack), the server SHOULD treat the request as if the invalid Range header field did not exist. (Normally, this means return a 200 response containing the full representation).
If a client has a partial copy of a representation and wishes to have an up-to-date copy of the entire representation, it could use the Range header field with a conditional GET (using either or both of If-Unmodified-Since and If-Match.) However, if the condition fails because the representation has been modified, the client would then have to make a second request to obtain the entire current representation.
The "If-Range" header field allows a client to "short-circuit" the second request. Informally, its meaning is "if the representation is unchanged, send me the part(s) that I am missing; otherwise, send me the entire new representation".
Clients MUST NOT use an entity-tag marked as weak in an If-Range field value and MUST NOT use a Last-Modified date in an If-Range field value unless it has no entity-tag for the representation and the Last-Modified date it does have for the representation is strong in the sense defined by Section 2.2.2 of [Part4].
A server that evaluates a conditional range request that is applicable to one of its representations MUST evaluate the condition as false if the entity-tag used as a validator is marked as weak or, when an HTTP-date is used as the validator, if the date value is not strong in the sense defined by Section 2.2.2 of [Part4]. (A server can distinguish between a valid HTTP-date and any form of entity-tag by examining the first two characters.)
The If-Range header field SHOULD only be sent by clients together with a Range header field. The If-Range header field MUST be ignored if it is received in a request that does not include a Range header field. The If-Range header field MUST be ignored by a server that does not support the sub-range operation.
If the validator given in the If-Range header field matches the current validator for the selected representation of the target resource, then the server SHOULD send the specified sub-range of the representation using a 206 (Partial Content) response. If the validator does not match, then the server SHOULD send the entire representation using a 200 (OK) response.
Since all HTTP representations are transferred as sequences of bytes, the concept of a byte range is meaningful for any HTTP representation. (However, not all clients and servers need to support byte-range operations.)
Byte range specifications in HTTP apply to the sequence of bytes in the representation body (not necessarily the same as the message body).
A byte range operation MAY specify a single range of bytes, or a set of ranges within a single representation.
byte-ranges-specifier = bytes-unit "=" byte-range-set byte-range-set = 1#( byte-range-spec / suffix-byte-range-spec ) byte-range-spec = first-byte-pos "-" [ last-byte-pos ] first-byte-pos = 1*DIGIT last-byte-pos = 1*DIGIT
The first-byte-pos value in a byte-range-spec gives the byte-offset of the first byte in a range. The last-byte-pos value gives the byte-offset of the last byte in the range; that is, the byte positions specified are inclusive. Byte offsets start at zero.
If the last-byte-pos value is present, it MUST be greater than or equal to the first-byte-pos in that byte-range-spec, or the byte-range-spec is syntactically invalid. The recipient of a byte-range-set that includes one or more syntactically invalid byte-range-spec values MUST ignore the header field that includes that byte-range-set.
If the last-byte-pos value is absent, or if the value is greater than or equal to the current length of the representation body, last-byte-pos is taken to be equal to one less than the current length of the representation in bytes.
By its choice of last-byte-pos, a client can limit the number of bytes retrieved without knowing the size of the representation.
A suffix-byte-range-spec is used to specify the suffix of the representation body, of a length given by the suffix-length value. (That is, this form specifies the last N bytes of a representation.) If the representation is shorter than the specified suffix-length, the entire representation is used.
If a syntactically valid byte-range-set includes at least one byte-range-spec whose first-byte-pos is less than the current length of the representation, or at least one suffix-byte-range-spec with a non-zero suffix-length, then the byte-range-set is satisfiable. Otherwise, the byte-range-set is unsatisfiable. If the byte-range-set is unsatisfiable, the server SHOULD return a response with a 416 (Requested range not satisfiable) status code. Otherwise, the server SHOULD return a response with a 206 (Partial Content) status code containing the satisfiable ranges of the representation.
Examples of byte-ranges-specifier values (assuming a representation of length 10000):
The "Range" header field defines the GET method (conditional or not) to request one or more sub-ranges of the response representation body, instead of the entire representation body.
Range = byte-ranges-specifier / other-ranges-specifier other-ranges-specifier = other-range-unit "=" other-range-set other-range-set = 1*CHAR
A server MAY ignore the Range header field. However, origin servers and intermediate caches ought to support byte ranges when possible, since Range supports efficient recovery from partially failed transfers, and supports efficient partial retrieval of large representations.
If the server supports the Range header field and the specified range or ranges are appropriate for the representation:
In some cases, it might be more appropriate to use the If-Range header field (see Section 5.3) in addition to the Range header field.
If a proxy that supports ranges receives a Range request, forwards the request to an inbound server, and receives an entire representation in reply, it MAY only return the requested range to its client.
The HTTP Status Code Registry located at <http://www.iana.org/assignments/http-status-codes> shall be updated with the registrations below:
The Message Header Field Registry located at <http://www.iana.org/assignments/message-headers/message-header-index.html> shall be updated with the permanent registrations below (see [RFC3864]):
|Header Field Name||Protocol||Status||Reference|
The change controller is: "IETF (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Internet Engineering Task Force".
The registration procedure for HTTP Range Specifiers is defined by Section 2.1 of this document.
The HTTP Range Specifier Registry shall be created at <http://www.iana.org/assignments/http-range-specifiers> and be populated with the registrations below:
|Range Specifier Name||Description||Reference|
|bytes||a range of octets||(this specification)|
The change controller is: "IETF (email@example.com) - Internet Engineering Task Force".
