HTTP Working GroupM. Kleidl, Editor
Internet-DraftTransloadit
Intended status: Standards TrackG. Zhang, Editor
Expires: January 23, 2025Apple Inc.
L. Pardue, Editor
Cloudflare
July 22, 2024

Resumable Uploads for HTTP

Abstract

HTTP clients often encounter interrupted data transfers as a result of canceled requests or dropped connections. Prior to interruption, part of a representation may have been exchanged. To complete the data transfer of the entire representation, it is often desirable to issue subsequent requests that transfer only the remainder of the representation. HTTP range requests support this concept of resumable downloads from server to client. This document describes a mechanism that supports resumable uploads from client to server using HTTP.

About This Document

This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

Status information for this document may be found at <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-httpbis-resumable-upload/>.

Discussion of this document takes place on the HTTP Working Group mailing list (<mailto:ietf-http-wg@w3.org>), which is archived at <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/>. Working Group information can be found at <https://httpwg.org/>.

Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at <https://github.com/httpwg/http-extensions/labels/resumable-upload>.

Status of this Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

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This Internet-Draft will expire on January 23, 2025.

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1. Introduction

HTTP clients often encounter interrupted data transfers as a result of canceled requests or dropped connections. Prior to interruption, part of a representation (see Section 3.2 of [HTTP]) might have been exchanged. To complete the data transfer of the entire representation, it is often desirable to issue subsequent requests that transfer only the remainder of the representation. HTTP range requests (see Section 14 of [HTTP]) support this concept of resumable downloads from server to client.

HTTP methods such as POST or PUT can be used by clients to request processing of representation data enclosed in the request message. The transfer of representation data from client to server is often referred to as an upload. Uploads are just as likely as downloads to suffer from the effects of data transfer interruption. Humans can play a role in upload interruptions through manual actions such as pausing an upload. Regardless of the cause of an interruption, servers may have received part of the representation before its occurrence and it is desirable if clients can complete the data transfer by sending only the remainder of the representation. The process of sending additional parts of a representation using subsequent HTTP requests from client to server is herein referred to as a resumable upload.

Connection interruptions are common and the absence of a standard mechanism for resumable uploads has lead to a proliferation of custom solutions. Some of those use HTTP, while others rely on other transfer mechanisms entirely. An HTTP-based standard solution is desirable for such a common class of problem.

This document defines an optional mechanism for HTTP that enables resumable uploads in a way that is backwards-compatible with conventional HTTP uploads. When an upload is interrupted, clients can send subsequent requests to query the server state and use this information to send the remaining data. Alternatively, they can cancel the upload entirely. Different from ranged downloads, this protocol does not support transferring different parts of the same representation in parallel.


2. Conventions and Definitions

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

The terms Byte Sequence, Item, String, Token, Integer, and Boolean are imported from [STRUCTURED-FIELDS].

The terms client and server are from [HTTP].


3. Overview

Resumable uploads are supported in HTTP through use of a temporary resource, an upload resource, that is separate from the resource being uploaded to (hereafter, the target resource) and specific to that upload. By interacting with the upload resource, a client can retrieve the current offset of the upload (Section 5), append to the upload (Section 6), and cancel the upload (Section 7).

The remainder of this section uses an example of a file upload to illustrate different interactions with the upload resource. Note, however, that HTTP message exchanges use representation data (see Section 8.1 of [HTTP]), which means that resumable uploads can be used with many forms of content -- not just static files.

3.1. Example 1: Complete upload of file with known size

In this example, the client first attempts to upload a file with a known size in a single HTTP request to the target resource. An interruption occurs and the client then attempts to resume the upload using subsequent HTTP requests to the upload resource.

1) The client notifies the server that it wants to begin an upload (Section 4). The server reserves the required resources to accept the upload from the client, and the client begins transferring the entire file in the request content.

An informational response can be sent to the client, which signals the server's support of resumable upload as well as the upload resource URL via the Location header field (Section 10.2.2 of [HTTP]).

Client Server POST Reserve resources for upload 104 Upload Resumption Supported with upload resource URL Flow Interrupted

Figure 1: Upload Creation

2) If the connection to the server is interrupted, the client might want to resume the upload. However, before this is possible the client needs to know the amount of data that the server received before the interruption. It does so by retrieving the offset (Section 5) from the upload resource.

Client Server HEAD to upload resource URL 204 No Content with Upload-Offset

Figure 2: Offset Retrieval

3) The client can resume the upload by sending the remaining file content to the upload resource (Section 6), appending to the already stored data in the upload. The Upload-Offset value is included to ensure that the client and server agree on the offset that the upload resumes from.

Client Server PATCH to upload resource URL with Upload-Offset 201 Created on completion

Figure 3: Upload Append

4) If the client is not interested in completing the upload, it can instruct the upload resource to delete the upload and free all related resources (Section 7).

