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HTTP: The Definitive Guide

Cover of HTTP: The Definitive Guide by David Gourley... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Tracing Messages

Today, it's not uncommon for web requests to go through a chain of two or more proxies on their way from the client to the server (Figure 6-19). For example, many corporations use caching proxy servers to access the Internet, for security and cost savings, and many large ISPs use proxy caches to improve performance and implement features. A significant percentage of web requests today go through proxies. At the same time, it's becoming increasingly popular to replicate content on banks of surrogate caches scattered around the globe, for performance reasons.

Access proxies and CDN proxies create two-level proxy hierarchies

Figure 6-19. Access proxies and CDN proxies create two-level proxy hierarchies

Proxies are developed by different vendors. They have different features and bugs and are administrated by various organizations.

As proxies become more prevalent, you need to be able to trace the flow of messages across proxies and to detect any problems, just as it is important to trace the flow of IP packets across different switches and routers.

The Via Header

The Via header field lists information about each intermediate node (proxy or gateway) through which a message passes. Each time a message goes through another node, the intermediate node must be added to the end of the Via list.

The following Via string tells us that the message traveled through two proxies. It indicates that the first proxy implemented the HTTP/1.1 protocol ...

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