417 Expectation Failed HTTP Status Code


HTTP status code 417 is defined as "Expectation Failed." This status code is used when the server cannot meet the requirements of the Expect request-header field that was sent in the HTTP request. Essentially, when a client includes an Expect header in an HTTP request, it indicates that the client expects the server to behave in a particular way or meet certain conditions before proceeding with the request. If the server cannot fulfill these expectations, it responds with the 417 status code to indicate that the expected behavior cannot be met.

This mechanism is designed to allow clients to avoid the overhead of sending data to the server if certain conditions are not met, potentially saving bandwidth and processing resources. For example, a client might use this to ensure that a large file will only be uploaded if authentication credentials are correct without having to send the entire file to find out.

However, the use of the 417 status code is relatively rare in practice, and handling of the Expect header is not universally implemented across all web servers and clients.


417 Expectation Failed

Common Causes

Here are the primary causes for a 417 Expectation Failed status code:

  1. Expect Header Cannot be Satisfied: The most straightforward cause is that the server recognizes the Expect header but cannot comply with the specified expectation. This could be due to server limitations, configurations, or policies that prevent it from meeting the expectation set by the client.

  2. Unsupported Expect Header: The server might not understand the expectation stated in the Expect header because it's not implemented or recognized. While the most common expectation indicated is "100-continue," which asks the server if it's okay to send the body of the request, clients might specify expectations that the server does not support or recognize.

  3. Proxy Servers: In some cases, intermediary proxies might not properly handle the Expect header or the expectations set by the client. This miscommunication or mishandling can lead to the server responding with a 417 status code, especially if the proxy fails to interpret or forward the Expect header correctly.

  4. Server Configuration or Policy: Specific server configurations or policies might automatically reject requests with certain Expect values. This could be due to security policies, resource limitations, or other administrative rules set on the server side.

  5. Client Error: Sometimes, the issue could stem from the client incorrectly setting the Expect header or having unrealistic expectations that no server could meet. This is less common but can happen with misconfigured clients or custom client implementations.

To resolve a 417 status code, the client may need to modify the request by removing or adjusting the Expect header. Additionally, server-side adjustments might be necessary if the issue is due to server configuration or policy.

Browser Support

The following table will show you the current browser support for the 417 Expectation Failed HTTP status code.

Edge Chrome Firefox Opera Safari
Tablets / Mobile
Chrome Firefox Opera Safari Samsung Webview

Last updated by CSSPortal on: 1st April 2024