Client Server DELETE to upload resource URL 204 No Content on completion

Figure 4: Upload Cancellation

3.2. Example 2: Upload as a series of parts

In some cases, clients might prefer to upload a file as a series of parts sent serially across multiple HTTP messages. One use case is to overcome server limits on HTTP message content size. Another use case is where the client does not know the final size, such as when file data originates from a streaming source.

This example shows how the client, with prior knowledge about the server's resumable upload support, can upload parts of a file incrementally.

1) If the client is aware that the server supports resumable upload, it can start an upload with the Upload-Complete field value set to false and the first part of the file.

Client Server POST with Upload-Complete: ?0 201 Created with Upload-Complete: ?0 and Location on completion

Figure 5: Incomplete Upload Creation

2) Subsequently, parts are appended (Section 6). The last part of the upload has a Upload-Complete field value set to true to indicate the complete transfer.

Client Server PATCH to upload resource URL with Upload-Offset and Upload-Complete: ?1 201 Created on completion

Figure 6: Upload Append Last Chunk


4. Upload Creation

When a resource supports resumable uploads, the first step is creating the upload resource. To be compatible with the widest range of resources, this is accomplished by including the Upload-Complete header field in the request that initiates the upload.

As a consequence, resumable uploads support all HTTP request methods that can carry content, such as POST, PUT, and PATCH. Similarly, the response to the upload request can have any status code. Both the method(s) and status code(s) supported are determined by the resource.

Upload-Complete MUST be set to false if the end of the request content is not the end of the upload. Otherwise, it MUST be set to true. This header field can be used for request identification by a server. The request MUST NOT include the Upload-Offset header field.

If the request is valid, the server SHOULD create an upload resource. Then, the server MUST include the Location header field in the response and set its value to the URL of the upload resource. The client MAY use this URL for offset retrieval (Section 5), upload append (Section 6), and upload cancellation (Section 7).

Once the upload resource is available and while the request content is being uploaded, the target resource MAY send one or more informational responses with a 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) status code to the client. In the first informational response, the Location header field MUST be set to the URL pointing to the upload resource. In subsequent informational responses, the Location header field MUST NOT be set. An informational response MAY contain the Upload-Offset header field with the current upload offset as the value to inform the client about the upload progress.

The server MUST send the Upload-Offset header field in the response if it considers the upload active, either when the response is a success (e.g. 201 (Created)), or when the response is a failure (e.g. 409 (Conflict)). The Upload-Offset field value MUST be equal to the end offset of the entire upload, or the begin offset of the next chunk if the upload is still incomplete. The client SHOULD consider the upload failed if the response has a status code that indicates a success but the offset indicated in the Upload-Offset field value does not equal the total of begin offset plus the number of bytes uploaded in the request.

If the request completes successfully and the entire upload is complete, the server MUST acknowledge it by responding with a 2xx (Successful) status code. Servers are RECOMMENDED to use 201 (Created) unless otherwise specified. The response MUST NOT include the Upload-Complete header field with the value of false.

If the request completes successfully but the entire upload is not yet complete, as indicated by an Upload-Complete field value of false in the request, the server MUST acknowledge it by responding with the 201 (Created) status code and an Upload-Complete header value set to false.

If the request includes an Upload-Complete field value set to true and a valid Content-Length header field, the client attempts to upload a fixed-length resource in one request. In this case, the upload's final size is the Content-Length field value and the server MUST record it to ensure its consistency.

The server MAY enforce a maximum size of an upload resource. This limit MAY be equal to the upload's final size, if Upload-Complete: ?1 and Content-Length are present in the upload creation request, or an arbitrary value. The limit's value or its existence MUST NOT change throughout the lifetime of the upload resource. The server MAY indicate such a limit to the client by including the Upload-Limit header field in the informational or final response to upload creation. If the client receives an Upload-Limit header field indicating that the maximum size is less than the amount of bytes it intends to upload to a resource, it SHOULD stop the current upload transfer immediately and cancel the upload (Section 7).

The request content MAY be empty. If the Upload-Complete header field is then set to true, the client intends to upload an empty resource representation. An Upload-Complete header field is set to false is also valid. This can be used to create an upload resource URL before transferring data, which can save client or server resources. Since informational responses are optional, this technique provides another mechanism to learn the URL, at the cost of an additional round-trip before data upload can commence.

If the server does not receive the entire request content, for example because of canceled requests or dropped connections, it SHOULD append as much of the request content starting at its beginning and without discontinuities as possible. If the server did not append the entire request content, the upload MUST NOT be considered complete.

