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14.45 Warning Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
14.45 Warning

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14.45 Warning

14.45 Warning

The Warning response-header field is used to carry additional information about the status of a response which may not be reflected by the response status code. This information is typically, though not exclusively, used to warn about a possible lack of semantic transparency from caching operations.

Warning headers are sent with responses using:

          Warning    = "Warning" ":" 1#warning-value

          warning-value = warn-code SP warn-agent SP warn-text
          warn-code  = 2DIGIT
          warn-agent = ( host [ ":" port ] ) | pseudonym
                          ; the name or pseudonym of the server adding
                          ; the Warning header, for use in debugging
          warn-text  = quoted-string

A response may carry more than one Warning header.

The warn-text should be in a natural language and character set that is most likely to be intelligible to the human user receiving the response. This decision may be based on any available knowledge, such as the location of the cache or user, the Accept-Language field in a request, the Content-Language field in a response, etc. The default language is English and the default character set is ISO- 8859-1.

If a character set other than ISO-8859-1 is used, it MUST be encoded in the warn-text using the method described in RFC 1522 [14].

Any server or cache may add Warning headers to a response. New Warning headers should be added after any existing Warning headers. A cache MUST NOT delete any Warning header that it received with a response. However, if a cache successfully validates a cache entry, it SHOULD remove any Warning headers previously attached to that entry except as specified for specific Warning codes. It MUST then add any Warning headers received in the validating response. In other words, Warning headers are those that would be attached to the most recent relevant response.

When multiple Warning headers are attached to a response, the user agent SHOULD display as many of them as possible, in the order that they appear in the response. If it is not possible to display all of the warnings, the user agent should follow these heuristics:

  • Warnings that appear early in the response take priority over those appearing later in the response.

  • Warnings in the user's preferred character set take priority over warnings in other character sets but with identical warn-codes and warn-agents.

Systems that generate multiple Warning headers should order them with this user agent behavior in mind.

This is a list of the currently-defined warn-codes, each with a recommended warn-text in English, and a description of its meaning.

10 Response is stale
MUST be included whenever the returned response is stale. A cache may add this warning to any response, but may never remove it until the response is known to be fresh.

11 Revalidation failed
MUST be included if a cache returns a stale response because an attempt to revalidate the response failed, due to an inability to reach the server. A cache may add this warning to any response, but may never remove it until the response is successfully revalidated.

12 Disconnected operation
SHOULD be included if the cache is intentionally disconnected from the rest of the network for a period of time.

13 Heuristic expiration
MUST be included if the cache heuristically chose a freshness lifetime greater than 24 hours and the response's age is greater than 24 hours.

14 Transformation applied
MUST be added by an intermediate cache or proxy if it applies any transformation changing the content-coding (as specified in the Content-Encoding header) or media-type (as specified in the Content-Type header) of the response, unless this Warning code already appears in the response. MUST NOT be deleted from a response even after revalidation.

99 Miscellaneous warning
The warning text may include arbitrary information to be presented to a human user, or logged. A system receiving this warning MUST NOT take any automated action.


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14.45 Warning

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