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Versions: (draft-nottingham-cache-header) 00 01 02

HTTP                                                       M. Nottingham
Internet-Draft                                                    Fastly
Intended status: Standards Track                        November 4, 2019
Expires: May 7, 2020


                 The Cache-Status HTTP Response Header
                   draft-ietf-httpbis-cache-header-02

Abstract

   To aid debugging, HTTP caches often append headers to a response
   detailing how they handled the request.  This specification codifies
   that practice and updates it for HTTP's current caching model.

Note to Readers

   _RFC EDITOR: please remove this section before publication_

   Discussion of this draft takes place on the HTTP working group
   mailing list (ietf-http-wg@w3.org), which is archived at
   https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/ [1].

   Working Group information can be found at https://httpwg.org/ [2];
   source code and issues list for this draft can be found at
   https://github.com/httpwg/http-extensions/labels/cache-header [3].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 7, 2020.








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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Notational Conventions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  The Cache-Status HTTP Response Header . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  The fwd parameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.2.  The fwd-res parameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.3.  The fwd-stored parameter  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.4.  The res-fresh parameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.5.  The cache-fresh parameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.6.  The collapse-hit parameter  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.7.  The collapse-wait parameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.8.  The key parameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   3.  Examples  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   5.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     5.3.  URIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8

1.  Introduction

   To aid debugging, HTTP caches often append headers to a response
   detailing how they handled the request.

   Unfortunately, the semantics of these headers are often unclear, and
   both the semantics and syntax used vary greatly between
   implementations.

   This specification defines a single, new HTTP response header field,
   "Cache-Status" for this purpose.




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1.1.  Notational Conventions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP
   14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

   This document uses ABNF as defined in [RFC5234], along with the "%s"
   extension for case sensitivity defined in [RFC7405].

2.  The Cache-Status HTTP Response Header

   The Cache-Status HTTP response header indicates caches' handling of
   the request corresponding to the response it occurs within.

   Its value is a List [I-D.ietf-httpbis-header-structure]:

   Cache-Status   = sh-list

   Each member of the parameterised list represents a cache that has
   handled the request.  The first member of the list represents the
   cache closest to the origin server, and the last member of the list
   represents the cache closest to the user agent (possibly including
   the user agent's cache itself, if it chooses to append a value).

   Caches determine when it is appropriate to add the Cache-Status
   header field to a response.  Some might decide to add it to all
   responses, whereas others might only do so when specifically
   configured to, or when the request contains a header that activates a
   debugging mode.

   When adding a value to the Cache-Status header field, caches SHOULD
   preserve the existing contents of the header, to allow debugging of
   the entire chain of caches handling the request.

   The list members identify the cache that inserted the value, and MUST
   have a type of either sh-string or sh-token.  Depending on the
   deployment, this might be a product or service name (e.g.,
   ExampleCache or "Example CDN"), a hostname ("cache-3.example.com"),
   and IP address, or a generated string.

   Each member of the list can also have a number of parameters that
   describe that cache's handling of the request.  While all of these
   parameters are OPTIONAL, caches are encouraged to provide as much
   information as possible.





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   fwd           = sh-token
   fwd-res       = sh-token
   fwd-stored    = sh-boolean
   res-fresh     = sh-integer
   cache-fresh   = sh-integer
   collapse-hit  = sh-boolean
   collapse-wait = sh-integer
   key           = sh-string

2.1.  The fwd parameter

   "fwd" indicates why the request went forward.  If it is not present,
   the value defaults to "none".

   It can have one of the following values:

   o  none - The request did not go forward; i.e., it was a hit, and was
      served from the cache.

   o  bypass - The cache was configured to not handle this request

   o  uri-miss - The cache did not contain any responses that matched
      the request URI

   o  vary-miss - The cache contained a response that matched the
      request URI, but could not select a response based upon this
      request's headers.

   o  miss - The cache did not contain any responses that could be used
      to satisfy this request (to be used when an implementation cannot
      distinguish between uri-miss and vary-miss)

   o  res-stale - The cache was able to select a response for the
      request, but it was stale

   o  req-stale - The cache was able to select a fresh response for the
      request, but client request headers (e.g., Cache-Control request
      directives) did not allow its use

2.2.  The fwd-res parameter

   "fwd-res" indicates what the result of the forward request was.  It
   is only valid when fwd is "res-stale" or "req-stale", and defaults to
   "full" if not present when fwd is one of those values.

