421 Misdirected Request

A server should emit 421 Misdirected Request when it receives a HTTP request that was not intended for that server.

This status was introduced with HTTP/2, but it may also be applicable to HTTP/1 servers. For example, a server might receive the following HTTP request:

GET /contact.html HTTP/1.1

Since HTTP/1.1 a client is required to include a Host header. A server might already know that the domain is not configured on that server, cand could respond with a 421 Misdirected Request response to tell the client that it connected to the wrong server:

HTTP/1.1 421 Misdirected Request
Content-Type: text/html

<h1>Switchboard operator error</h1>

So when can that actually happen? One example of this is that the DNS for a server was set to the wrong IP or CNAME, or simply a server configuration error.


There’s other examples where this might occur. In HTTP/2 it will be possible for a single HTTP/2 connection to be used for multiple domainnames via connection coalescing.

If a client is trying to use this feature but a server doesn’t support it, it must return 421 Misdirected Request This is actually the real reason this status got introduced.


HTTP series

This article is part of a series about the HTTP protocol. Read them all here:

Informational 1xx

Successful 2xx

Redirection 3xx

Client Error 4xx

Server Error 5xx

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