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3.1 HTTP Version Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
3.1 HTTP Version

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3.1 HTTP Version

3.1 HTTP Version

HTTP uses a "<major>.<minor>" numbering scheme to indicate versions of the protocol. The protocol versioning policy is intended to allow the sender to indicate the format of a message and its capacity for understanding further HTTP communication, rather than the features obtained via that communication. No change is made to the version number for the addition of message components which do not affect communication behavior or which only add to extensible field values. The <minor> number is incremented when the changes made to the protocol add features which do not change the general message parsing algorithm, but which may add to the message semantics and imply additional capabilities of the sender. The <major> number is incremented when the format of a message within the protocol is changed.

The version of an HTTP message is indicated by an HTTP-Version field in the first line of the message. If the protocol version is not specified, the recipient must assume that the message is in the simple HTTP/0.9 format.

       HTTP-Version   = "HTTP" "/" 1*DIGIT "." 1*DIGIT

Note that the major and minor numbers should be treated as separate integers and that each may be incremented higher than a single digit. Thus, HTTP/2.4 is a lower version than HTTP/2.13, which in turn is lower than HTTP/12.3. Leading zeros should be ignored by recipients and never generated by senders.

This document defines both the 0.9 and 1.0 versions of the HTTP protocol. Applications sending Full-Request or Full-Response messages, as defined by this specification, must include an HTTP- Version of "HTTP/1.0".

HTTP/1.0 servers must:

  • recognize the format of the Request-Line for HTTP/0.9 and HTTP/1.0 requests;

  • understand any valid request in the format of HTTP/0.9 or HTTP/1.0;

  • respond appropriately with a message in the same protocol version used by the client.

HTTP/1.0 clients must:

  • recognize the format of the Status-Line for HTTP/1.0 responses;

  • understand any valid response in the format of HTTP/0.9 or HTTP/1.0.

Proxy and gateway applications must be careful in forwarding requests that are received in a format different than that of the application's native HTTP version. Since the protocol version indicates the protocol capability of the sender, a proxy/gateway must never send a message with a version indicator which is greater than its native version; if a higher version request is received, the proxy/gateway must either downgrade the request version or respond with an error. Requests with a version lower than that of the application's native format may be upgraded before being forwarded; the proxy/gateway's response to that request must follow the server requirements listed above.

Next: 3.2 Uniform Resource Identifiers

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
3.1 HTTP Version


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