POST /upload HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
Upload-Complete: ?1
Content-Length: 100

[content (100 bytes)]
HTTP/1.1 104 Upload Resumption Supported
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
Location: https://example.com/upload/b530ce8ff

HTTP/1.1 104 Upload Resumption Supported
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
Upload-Offset: 50

HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Location: https://example.com/upload/b530ce8ff
Upload-Offset: 100

The next example shows an upload creation, where only the first 25 bytes are transferred. The server acknowledges the received data and that the upload is not complete yet:

POST /upload HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
Upload-Complete: ?0
Content-Length: 25

[partial content (25 bytes)]
HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Location: https://example.com/upload/b530ce8ff
Upload-Complete: ?0
Upload-Offset: 25
Upload-Limit: max-size=1000000000

If the client received an informational response with the upload URL in the Location field value, it MAY automatically attempt upload resumption when the connection is terminated unexpectedly, or if a 5xx status is received. The client SHOULD NOT automatically retry if it receives a 4xx status code.

File metadata can affect how servers might act on the uploaded file. Clients can send representation metadata (see Section 8.3 of [HTTP]) in the request that starts an upload. Servers MAY interpret this metadata or MAY ignore it. The Content-Type header field (Section 8.3 of [HTTP]) can be used to indicate the media type of the file. The content coding of the representation is specified using the Content-Encoding header field and is retained throughout the entire upload. When resuming an interrupted upload, the same content coding is used for appending to the upload, producing a representation of the upload resource with one consistent content coding. The Content-Disposition header field ([RFC6266]) can be used to transmit a filename; if included, the parameters SHOULD be either filename, filename* or boundary.

4.1. Feature Detection

If the client has no knowledge of whether the resource supports resumable uploads, a resumable request can be used with some additional constraints. In particular, the Upload-Complete field value (Section 8.3) MUST NOT be false if the server support is unclear. This allows the upload to function as if it is a regular upload.

Servers SHOULD use the 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) informational response to indicate their support for a resumable upload request.

Clients MUST NOT attempt to resume an upload unless they receive 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) informational response, or have other out-of-band methods to determine server support for resumable uploads.

4.2. Draft Version Identification

  • RFC Editor's Note: Please remove this section and Upload-Draft-Interop-Version from all examples prior to publication of a final version of this document.

The current interop version is 6.

Client implementations of draft versions of the protocol MUST send a header field Upload-Draft-Interop-Version with the interop version as its value to its requests. The Upload-Draft-Interop-Version field value is an Integer.

Server implementations of draft versions of the protocol MUST NOT send a 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) informational response when the interop version indicated by the Upload-Draft-Interop-Version header field in the request is missing or mismatching.

Server implementations of draft versions of the protocol MUST also send a header field Upload-Draft-Interop-Version with the interop version as its value to the 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) informational response.

Client implementations of draft versions of the protocol MUST ignore a 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) informational response with missing or mismatching interop version indicated by the Upload-Draft-Interop-Version header field.

The reason both the client and the server are sending and checking the draft version is to ensure that implementations of the final RFC will not accidentally interop with draft implementations, as they will not check the existence of the Upload-Draft-Interop-Version header field.


5. Offset Retrieval

If an upload is interrupted, the client MAY attempt to fetch the offset of the incomplete upload by sending a HEAD request to the upload resource.

The request MUST NOT include an Upload-Offset or Upload-Complete header field. The server MUST reject requests with either of these fields by responding with a 400 (Bad Request) status code.

If the server considers the upload resource to be active, it MUST respond with a 204 (No Content) or 200 (OK) status code. The response MUST include the Upload-Offset header field, with the value set to the current resumption offset for the target resource. The response MUST include the Upload-Complete header field; the value is set to true only if the upload is complete. The response MAY include the Upload-Limit header field if corresponding limits on the upload resource exist.

An upload is considered complete only if the server completely and successfully received a corresponding creation request (Section 4) or append request (Section 6) with the Upload-Complete header value set to true.

The client MUST NOT perform offset retrieval while creation (Section 4) or append (Section 6) is in progress.

The offset MUST be accepted by a subsequent append (Section 6). Due to network delay and reordering, the server might still be receiving data from an ongoing transfer for the same upload resource, which in the client's perspective has failed. The server MAY terminate any transfers for the same upload resource before sending the response by abruptly terminating the HTTP connection or stream. Alternatively, the server MAY keep the ongoing transfer alive but ignore further bytes received past the offset.

The client MUST NOT start more than one append (Section 6) based on the resumption offset from a single offset retrieving request.

In order to prevent HTTP caching, the response SHOULD include a Cache-Control header field with the value no-store.

If the server does not consider the upload resource to be active, it MUST respond with a 404 (Not Found) status code.

The resumption offset can be less than or equal to the number of bytes the client has already sent. The client MAY reject an offset which is greater than the number of bytes it has already sent during this upload. The client is expected to handle backtracking of a reasonable length. If the offset is invalid for this upload, or if the client cannot backtrack to the offset and reproduce the same content it has already sent, the upload MUST be considered a failure. The client MAY cancel the upload (Section 7) after rejecting the offset.

