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A System for Dynamic Updates of Web Content's HTTP Expirations Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016344D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Oct-12
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21

Publishing Venue



A solution is disclosed that is capable of setting expirations on all content served from a webserver. It provides this setting in a manner which allows for the dynamic update of the expiration data via the introduction of changes to an expiration file, which is reloaded if the file is changed on disk. This does not require a restart or reload of the webserver. It also provides for the potential lack of rules being available by introducing a set of default rules which will be applied to all content if no other rules exist. As the internet continues to grow, it has become more and more important for network infrastructure owners to add HTTP caching servers. These servers exist at several points between a content provider and the content consumer: in the consumer's browser cache, at the consumer's internet service provider, potentially at peering points between the consumer's internet server provide and the content provider's network, and in front of the provider's actual webservers. As this practice has grown, it has become necessary for distributors of content which is time-sensitive or rapidly changing to ensure that these caching servers only hold onto content for a limited period of time. The HTTP 1.1 specification provides an extensive set of directives which determine the cacheability of web content. The manipulation of these directives is what allows a content provider to ensure that timely content is received by the consumer as the provider intends. Most webservers allow a server administrator or content publisher to set these directives (headers) on outgoing content. However, as sites grow in size and complexity, it has become convenient to provide the ability to ensure expiration headers are set for all content, and that the rules that apply to content served can be modified quickly, without an interruption or delay in web serving. This solution introduces a customer webserver plugin which hooks into existing webserver APIs (for example, ISAPI on Microsoft's