Assertion: Prefetching With GET Is Not Good

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Brian D. Davison

The benefits of Web cache prefetching are well understood, and so prefetching has been implemented in a number of commercial products. This paper argues that the current support for prefetching in HTTP/1.1 is insufficient because prefetching with GET is not good. Existing prefetching implementations can cause problems with undesirable side-effects and server abuse, and the potential for these problems may thwart additional prefetching development and deployment. We make some initial suggestions of extensions to HTTP that would allow for safe prefetching, reduced server abuse, and differentiated Web server quality of service. It is our hope that this paper will restart a dialog on these issues that will move in time into a standards development process.

In A. Bestavros and M. Rabinovich (eds), Web Caching and Content Delivery: Proceedings of the Sixth International Web Content Caching and Content Distribution Workshop (WCW'01), Boston, June 20-22, 2001, pages 203-215, Elsevier.

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Last modified: 9 February 2002
Brian D. Davison