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What is the mandatory information a HTTP Request Header must contain ?

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3 Answers

GET / HTTP/1.0 is a legal HTTP request.

If there's no Host header field, you may not get the results you were hoping for if the destination server is a virtual host that doesn't have its own IP address to distinguish itself from other virtual hosts.

HTTP 1.1 requires the Host field.

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I did a bit research myself and you are right @gbroiles. For Name Based Virtual Hosting a Browser with HTTP 1.1 is required in general. The browsers sends the hostname in the host header and the Web server serves name based virtual hosts if configured. With older browsers and HTTP 1.0 that is somewhat possible, but you need a workaround like apache's ServerPath Directive. Luckily newer browsers implement extensions when using HTTP 1.0 to ensure sending the host header field. w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec14.html –  Stephan Kristyn Jul 28 '10 at 22:54
Are there still browsers that actually do HTTP 1.0? –  Pacerier Mar 9 '13 at 4:44
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None of the HTTP Headers are required in a Request. There are no required Response headers either.

All that and more in HTTP 1.1 - RFC 2616

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You're mistaken. According to the RFC you linked here: "A client MUST include a Host header field in all HTTP/1.1 request messages". So the Host header is mandatory. –  Tomas Nov 27 '12 at 11:27
Correct, but there's no requirement that a client use HTTP/1.1 in the first place. –  Chris S Nov 27 '12 at 14:45
Content-Length or Transfer-Encoding is mandatory (either of them must be present) –  Roel van Uden Jun 16 '13 at 15:57
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That is not HTTP header information, it is TCP/IP packet header information.

Port and sequence numbers are used to deliver packets which is at a much lower level than HTTP. HTTP is an application level protocol and its headers don't deal with anything at the packet level.

What are you trying to do or look for?

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You are right, my example above is from a TCP header. Like I said I look for the mandatory absolute minimum required fields a HTTP request header needs to contain like Host, Accept-Encoding, User-Agent, Date, Content-Length, Connection, Authorization –  Stephan Kristyn Jul 23 '10 at 18:44
@user49173 Ok, just looked like you were confusing them since you don't mention anything about packet headers in the question. –  squillman Jul 23 '10 at 18:45
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