The following example shows an offset retrieval request. The server indicates the new offset and that the upload is not complete yet:

HEAD /upload/b530ce8ff HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
HTTP/1.1 204 No Content
Upload-Offset: 100
Upload-Complete: ?0
Cache-Control: no-store

The client SHOULD NOT automatically retry if a 4xx (Client Error) status code is received.


6. Upload Append

Upload appending is used for resuming an existing upload.

The request MUST use the PATCH method with the application/partial-upload media type and MUST be sent to the upload resource. The Upload-Offset field value (Section 8.1) MUST be set to the resumption offset.

If the end of the request content is not the end of the upload, the Upload-Complete field value (Section 8.3) MUST be set to false.

The server SHOULD respect representation metadata received during creation (Section 4). An upload append request continues uploading the same representation as used in the upload creation (Section 4) and thus uses the same content coding, if one was applied. For example, if the initial upload creation included the Content-Encoding: gzip header field, the upload append request resumes the transfer of the gzipped data without indicating again that the gzip coding is applied.

If the server does not consider the upload associated with the upload resource active, it MUST respond with a 404 (Not Found) status code.

The client MUST NOT perform multiple upload transfers for the same upload resource in parallel. This helps avoid race conditions, and data loss or corruption. The server is RECOMMENDED to take measures to avoid parallel upload transfers: The server MAY terminate any creation (Section 4) or append for the same upload URL. Since the client is not allowed to perform multiple transfers in parallel, the server can assume that the previous attempt has already failed. Therefore, the server MAY abruptly terminate the previous HTTP connection or stream.

If the offset indicated by the Upload-Offset field value does not match the offset provided by the immediate previous offset retrieval (Section 5), or the end offset of the immediate previous incomplete successful transfer, the server MUST respond with a 409 (Conflict) status code. The server MAY use the problem type [PROBLEM] of "https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#mismatching-upload-offset" in the response; see Section 10.1.

The server applies the patch document of the application/partial-upload media type by appending the request content to the targeted upload resource. If the server does not receive the entire patch document, for example because of canceled requests or dropped connections, it SHOULD append as much of the patch document starting at its beginning and without discontinuities as possible. Appending a continuous section starting at the patch document's beginning constitutes a successful PATCH as defined in Section 2 of [RFC5789]. If the server did not receive and apply the entire patch document, the upload MUST NOT be considered complete.

While the request content is being uploaded, the target resource MAY send one or more informational responses with a 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) status code to the client. These informational responses MUST NOT contain the Location header field. They MAY include the Upload-Offset header field with the current upload offset as the value to inform the client about the upload progress.

The server MUST send the Upload-Offset header field in the response if it considers the upload active, either when the response is a success (e.g. 201 (Created)), or when the response is a failure (e.g. 409 (Conflict)). The value MUST be equal to the end offset of the entire upload, or the begin offset of the next chunk if the upload is still incomplete. The client SHOULD consider the upload failed if the status code indicates a success but the offset indicated by the Upload-Offset field value does not equal the total of begin offset plus the number of bytes uploaded in the request.

If the upload is already complete, the server MUST NOT modify the upload resource and MUST respond with a 400 (Bad Request) status code. The server MAY use the problem type [PROBLEM] of "https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#completed-upload" in the response; see Section 10.2.

If the request completes successfully and the entire upload is complete, the server MUST acknowledge it by responding with a 2xx (Successful) status code. Servers are RECOMMENDED to use a 201 (Created) response if not otherwise specified. The response MUST NOT include the Upload-Complete header field with the value set to false.

If the request completes successfully but the entire upload is not yet complete indicated by the Upload-Complete field value set to false, the server MUST acknowledge it by responding with a 201 (Created) status code and the Upload-Complete field value set to true.

If the request includes the Upload-Complete field value set to true and a valid Content-Length header field, the client attempts to upload the remaining resource in one request. In this case, the upload's final size is the sum of the upload's offset and the Content-Length header field. If the server does not have a record of the upload's final size from creation or the previous append, the server MUST record the upload's final size to ensure its consistency. If the server does have a previous record, that value MUST match the upload's final size. If they do not match, the server MUST reject the request with a 400 (Bad Request) status code.

The request content MAY be empty. If the Upload-Complete field is then set to true, the client wants to complete the upload without appending additional data.

The following example shows an upload append. The client transfers the next 100 bytes at an offset of 100 and does not indicate that the upload is then completed. The server acknowledges the new offset:

PATCH /upload/b530ce8ff HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Upload-Offset: 100
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
Content-Length: 100
Content-Type: application/partial-upload

[content (100 bytes)]
HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Upload-Offset: 200

The client MAY automatically attempt upload resumption when the connection is terminated unexpectedly, or if a 5xx (Server Error) status code is received. The client SHOULD NOT automatically retry if a 4xx (Client Error) status code is received.


