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


2 Answers 2


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.

  • 1
    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 Jul 28, 2010 at 22:54
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    Are there still browsers that actually do HTTP 1.0?
    – Pacerier
    Mar 9, 2013 at 4:44
  • Lots of user agents use HTTP 1.0. People using web browsers will use HTTP 1.1 or 2.0 where possible but they may access via a proxy that only supports HTTP 1.0. Crawlers or bots may use HTTP 1.0. Simple clients like wget use HTTP 1.0. Note that there is no effort server-side required to support HTTP 1.0 clients, because a HTTP 1.1 compliant server will support HTTP 1.0 clients (HTTP 1.1 is built to be a progressive enhancement on top of HTTP 1.0; non-compatible features such as chunked encoding and keep-alive default to off for HTTP 1.0 requests). Apr 4, 2018 at 2:16
  • Is Host the only required request header in HTTP/1.1?
    – nog642
    Feb 21 at 18:10

None of the HTTP Headers are required in an HTTP/1.0 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.
    – user219882
    Nov 27, 2012 at 11:27
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    Correct, but there's no requirement that a client use HTTP/1.1 in the first place.
    – Chris S
    Nov 27, 2012 at 14:45
  • 2
    Content-Length or Transfer-Encoding are only mandatory if an entity is delivered with the request or response, and in many cases a request or response will lack an entity (like a GET request, or a 302 response). Sep 19, 2014 at 22:44
  • 6
    I cant downvote but this answer is wrong. Please fix or remove. Nov 9, 2016 at 9:26
  • 4
    I agree with vikingsteve. Your answer implies that HTTP 1.1 does not have any required headers. Jan 2, 2017 at 22:15

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