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10.7 Expires Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
10.7 Expires

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10.7 Expires

10.7 Expires

The Expires entity-header field gives the date/time after which the entity should be considered stale. This allows information providers to suggest the volatility of the resource, or a date after which the information may no longer be valid. Applications must not cache this entity beyond the date given. The presence of an Expires field does not imply that the original resource will change or cease to exist at, before, or after that time. However, information providers that know or even suspect that a resource will change by a certain date should include an Expires header with that date. The format is an absolute date and time as defined by HTTP-date in Section 3.3.

       Expires        = "Expires" ":" HTTP-date

An example of its use is

       Expires: Thu, 01 Dec 1994 16:00:00 GMT

If the date given is equal to or earlier than the value of the Date header, the recipient must not cache the enclosed entity. If a resource is dynamic by nature, as is the case with many data- producing processes, entities from that resource should be given an appropriate Expires value which reflects that dynamism.

The Expires field cannot be used to force a user agent to refresh its display or reload a resource; its semantics apply only to caching mechanisms, and such mechanisms need only check a resource's expiration status when a new request for that resource is initiated.

User agents often have history mechanisms, such as "Back" buttons and history lists, which can be used to redisplay an entity retrieved earlier in a session. By default, the Expires field does not apply to history mechanisms. If the entity is still in storage, a history mechanism should display it even if the entity has expired, unless the user has specifically configured the agent to refresh expired history documents.

    Note: Applications are encouraged to be tolerant of bad or misinformed implementations of the Expires header. A value of zero (0) or an invalid date format should be considered equivalent to an "expires immediately." Although these values are not legitimate for HTTP/1.0, a robust implementation is always desirable.


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Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
10.7 Expires

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