7. Upload Cancellation

If the client wants to terminate the transfer without the ability to resume, it can send a DELETE request to the upload resource. Doing so is an indication that the client is no longer interested in continuing the upload, and that the server can release any resources associated with it.

The client MUST NOT initiate cancellation without the knowledge of server support.

The request MUST use the DELETE method. The request MUST NOT include an Upload-Offset or Upload-Complete header field. The server MUST reject the request with a Upload-Offset or Upload-Complete header field with a 400 (Bad Request) status code.

If the server successfully deactivates the upload resource, it MUST respond with a 204 (No Content) status code.

The server MAY terminate any in-flight requests to the upload resource before sending the response by abruptly terminating their HTTP connection(s) or stream(s).

If the server does not consider the upload resource to be active, it MUST respond with a 404 (Not Found) status code.

If the server does not support cancellation, it MUST respond with a 405 (Method Not Allowed) status code.

The following example shows an upload cancellation:

DELETE /upload/b530ce8ff HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Upload-Draft-Interop-Version: 6
HTTP/1.1 204 No Content

8. Header Fields

8.1. Upload-Offset

The Upload-Offset request and response header field indicates the resumption offset of corresponding upload, counted in bytes. The Upload-Offset field value is an Integer.

8.2. Upload-Limit

The Upload-Limit response header field indicates limits applying the upload resource. The Upload-Limit field value is a Dictionary. The following limits are defined:

  • The max-size key specifies a maximum size that an upload resource is allowed to reach, counted in bytes. The value is an Integer.
  • The min-size key specifies a minimum size for a resumable upload, counted in bytes. The server will not create an upload resource if the client indicates that the uploaded data is smaller than the minimum size. The value is an Integer.
  • The max-append-size key specifies a maximum size counted in bytes for the request content in a single upload append request (Section 6). The server MAY reject requests exceeding this limit and a client SHOULD NOT send larger upload append requests. The value is an Integer.
  • The min-append-size key specifies a minimum size counted in bytes for the request content in a single upload append request (Section 6). The server MAY reject requests below this limit and a client SHOULD NOT send smaller upload append requests. The value is an Integer.
  • The expires key specifies the remaining lifetime of the upload resource in seconds counted from the generation of the response by the server. After the resource's lifetime is reached, the server MAY make the upload resource inaccessible and a client SHOULD NOT attempt to access the upload resource. The lifetime MAY be extended but SHOULD NOT be reduced once the upload resource is created. The value is an Integer.

When parsing this header field, unrecognized keys MUST be ignored and MUST NOT fail the parsing to facilitate the addition of new limits in the future.

8.3. Upload-Complete

The Upload-Complete request and response header field indicates whether the corresponding upload is considered complete. The Upload-Complete field value is a Boolean.

The Upload-Complete header field MUST only be used if support by the resource is known to the client (Section 4.1).


9. Media Type application/partial-upload

The application/partial-upload media type describes a contiguous block of data that should be uploaded to a resource. There is no minimum block size and the block might be empty. The start and end of the block might align with the start and end of the file that should be uploaded, but they are not required to be aligned.


10. Problem Types

10.1. Mismatching Offset

This section defines the "https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#mismatching-upload-offset" problem type [PROBLEM]. A server MAY use this problem type when responding to an upload append request (Section 6) to indicate that the Upload-Offset header field in the request does not match the upload resource's offset.

Two problem type extension members are defined: the expected-offset and provided-offset members. A response using this problem type SHOULD populate both members, with the value of expected-offset taken from the upload resource and the value of provided-offset taken from the upload append request.

The following example shows an example response, where the resource's offset was 100, but the client attempted to append at offset 200:

HTTP/1.1 409 Conflict
Content-Type: application/problem+json

{
  "type":"https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#mismatching-upload-offset",
  "title": "offset from request does not match offset of resource",
  "expected-offset": 100,
  "provided-offset": 200
}

10.2. Completed Upload

This section defines the "https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#completed-upload" problem type [PROBLEM]. A server MAY use this problem type when responding to an upload append request (Section 6) to indicate that the upload has already been completed and cannot be modified.

The following example shows an example response:

HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Content-Type: application/problem+json

{
  "type":"https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#completed-upload",
  "title": "upload is already completed"
}


11. Offset values

The offset of an upload resource is the number of bytes that have been appended to the upload resource. Appended data cannot be removed from an upload and, therefore, the upload offset MUST NOT decrease. A server MUST NOT generate responses containing an Upload-Offset header field with a value that is smaller than was included in previous responses for the same upload resource. This includes informational and final responses for upload creation (Section 4), upload appending (Section 6), and offset retrieval (Section 5).

If a server loses data that has been appended to an upload, it MUST consider the upload resource invalid and reject further use of the upload resource. The Upload-Offset header field in responses serves as an acknowledgement of the append operation and as a guarantee that no retransmission of the data will be necessary. Client can use this guarantee to free resources associated to already uploaded data while the upload is still ongoing.


