7.2 Entity Body

The entity-body (if any) sent with an HTTP request or response is in a format and encoding defined by the entity-header fields.



An entity-body is only present in a message when a message-body is present, as described in Section 4.3. The entity-body is obtained from the message-body by decoding any Transfer-Encoding that might have been applied to ensure safe and proper transfer of the message.

7.2.1 Type

When an entity-body is included with a message, the data type of that body is determined via the header fields Content-Type and Content- Encoding. These define a two-layer, ordered encoding model:


:= Content-Encoding( Content-Type( data )

entity-body := Content-Encoding( Content-Type( data ) ) Content-Type specifies the media type of the underlying data. Content-Encoding may be used to indicate any additional content codings applied to the data, usually for the purpose of data compression, that are a property of the requested resource. There is no default encoding.

Any HTTP/1.1 message containing an entity-body SHOULD include a Content-Type header field defining the media type of that body. If and only if the media type is not given by a Content-Type field, the recipient MAY attempt to guess the media type via inspection of its content and/or the name extension(s) of the URI used to identify the resource. If the media type remains unknown, the recipient SHOULD treat it as type "application/octet-stream".

7.2.2 Entity Length

The entity-length of a message is the length of the message-body before any transfer-codings have been applied. Section 4.4 defines how the transfer-length of a message-body is determined.