Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)J. Reschke
Request for Comments: 7238greenbytes
Category: ExperimentalOctober 2014
ISSN: 2070-1721

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol Status Code 308 (Permanent Redirect)

Abstract

This document specifies the additional Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) status code 308 (Permanent Redirect).

Editorial Note (To be removed by RFC Editor before publication)

Distribution of this document is unlimited. Although this is not a work item of the HTTPbis Working Group, comments should be sent to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) mailing list at ietf-http-wg@w3.org, which may be joined by sending a message with subject "subscribe" to ietf-http-wg-request@w3.org.

Discussions of the HTTPbis Working Group are archived at <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/>.

XML versions, latest edits, and the issues list for this document are available from <http://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/#draft-reschke-http-status-308>.

This is a temporary document for the purpose of tracking the editorial changes made during the AUTH48 (RFC publication) phase.

Status of This Memo

This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is published for examination, experimental implementation, and evaluation.

This document defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet community. This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Not all documents approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7238.

Copyright Notice

Copyright © 2014 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.

This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

HTTP defines a set of status codes for the purpose of redirecting a request to a different URI ([RFC3986]). The history of these status codes is summarized in Section 6.4 of [RFC7231], which also classifies the existing status codes into four categories.

The first of these categories contains the status codes 301 (Moved Permanently), 302 (Found), and 307 (Temporary Redirect), which can be classified as below:

PermanentTemporary
Allows changing the request method from POST to GET301302
Does not allow changing the request method from POST to GET-307

Section 6.4.7 of [RFC7231] states that HTTP does not define a permanent variant of status code 307; this specification adds the status code 308, defining this missing variant (Section 3).

2. Notational Conventions

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].

3. 308 Permanent Redirect

The 308 (Permanent Redirect) status code indicates that the target resource has been assigned a new permanent URI and any future references to this resource ought to use one of the enclosed URIs. Clients with link editing capabilities ought to automatically re-link references to the effective request URI (Section 5.5 of [RFC7230]) to one or more of the new references sent by the server, where possible.

The server SHOULD generate a Location header field ([RFC7231], Section 7.1.2) in the response containing a preferred URI reference for the new permanent URI. The user agent MAY use the Location field value for automatic redirection. The server's response payload usually contains a short hypertext note with a hyperlink to the new URI(s).

A 308 response is cacheable by default; i.e., unless otherwise indicated by the method definition or explicit cache controls (see [RFC7234], Section 4.2.2).

Note: This status code is similar to 301 (Moved Permanently) ([RFC7231], Section 6.4.2), except that it does not allow changing the request method from POST to GET.

4. Deployment Considerations

Section 6 of [RFC7231] requires recipients to treat unknown 3xx status codes the same way as status code 300 Multiple Choices ([RFC7231], Section 6.4.1). Thus, servers will not be able to rely on automatic redirection happening similar to status codes 301, 302, or 307.

Therefore, initial use of status code 308 will be restricted to cases where the server has sufficient confidence in the client's understanding the new code or when a fallback to the semantics of status code 300 is not problematic. Server implementers are advised not to vary the status code based on characteristics of the request, such as the User-Agent header field ("User-Agent Sniffing") — doing so usually results in code that is both hard to maintain and hard to debug and would also require special attention to caching (i.e., setting a "Vary" response header field, as defined in Section 7.1.4 of [RFC7231]).

Note that many existing HTML-based user agents will emulate a refresh when encountering an HTML <meta> refresh directive ([HTML]). This can be used as another fallback. For example:

Client request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com

Server response:

HTTP/1.1 308 Permanent Redirect
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Location: http://example.com/new
Content-Length: 454

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
                      "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<html>
   <head>
      <title>Permanent Redirect</title>
      <meta http-equiv="refresh" 
            content="0; url=http://example.com/new">
   </head>
   <body>
      <p>
         The document has been moved to
         <a href="http://example.com/new"
         >http://example.com/new</a>.
      </p>
   </body>
</html>

5. Security Considerations

All security considerations that apply to HTTP redirects apply to the 308 status code as well (see Section 9 of [RFC7231]).

6. IANA Considerations

The registration below has been added to the "Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Status Code Registry" (defined in Section 8.2 of [RFC7231] and located at <http://www.iana.org/assignments/http-status-codes>):

ValueDescriptionReference
308Permanent RedirectSection 3 of this specification

7. Acknowledgements

The definition for the new status code 308 reuses text from the HTTP/1.1 definitions of status codes 301 and 307.

Furthermore, thanks to Ben Campbell, Cyrus Daboo, Eran Hammer-Lahav, Bjoern Hoehrmann, Subramanian Moonesamy, Peter Saint-Andre, and Robert Sparks for feedback on this document.

8. References

8.1 Normative References

[RFC2119]Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels”, BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC3986]Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, “Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax”, STD 66, RFC 3986, January 2005.
[RFC7230]Fielding, R., Ed. and J. Reschke, Ed., “Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Message Syntax and Routing”, RFC 7230, June 2014.
[RFC7231]Fielding, R., Ed. and J. Reschke, Ed., “Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Semantics and Content”, RFC 7231, June 2014.
[RFC7234]Fielding, R., Ed., Nottingham, M., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Caching”, RFC 7234, June 2014.

8.2 Informative References

[HTML]Raggett, D., Le Hors, A., and I. Jacobs, “HTML 4.01 Specification”, W3C Recommendation REC-html401-19991224, December 1999, <http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224>.
Latest version available at <http://www.w3.org/TR/html401>.

Author's Address

Julian F. Reschke
greenbytes GmbH
Hafenweg 16
Muenster, NW 48155
Germany
Email: julian.reschke@greenbytes.de
URI: http://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/