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What is HTTP Content-Type

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What is HTTP Content-Type

Content-Type is essential in HTTP communication to specify the type of data being sent. This article introduces fundamental information about Content-Type, detailing its types and how to specify them when sending requests.

Content-Type is essential in HTTP communication to specify the type of data being sent. This article introduces fundamental information about Content-Type, detailing its types and how to specify them when sending requests.


What is an HTTP Content-Type?

Content-Type is an HTTP header that indicates the media type of the resource sent in the HTTP message body. It tells the recipient what kind of data is sent by the server or the client and how to interpret it. This header is a crucial part of the HTTP protocol, helping the receiving end to understand how to process the payload.

The Content-Type header is included in the HTTP headers section of a request or response, and it consists of a media type and an optional character set specification. The basic syntax of the Content-Type header is:

Content-Type: media-type; charset=character-set

Here, media-type refers to the type of data, such as text/html for HTML documents or application/json for JSON data. The charset parameter is optional and specifies the character encoding for textual data.

For example, if a server sends an HTML document as a response, it might include the following Content-Type header:

Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8

What is the Content-Type of a file?

The Content-Type of a file, when transmitted over the web, refers to the media type of the file. It is a MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) type that specifies the nature and format of the file's content. The Content-Type header is used in HTTP headers to convey this information.

When a file is served by a web server, the server includes the Content-Type header in the HTTP response to indicate the type of content being sent. Browsers and other clients use this information to correctly interpret and display the content.

Is it necessary to set Content-Type?

Yes, setting the Content-Type header in HTTP requests and responses is a good practice because it informs the recipient about the media type of the content, ensuring proper interpretation, security, and rendering, especially in web applications and APIs. Now, you may understand the basic concept of Content-Type. Let's continue for further learning.

What are the Common Values for HTTP "Content -Type"

The Content-Type header in HTTP requests and responses can take various values to indicate the media type of the content being transmitted. Apidog supports various Content -Type like below:

Some common Content-Type values include:

Type text:

  • text/css
  • text/csv
  • text/html
  • text/javascript (obsolete)
  • text/plain
  • text/xml

Type video:

  • video/mpeg
  • video/mp4
  • video/quicktime
  • video/x-ms-wmv
  • video/x-msvideo
  • video/x-flv
  • video/webm

Type audio:

  • audio/mpeg
  • audio/x-ms-wma
  • audio/vnd.rn-realaudio
  • audio/x-wav

Type image:

  • image/gif
  • image/jpeg
  • image/png
  • image/tiff

Type application:

  • application/java-archive
  • application/EDI-X12
  • application/EDIFACT
  • application/javascript
  • application/octet-stream
  • application/ogg
  • application/pdf
  • application/xhtml+xml
  • application/x-shockwave-flash
  • application/json
  • application/ld+json
  • application/xml
  • application/zip
  • application/x-www-form-urlencoded

For more comprehensive details, click here: http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/media-types.xhtml

How to Set Content Types when Testing APIs with Apidog

Apidog is an API testing tool that makes it easy to configure request and response data formats. Follow these steps to take full advantage of its content type handling capabilities:

  1. Create your API request in Apidog When you open a new request, switch to the Body tab to add any data parameters, JSON documents, or other payloads to send.
API request

2. Select the body content type In the Body tab, choose JSON, XML, Form Data or another available content type. Apidog automatically sets the matching Content-Type header for you.

3. Check the added header Switch over to the Header tab. Note that Apidog has already set the Content-Type header based on your body content format selection. While still in the Header tab, you can also set the Accept header to indicate the response format you want from the API server.

4. Send your request Once your headers and body data are configured, send the request to test the API and inspect the full request and response interaction.

Send your request

Following these simple steps, you can leverage Apidog’s handy content type presets to remove the hassle from configuring API test requests and responses. Focus on validating API functionality rather than fiddling with data formats.


Content-Type is an HTTP header that indicates the format of request and response body data. It specifies if the payload is JSON, XML, form data, etc. Setting the Content-Type appropriately is essential when exchanging formatted data with APIs.

It must be configured in request/response headers, HTML forms, Ajax calls, and more per API specifications. The Apidog API testing tool simplifies content type handling through its intuitive UI.

This eases testing workflows so you can focus on API functionality rather than data formatting concerns. Proper use of Content-Type headers ensures requests and responses are interpreted correctly when integrating with APIs.