12. Redirection

The 301 (Moved Permanently) and 302 (Found) status codes MUST NOT be used in offset retrieval (Section 5) and upload cancellation (Section 7) responses. For other responses, the upload resource MAY return a 308 (Permanent Redirect) status code and clients SHOULD use the new permanent URI for subsequent requests. If the client receives a 307 (Temporary Redirect) response to an offset retrieval (Section 5) request, it MAY apply the redirection directly in an immediate subsequent upload append (Section 6).


13. Transfer and Content Codings

A message might have a content coding, indicated by the Content-Encoding header field, and/or a transfer coding, indicated by the Transfer-Encoding header field (Section 6.1 of [HTTP/1.1]), applied, which modify the representation of uploaded data in a message. For correct interoperability, the client and server must share the same logic when counting bytes for the upload offset. From the client's perspective, the offset is counted after content coding but before transfer coding is applied. From the server's perspective, the offset is counted after the content's transfer coding is reversed but before the content coding is reversed.


14. Integrity Digests

The integrity of an entire upload or individual upload requests can be verifying using digests from [DIGEST-FIELDS].

If the client knows the integrity digest of the entire data before creating an upload resource, it MAY include the Repr-Digest header field when creating an upload (Section 4). Once the upload is completed, the server can compute the integrity digest of the received upload representation and compare it to the provided digest. If the digests don't match the server SHOULD consider the transfer failed and not process the uploaded data further. This way, the integrity of the entire uploaded data can be protected.

If the client knows the integrity digest of the content from an upload creation (Section 4) or upload appending (Section 6) request, it MAY include the Content-Digest header field in the request. Once the content has been received, the server can compute the integrity digest of the received content and compare it to the provided digest. If the digests don't match the server SHOULD consider the transfer failed and not append the content to the upload resource. This way, the integrity of an individual request can be protected.


15. Subsequent Resources

The server might process the uploaded data and make its results available in another resource during or after the upload. This subsequent resource is different from the upload resource created by the upload creation request (Section 4). The subsequent resource does not handle the upload process itself, but instead facilitates further interaction with the uploaded data. The server MAY indicate the location of this subsequent resource by including the Content-Location header field in the informational or final responses generated while creating (Section 4), appending to (Section 6), or retrieving the offset (Section 5) of an upload. For example, a subsequent resource could allow the client to fetch information extracted from the uploaded data.


16. Security Considerations

The upload resource URL is the identifier used for modifying the upload. Without further protection of this URL, an attacker may obtain information about an upload, append data to it, or cancel it. To prevent this, the server SHOULD ensure that only authorized clients can access the upload resource. In addition, the upload resource URL SHOULD be generated in such a way that makes it hard to be guessed by unauthorized clients.

Some servers or intermediaries provide scanning of content uploaded by clients. Any scanning mechanism that relies on receiving a complete file in a single request message can be defeated by resumable uploads because content can be split across multiple messages. Servers or intermediaries wishing to perform content scanning SHOULD consider how resumable uploads can circumvent scanning and take appropriate measures. Possible strategies include waiting for the upload to complete before scanning a full file, or disabling resumable uploads.

Resumable uploads are vulnerable to Slowloris-style attacks [SLOWLORIS]. A malicious client may create upload resources and keep them alive by regularly sending PATCH requests with no or small content to the upload resources. This could be abused to exhaust server resources by creating and holding open uploads indefinitely with minimal work.

Servers SHOULD provide mitigations for Slowloris attacks, such as increasing the maximum number of clients the server will allow, limiting the number of uploads a single client is allowed to make, imposing restrictions on the minimum transfer speed an upload is allowed to have, and restricting the length of time an upload resource can exist.


17. IANA Considerations

IANA is asked to register the following entries in the "Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Field Name Registry":

Field NameStatusReference
Upload-CompletepermanentSection 8.3 of this document
Upload-OffsetpermanentSection 8.1 of this document
Upload-LimitpermanentSection 8.2 of this document

IANA is asked to register the following entry in the "HTTP Status Codes" registry:

Value:
104 (suggested value)
Description:
Upload Resumption Supported
Specification:
This document

IANA is asked to register the following entry in the "Media Types" registry:

Type name:
application
Subtype name:
partial-upload
Required parameters:
N/A
Optional parameters:
N/A
Encoding considerations:
binary
Security considerations:
see Section 16 of this document
Interoperability considerations:
N/A
Published specification:
This document
Applications that use this media type:
Applications that transfer files over unreliable networks or want pause- and resumable uploads.
Fragment identifier considerations:
N/A

Additional information:

Person and email address to contact for further information:
See the Authors' Addresses section of this document.
Intended usage:
COMMON
Restrictions on usage:
N/A
Author:
See the Authors' Addresses section of this document.
Change controller:
IETF

IANA is asked to register the following entry in the "HTTP Problem Types" registry:

