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HTTP: The Definitive Guide

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

In this section, we will delve deeper into the various redirection methods that are commonly used for both servers and proxies. These techniques can be used to redirect traffic to a different (presumably more optimal) server or to vector traffic through a proxy. Specifically, we'll cover HTTP redirection, DNS redirection, anycast addressing, IP MAC forwarding, and IP address forwarding.

HTTP Redirection

Web servers can send short redirect messages back to clients, telling them to try someplace else. Some web sites use HTTP redirection as a simple form of load balancing; the server that handles the redirect (the redirecting server) finds the least-loaded content server available and redirects the browser to that server. For widely distributed web sites, determining the "best" available server gets more complicated, taking into account not only the servers' load but the Internet distance between the browser and the server. One advantage of HTTP redirection over some other forms of redirection is that the redirecting server knows the client's IP address; in theory, it may be able to make a more informed choice.

Here's how HTTP redirection works. In Figure 20-1a, Alice sends a request to www.joes-hardware.com:

GET /hammers.html HTTP/1.0
Host: www.joes-hardware.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.51 [en] (X11; U; IRIX 6.2 IP22)

In Figure 20-1b, instead of sending back a web page body with HTTP status code 200, the server sends back a redirect message with status code ...

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