Sun Java System Web Server 6.1 SP6 NSAPI Programmer's Guide

HTTP Basics

As a quick summary, the HTTP/1.1 protocol works as follows:

GET /index.html HTTP/1.0
User-agent: Mozilla
Accept: text/html, text/plain, image/jpeg, image/gif, */*

The server receives the request and processes it. It handles each request individually, although it may process many requests simultaneously. Each request is broken down into a series of steps that together make up the request-handling process.

The server generates a response that includes the HTTP protocol version, HTTP status code, and a reason phrase separated by spaces. This is normally followed by a number of headers. The end of the headers is indicated by a blank line. The body data of the response follows. A typical HTTP response might look like this:

HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Server: Sun-Java System-Web-Server/6.1
content-type: text/html
Content-length: 83

<HEAD><TITLE>Hello World</Title></HEAD>
<BODY>Hello World</BODY>

The status code and reason phrase tell the client how the server handled the request. Normally the status code 200 is returned, indicating that the request was handled successfully and the body data contains the requested item. Other result codes indicate redirection to another server or the browser’s cache, or various types of HTTP errors such as 404 Not Found.