   It can have one of the following values:





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   o  full - indicates that the response was a complete response (any
      status code except 304 Not Modified and 206 Partial Response)

   o  partial - indicates that the response was a 206 Partial Response

   o  notmod - indicates that the response was a 304 Not Modified

2.3.  The fwd-stored parameter

   "fwd-stored" indicates whether the cache stored the response; a true
   value indicates that it did.  Only valid when fwd is not "none".

2.4.  The res-fresh parameter

   "res-fresh" indicates the response's remaining freshness lifetime (as
   per [I-D.ietf-httpbis-cache], Section 4.2.1), as an integer number of
   seconds.  This does not include freshness assigned by the cache (see
   "cache-fresh").  May be negative, to indicate staleness.

2.5.  The cache-fresh parameter

   "cache-fresh" indicates the response's remaining freshness lifetime
   as calculated by the cache, as an integer number of seconds.  This
   includes freshness assigned by the cache; e.g., through heuristics,
   local configuration, or other factors.  May be negative, to indicate
   staleness.

   If both cache-fresh and res-fresh appear as parameters on the same
   value, it implies that the cache freshness overrode the response
   freshness.

2.6.  The collapse-hit parameter

   "collapse-hit" indicates whether this request was collapsed together
   with one or more other forward requests; if true, the response was
   successfully reused; if not, a new request had to be made.  If not
   present, the request was not collapsed with others.

2.7.  The collapse-wait parameter

   "collapse-wait" indicates the amount of time that the cache held the
   request while waiting to see if it could be successfully collapsed,
   as an integer number of milliseconds.








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2.8.  The key parameter

   "key" conveys a representation of the cache key used for the
   response.  Note that this may be implementation-specific.

3.  Examples

   The most minimal cache hit:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache

   ... but a polite cache will give some more information, e.g.:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; res-fresh=376

   A "negative" hit (i.e., the cache imposed its own freshness
   lifetime):

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; cache-fresh=415

   A stale hit just has negative freshness:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; res-fresh=-412

   Whereas a complete miss is:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; fwd=uri-miss

   A miss that validated on the back-end server:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; fwd=res-stale; fwd-res=notmod

   A miss that was collapsed with another request:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; fwd=uri-miss; collapse-hit=?1

   A miss that the cache attempted to collapse, but couldn't:

   Cache-Status: ExampleCache; fwd=uri-miss;
                 collapse-hit=?0; collapse-wait=240

   Going through two layers of caching, both of which were hits, and the
   second collapsed with other requests:

   Cache-Status: "CDN Company Here"; res-fresh=545,
                 OriginCache; cache-fresh=1100; collapse-hit=?1





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4.  Security Considerations

   Information about a cache's content can be used to infer the activity
   of those using it.  Generally, access to sensitive information in a
   cache is limited to those who are authorised to access that
   information (using a variety of techniques), so this does not
   represent an attack vector in the general sense.

   However, if the Cache-Status header is exposed to parties who are not
   authorised to obtain the response it occurs within, it could expose
   information about that data.

   For example, if an attacker were able to obtain the Cache-Status
   header from a response containing sensitive information and access
   were limited to one person (or limited set of people), they could
   determine whether that information had been accessed before.  This is
   similar to the information exposed by various timing attacks, but is
   arguably more reliable, since the cache is directly reporting its
   state.

   Mitigations include use of encryption (e.g., TLS [RFC8446])) to
   protect the response, and careful controls over access to response
   headers (as are present in the Web platform).  When in doubt, the
   Cache-Status header field can be omitted.

5.  References

5.1.  Normative References

   [I-D.ietf-httpbis-cache]
              Fielding, R., Nottingham, M., and J. Reschke, "HTTP
              Caching", draft-ietf-httpbis-cache-05 (work in progress),
              July 2019.

   [I-D.ietf-httpbis-header-structure]
              Nottingham, M. and P. Kamp, "Structured Headers for HTTP",
              draft-ietf-httpbis-header-structure-13 (work in progress),
              August 2019.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

   [RFC5234]  Crocker, D., Ed. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
              Specifications: ABNF", STD 68, RFC 5234,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5234, January 2008,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5234>.



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   [RFC7405]  Kyzivat, P., "Case-Sensitive String Support in ABNF",
              RFC 7405, DOI 10.17487/RFC7405, December 2014,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7405>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

5.2.  Informative References

   [RFC8446]  Rescorla, E., "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol
              Version 1.3", RFC 8446, DOI 10.17487/RFC8446, August 2018,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8446>.

5.3.  URIs

   [1] https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/

   [2] https://httpwg.org/

   [3] https://github.com/httpwg/http-extensions/labels/cache-header

Author's Address

   Mark Nottingham
   Fastly

   Email: mnot@mnot.net
   URI:   https://www.mnot.net/






















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