1.2.2. The request headers

The headers start at the second line. They are composed of a name at the beginning of the line, immediately followed by a colon (‘:’). Traditionally, an LWS is added after the colon but that’s not required. Then come the values.

Multiple identical headers may be folded into one single line, delimiting the values with commas, provided that their order is respected. This is commonly encountered in the “Cookie:” field. A header may span over multiple lines if the subsequent lines begin with an LWS. In the example in 1.2, lines 4 and 5 define a total of 3 values for the “Accept:” header.

Contrary to a common mis-conception, header names are not case-sensitive, and their values are not either if they refer to other header names (such as the “Connection:” header).

The end of the headers is indicated by the first empty line. People often say that it’s a double line feed, which is not exact, even if a double line feed is one valid form of empty line.

Fortunately, HAProxy takes care of all these complex combinations when indexing headers, checking values and counting them, so there is no reason to worry about the way they could be written, but it is important not to accuse an application of being buggy if it does unusual, valid things.

Important note:
As suggested by RFC2616, HAProxy normalizes headers by replacing line breaks in the middle of headers by LWS in order to join multi-line headers. This is necessary for proper analysis and helps less capable HTTP parsers to work correctly and not to be fooled by such complex constructs.

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