3.2.1 General Syntax

URIs in HTTP can be represented in absolute form or relative to some known base URI [11], depending upon the context of their use. The two forms are differentiated by the fact that absolute URIs always begin with a scheme name followed by a colon. For definitive information on URL syntax and semantics, see "Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax and Semantics," RFC 2396 [42] (which replaces RFCs 1738 [4] and RFC 1808 [11]). This specification adopts the definitions of "URI-reference", "absoluteURI", "relativeURI", "port", "host","abs_path", "rel_path", and "authority" from that specification.

The HTTP protocol does not place any a priori limit on the length of a URI. Servers MUST be able to handle the URI of any resource they serve, and SHOULD be able to handle URIs of unbounded length if they provide GET-based forms that could generate such URIs. A server SHOULD return 414 (Request-URI Too Long) status if a URI is longer than the server can handle (see Section 10.4.15).

Note: Servers ought to be cautious about depending on URI lengths above 255 bytes, because some older client or proxy implementations might not properly support these lengths.