Type URI:
https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#mismatching-upload-offset Title:
Mismatching Upload Offset Recommended HTTP status code:
409 Reference:
This document

IANA is asked to register the following entry in the "HTTP Problem Types" registry:

Type URI:
https://iana.org/assignments/http-problem-types#completed-upload Title:
Upload Is Completed Recommended HTTP status code:
400 Reference:
This document

18. References

18.1. Normative References

[DIGEST-FIELDS]
Polli, R. and L. Pardue, “Digest Fields”, RFC 9530, DOI 10.17487/RFC9530, February 2024, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9530>.
[HTTP]
Fielding, R., Ed., Nottingham, M., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “HTTP Semantics”, STD 97, RFC 9110, DOI 10.17487/RFC9110, June 2022, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9110>.
[HTTP/1.1]
Fielding, R., Ed., Nottingham, M., Ed., and J. Reschke, Ed., “HTTP/1.1”, STD 99, RFC 9112, DOI 10.17487/RFC9112, June 2022, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9112>.
[PROBLEM]
Nottingham, M., Wilde, E., and S. Dalal, “Problem Details for HTTP APIs”, RFC 9457, DOI 10.17487/RFC9457, July 2023, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9457>.
[RFC2119]
Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels”, BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.
[RFC5789]
Dusseault, L. and J. Snell, “PATCH Method for HTTP”, RFC 5789, DOI 10.17487/RFC5789, March 2010, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5789>.
[RFC6266]
Reschke, J., “Use of the Content-Disposition Header Field in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)”, RFC 6266, DOI 10.17487/RFC6266, June 2011, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6266>.
[RFC8174]
Leiba, B., “Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words”, BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.
[STRUCTURED-FIELDS]
Nottingham, M. and P-H. Kamp, “Structured Field Values for HTTP”, RFC 8941, DOI 10.17487/RFC8941, February 2021, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8941>.

Appendix A. Informational Response

The server is allowed to respond to upload creation (Section 4) requests with a 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) intermediate response as soon as the server has validated the request. This way, the client knows that the server supports resumable uploads before the complete response is received. The benefit is the clients can defer starting the actual data transfer until the server indicates full support (i.e. resumable are supported, the provided upload URL is active etc).

On the contrary, support for intermediate responses (the 1XX range) in existing software is limited or not at all present. Such software includes proxies, firewalls, browsers, and HTTP libraries for clients and server. Therefore, the 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) status code is optional and not mandatory for the successful completion of an upload. Otherwise, it might be impossible in some cases to implement resumable upload servers using existing software packages. Furthermore, as parts of the current internet infrastructure currently have limited support for intermediate responses, a successful delivery of a 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) from the server to the client should be assumed.

We hope that support for intermediate responses increases in the near future, to allow a wider usage of 104 (Upload Resumption Supported).


Appendix B. Feature Detection

This specification includes a section about feature detection (it was called service discovery in earlier discussions, but this name is probably ill-suited). The idea is to allow resumable uploads to be transparently implemented by HTTP clients. This means that application developers just keep using the same API of their HTTP library as they have done in the past with traditional, non-resumable uploads. Once the HTTP library gets updated (e.g. because mobile OS or browsers start implementing resumable uploads), the HTTP library can transparently decide to use resumable uploads without explicit configuration by the application developer. Of course, in order to use resumable uploads, the HTTP library needs to know whether the server supports resumable uploads. If no support is detected, the HTTP library should use the traditional, non-resumable upload technique. We call this process feature detection.

Ideally, the technique used for feature detection meets following criteria (there might not be one approach which fits all requirements, so we have to prioritize them):

  1. Avoid additional roundtrips by the client, if possible (i.e. an additional HTTP request by the client should be avoided).
  2. Be backwards compatible to HTTP/1.1 and existing network infrastructure: This means to avoid using new features in HTTP/2, or features which might require changes to existing network infrastructure (e.g. nginx or HTTP libraries)
  3. Conserve the user's privacy (i.e. the feature detection should not leak information to other third-parties about which URLs have been connected to)

Following approaches have already been considered in the past. All except the last approaches have not been deemed acceptable and are therefore not included in the specification. This follow list is a reference for the advantages and disadvantages of some approaches:

Include a support statement in the SETTINGS frame. The SETTINGS frame is a HTTP/2 feature and is sent by the server to the client to exchange information about the current connection. The idea was to include an additional statement in this frame, so the client can detect support for resumable uploads without an additional roundtrip. The problem is that this is not compatible with HTTP/1.1. Furthermore, the SETTINGS frame is intended for information about the current connection (not bound to a request/response) and might not be persisted when transmitted through a proxy.

Include a support statement in the DNS record. The client can detect support when resolving a domain name. Of course, DNS is not semantically the correct layer. Also, DNS might not be involved if the record is cached or retrieved from a hosts files.

