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From Torsten Förtsch <>
Subject Re: Interrupting a POST with file upload
Date Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:36:21 GMT
On Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:14:35 André Warnier wrote:
> As far as I know, LimitRequestBody is an absolute POST size limit set once
> and for all in  the server config, and valid for all POSTs (and PUTs) after
> server restart.

If you look at the docs you'll find that LimitRequestBody is valid in "server 
config, virtual host, directory and .htaccess" contexts. That means you can 
modify it on a per-request basis via $r->add_config. So, assuming 
authentication takes place in httpd's authentication phase you can set the 
limit in a PerlFixupHandler per user.

> And it is calculated on the base of the real bytes being
> sent by the browser, this including the overhead caused by Base64 encoding
> the content of a file sent for example. (So that if you set the limit to
> 1MB, this will actually kick in as soon as the net unencoded size of the
> file being uploaded exceeds 660KB or so.)

True. But with HTTP/1.1 the client can also choose to send the body deflated. 
Thus, the actual file size may also exceed 1MB.

> Then there is the $CGI_POST_MAX, which may very well be the same server
> value being  manipulated by the CGI module, or it may be a private copy by
>  What is not really clear is if that value is "thread-safe" in all
> scenarios. is pure perl. So, to make $CGI_POST_MAX shared among threads it has to 
declare it as such. I doubt that any sane developer would do that.

> In the normal scenario, when retrieving the uploaded file's handle via the
> call to  param(file_input_name) or upload(file_input_name), what one
> actually gets is a handle onto a local temporary file, into which
> Apache/ has already stored the whole content of the uploaded
> file.  By that time, the original file upload from the browser has already
> happened, so doing something at this point would be too late to interrupt
> the browser POST itself (and the bandwidth and time have already been
> spent).


> On the other hand, the documentation seems to say that if one uses
> the "hook"  functionality for a file upload, then Apache/ do not use
> a temporary file, and one gets a handle directly into the POST body content
> (so to speak), as it is being received by Apache.  And thus this could be a
> way to achieve what Mike wants.

yes and no. It depends upon what exactly you want to limit. On the internet 
data is buffered by routers, firewalls etc. On your server it is buffered by 
the kernel. Httpd adds it's own buffering. HTTP is TCP-based. So, there may be 
retransmits that you won't notice. You certainly may abort the transfer when 
the hook has received a certain amount of data. But that would not mean 
that your server or your organization has not yet received the whole body.

So, if you want to limit the disk usage then yes, you can simply stop writing 
when the limit is reached. If you want to limit the amount of data your server 
receives then no.

Best would be if you could make an educated guess based on the Content-Length 
request header if the uploaded file will exceed the limit. Most clients send 
an "Expect: 100-continue" header and thus give the server a chance to decline 
the request *before* the body is sent. If the body is already on the way the 
only thing you can do is to close the connection. I don't know if httpd does 
that immediately or if it reads and discards the whole body.

> (I suppose that we can assume that even
> though we get a handle into the POST body content, what we are reading is
> the decoded data, right ?).

The code below is the relevant piece of So, yes, the upload hook gets 
the data as it is written to the temp file.

  while (defined($data = $buffer->read)) {
    if (defined $self->{'.upload_hook'}) {
      $totalbytes += length($data);
      &{$self->{'.upload_hook'}}($filename ,$data, $totalbytes,
    print $filehandle $data if ($self->{'use_tempfile'});

Torsten Förtsch

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