W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > March 2003

"403 Found", old browsers, and name-based virtual hosting

From: Erica Douglass <erica@simpli.biz>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 10:13:19 -0800
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008801c2ea55$64697db0$ac7ba8c0@corkyserver>

Hi all,

I was surfing the web a bit in Mosaic today for nostalgic purposes, and
I noticed something curious. While sites like Google and Yahoo loaded
decently, any sites I went to that were hosted on our servers made the
browser fall into an infinite loop.

To see why, I tailed our browser logs and grabbed the command that
Mosaic was using -- a simple GET / HTTP/1.0. I telnetted in to a couple
of the domains we host on port 80 and issued the same command. I got
back an odd response -- a 403 Found with a link to the same website I
had just requested. For instance, telnetting to www.onthehouse.com port
80 sends the Found URL back as http://www.onthehouse.com. No wonder this
poor old browser was falling into an infinite loop!

I vaguely remember that this has something to do with name-based virtual
hosting. I have two questions. 

1. What do modern browsers do to get around this? I understand that they
send some sort of HOST header, but what should I do e.g. if I am
telnetting into the server?
2. Would turning off name-based virtual hosting for sites that are using
their own IP address result in a performance gain? The browser would not
have to send two requests... but perhaps modern browsers always send the
HOST header and thus name-based virtual hosting is no slower than
regular IP-based hosting.

These questions are more curiosity than anything, as I continue to learn
how HTTP works and what modern browsers do that older ones didn't.
Thanks in advance for an explanation!

Erica Douglass
Lead Web Developer
Simpli, Inc.
http://www.simpli.biz
Received on Friday, 14 March 2003 13:14:56 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:15:54 GMT