Send a HTTP request to ask for support. This is the easiest approach where the client sends an OPTIONS request and uses the response to determine if the server indicates support for resumable uploads. An alternative is that the client sends the request to a well-known URL to obtain this response, e.g. /.well-known/resumable-uploads. Of course, while being fully backwards-compatible, it requires an additional roundtrip.

Include a support statement in previous responses. In many cases, the file upload is not the first time that the client connects to the server. Often additional requests are sent beforehand for authentication, data retrieval etc. The responses for those requests can also include a header field which indicates support for resumable uploads. There are two options: - Use the standardized Alt-Svc response header field. However, it has been indicated to us that this header field might be reworked in the future and could also be semantically different from our intended usage. - Use a new response header field Resumable-Uploads: https://example.org/files/* to indicate under which endpoints support for resumable uploads is available.

Send a 104 intermediate response to indicate support. The clients normally starts a traditional upload and includes a header field indicate that it supports resumable uploads (e.g. Upload-Offset: 0). If the server also supports resumable uploads, it will immediately respond with a 104 intermediate response to indicate its support, before further processing the request. This way the client is informed during the upload whether it can resume from possible connection errors or not. While an additional roundtrip is avoided, the problem with that solution is that many HTTP server libraries do not support sending custom 1XX responses and that some proxies may not be able to handle new 1XX status codes correctly.

Send a 103 Early Hint response to indicate support. This approach is the similar to the above one, with one exception: Instead of a new 104 (Upload Resumption Supported) status code, the existing 103 (Early Hint) status code is used in the intermediate response. The 103 code would then be accompanied by a header field indicating support for resumable uploads (e.g. Resumable-Uploads: 1). It is unclear whether the Early Hints code is appropriate for that, as it is currently only used to indicate resources for prefetching them.


Appendix C. Upload Metadata

When an upload is created (Section 4), the Content-Type and Content-Disposition header fields are allowed to be included. They are intended to be a standardized way of communicating the file name and file type, if available. However, this is not without controversy. Some argue that since these header fields are already defined in other specifications, it is not necessary to include them here again. Furthermore, the Content-Disposition header field's format is not clearly enough defined. For example, it is left open which disposition value should be used in the header field. There needs to be more discussion whether this approach is suited or not.

However, from experience with the tus project, users are often asking for a way to communicate the file name and file type. Therefore, we believe it is help to explicitly include an approach for doing so.


Appendix D. FAQ


Acknowledgments

This document is based on an Internet-Draft specification written by Jiten Mehta, Stefan Matsson, and the authors of this document.

The tus v1 protocol is a specification for a resumable file upload protocol over HTTP. It inspired the early design of this protocol. Members of the tus community helped significantly in the process of bringing this work to the IETF.

The authors would like to thank Mark Nottingham for substantive contributions to the text.


Changes

This section is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

Since draft-ietf-httpbis-resumable-upload-04

None yet

Since draft-ietf-httpbis-resumable-upload-03

  • Add note about Content-Location for referring to subsequent resources.
  • Require application/partial-upload for appending to uploads.
  • Explain handling of content and transfer codings.
  • Add problem types for mismatching offsets and completed uploads.
  • Clarify that completed uploads must not be appended to.
  • Describe interaction with Digest Fields from RFC9530.
  • Require that upload offset does not decrease over time.
  • Add Upload-Limit header field.
  • Increase the draft interop version.

Since draft-ietf-httpbis-resumable-upload-02

  • Add upload progress notifications via informational responses.
  • Add security consideration regarding request filtering.
  • Explain the use of empty requests for creation uploads and appending.
  • Extend security consideration to include resource exhaustion attacks.
  • Allow 200 status codes for offset retrieval.
  • Increase the draft interop version.

Since draft-ietf-httpbis-resumable-upload-01

  • Replace Upload-Incomplete header with Upload-Complete.
  • Replace terminology about procedures with HTTP resources.
  • Increase the draft interop version.

Since draft-ietf-httpbis-resumable-upload-00

  • Remove Upload-Token and instead use Server-generated upload URL for upload identification.
  • Require the Upload-Incomplete header field in Upload Creation Procedure.
  • Increase the draft interop version.

Since draft-tus-httpbis-resumable-uploads-protocol-02

None

Since draft-tus-httpbis-resumable-uploads-protocol-01

  • Clarifying backtracking and preventing skipping ahead during the Offset Receiving Procedure.
  • Clients auto-retry 404 is no longer allowed.

Since draft-tus-httpbis-resumable-uploads-protocol-00

  • Split the Upload Transfer Procedure into the Upload Creation Procedure and the Upload Appending Procedure.

Authors' Addresses

Marius Kleidl (editor)
Transloadit
EMail: marius@transloadit.com
Guoye Zhang (editor)
Apple Inc.
EMail: guoye_zhang@apple.com
Lucas Pardue (editor)
Cloudflare
EMail: lucas@lucaspardue.com