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From "Robert Andersson" <>
Subject [users@httpd] MultiViews and Error 406 (Document not acceptable to client)
Date Fri, 01 Oct 2004 09:32:07 GMT

I often (ab)use MultiViews in order to avoid irrelevant file extensions in 
my URIs. Eg. "/path/to/doc" rather than "/path/to/doc.php" etc. This 
generally works just fine, and I also use the "force-no-vary" env flag to 
allow IE to cache the response.

However, I note that I get a lot of 406 (document not acceptable to client) 
errors on these URIs, primarily from bots, and msnbot in particular.

I'm not very surprised, but yet I am not sure why this happens or how I can 
prevent it. I haven't been able to sniff what headers the bots are sending. 
I could probably try to log all headers, but this is production sites, and I 
don't want to mess things up. It's not easy to set up a test machine, as I 
need the bots visit. I've tried to craft requests that trigger this 
behaviour, but no luck.

I realize that I do *abuse* MutliViews since I, in this case, don't use it 
to provide alternate versions. I welcome any ideas, or insights, of how to 
prevent these 406 errors.

I can just include what a note in RFC 2616 (HTTP 1.1) says about the 406 

    Note: HTTP/1.1 servers are allowed to return responses which are
    not acceptable according to the accept headers sent in the
    request. In some cases, this may even be preferable to sending a
    406 response. User agents are encouraged to inspect the headers of
    an incoming response to determine if it is acceptable.

Robert Andersson 

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