This section is meant to inform application developers, information providers, and users of the security limitations in HTTP/1.1 as described by this document. The discussion does not include definitive solutions to the problems revealed, though it does make some suggestions for reducing security risks.
|[Part1]||Fielding, R., Ed., Lafon, Y., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “HTTP/1.1, part 1: URIs, Connections, and Message Parsing”, Internet-Draft draft-ietf-httpbis-p1-messaging-19 (work in progress), March 2012.|
|[Part2]||Fielding, R., Ed., Lafon, Y., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “HTTP/1.1, part 2: Message Semantics”, Internet-Draft draft-ietf-httpbis-p2-semantics-19 (work in progress), March 2012.|
|[Part4]||Fielding, R., Ed., Lafon, Y., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “HTTP/1.1, part 4: Conditional Requests”, Internet-Draft draft-ietf-httpbis-p4-conditional-19 (work in progress), March 2012.|
|[Part6]||Fielding, R., Ed., Lafon, Y., Ed., Nottingham, M., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “HTTP/1.1, part 6: Caching”, Internet-Draft draft-ietf-httpbis-p6-cache-19 (work in progress), March 2012.|
|[RFC2046]||Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, “Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types”, RFC 2046, November 1996.|
|[RFC2119]||Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels”, BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.|
|[RFC5234]||Crocker, D., Ed. and P. Overell, “Augmented BNF for Syntax Specifications: ABNF”, STD 68, RFC 5234, January 2008.|
|[RFC2616]||Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H., Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, “Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1”, RFC 2616, June 1999.|
|[RFC3864]||Klyne, G., Nottingham, M., and J. Mogul, “Registration Procedures for Message Header Fields”, BCP 90, RFC 3864, September 2004.|
|[RFC4288]||Freed, N. and J. Klensin, “Media Type Specifications and Registration Procedures”, BCP 13, RFC 4288, December 2005.|
|[RFC5226]||Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, “Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs”, BCP 26, RFC 5226, May 2008.|
When an HTTP 206 (Partial Content) response message includes the content of multiple ranges (a response to a request for multiple non-overlapping ranges), these are transmitted as a multipart message body ([RFC2046], Section 5.1). The media type for this purpose is called "multipart/byteranges". The following is to be registered with IANA [RFC4288].
Note: Despite the name "multipart/byteranges" is not limited to the byte ranges only.
The multipart/byteranges media type includes one or more parts, each with its own Content-Type and Content-Range fields. The required boundary parameter specifies the boundary string used to separate each body-part.
HTTP/1.1 206 Partial Content Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 06:25:24 GMT Last-Modified: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 04:58:08 GMT Content-type: multipart/byteranges; boundary=THIS_STRING_SEPARATES --THIS_STRING_SEPARATES Content-type: application/pdf Content-range: bytes 500-999/8000 ...the first range... --THIS_STRING_SEPARATES Content-type: application/pdf Content-range: bytes 7000-7999/8000 ...the second range --THIS_STRING_SEPARATES--
HTTP/1.1 206 Partial Content Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 06:25:24 GMT Last-Modified: Tue, 14 July 04:58:08 GMT Content-type: multipart/byteranges; boundary=THIS_STRING_SEPARATES --THIS_STRING_SEPARATES Content-type: video/example Content-range: exampleunit 1.2-4.3/25 ...the first range... --THIS_STRING_SEPARATES Content-type: video/example Content-range: exampleunit 11.2-14.3/25 ...the second range --THIS_STRING_SEPARATES--
Clarify that it is not ok to use a weak validator in a 206 response. (Section 3.1)
Change ABNF productions for header fields to only define the field value. (Section 5)
Clarify that multipart/byteranges can consist of a single part. (Appendix A)
Accept-Ranges = acceptable-ranges Content-Range = byte-content-range-spec / other-content-range-spec HTTP-date = <HTTP-date, defined in [Part2], Section 8> If-Range = entity-tag / HTTP-date OWS = <OWS, defined in [Part1], Section 3.2.1> Range = byte-ranges-specifier / other-ranges-specifier acceptable-ranges = ( *( "," OWS ) range-unit *( OWS "," [ OWS range-unit ] ) ) / "none" byte-content-range-spec = bytes-unit SP byte-range-resp-spec "/" ( instance-length / "*" ) byte-range-resp-spec = ( first-byte-pos "-" last-byte-pos ) / "*" byte-range-set = ( *( "," OWS ) byte-range-spec ) / ( suffix-byte-range-spec *( OWS "," [ ( OWS byte-range-spec ) / suffix-byte-range-spec ] ) ) byte-range-spec = first-byte-pos "-" [ last-byte-pos ] byte-ranges-specifier = bytes-unit "=" byte-range-set bytes-unit = "bytes" entity-tag = <entity-tag, defined in [Part4], Section 2.3> first-byte-pos = 1*DIGIT instance-length = 1*DIGIT last-byte-pos = 1*DIGIT other-content-range-spec = other-range-unit SP other-range-resp-spec other-range-resp-spec = *CHAR other-range-set = 1*CHAR other-range-unit = token other-ranges-specifier = other-range-unit "=" other-range-set range-unit = bytes-unit / other-range-unit suffix-byte-range-spec = "-" suffix-length suffix-length = 1*DIGIT token = <token, defined in [Part1], Section 3.2.4>
; Accept-Ranges defined but not used ; Content-Range defined but not used ; If-Range defined but not used ; Range defined but not used
Ongoing work on ABNF conversion (<http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/36>):
Ongoing work on IANA Message Header Field Registration (<http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/40>):
Ongoing work on ABNF conversion (<http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/36>):
Ongoing work on Custom Ranges (<http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/85>):
Final work on ABNF conversion (<http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/36>):
Ongoing work on Custom Ranges (<http://tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/85>):