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Request for Comments

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Alternate meaning: Wikipedia:Requests for comment

A Request for Comments (RFC) document is one of a series of numbered Internet informational documents and standards widely followed by commercial software and freeware in the Internet and Unix communities. The RFC series of documents on networking began in 1969 as part of the original ARPA wide area networking (ARPANET) project. Today, it is the official publication channel for the Internet Engineering Steering Group, Internet Architecture Board, and the broader Internet community. RFCs cover many topics in addition to Internet Standards, such as introductions to new research ideas and status memos about the Internet. RFC are published by the RFC Editor who is under the general direction of the IAB.

RFCs can be obtained on the Internet from or many other sites, using anonymous FTP, gopher, and other Internet document-retrieval systems.

Every RFC is available as ASCII text and may be available in other formats, depending on the author. The definitive version of any standards-track specifications is always the ASCII version.

The RFCs are produced in a process that is different than that used in formal standards organizations such as ANSI. They can be floated by technical experts acting on their own initiative and reviewed by the Internet at large. Practically speaking, standards-track RFCs are usually produced by experts participating in working groups which first publish what the IETF calls Internet-Drafts; this facilitates initial rounds of review before documents become RFCs.

The RFC tradition of pragmatic, experience-driven, after-the-fact standard writing done by individuals or small working groups has important advantages over the more formal, committee-driven process typical of ANSI or ISO.

Emblematic of some of these advantages is the existence of a flourishing tradition of joke RFCs. Usually at least one a year is published, usually on April Fool's Day.

The RFCs are most remarkable for how well they work - they manage to have neither the ambiguities that are usually rife in informal specifications, nor the committee-perpetrated misfeatures that often haunt formal standards, and they define a network that has grown to truly worldwide proportions.

For more details about RFCs and the RFC process, see RFC 2026, "The Internet Standards Process, Revision 3".

RFC 1, entitled "Host Software", was written by Steve Crocker from the University of California, Los Angeles, and published on April 7, 1969.

A complete RFC index in text format is available from the IETF website. Any published RFC can be directly found by appending the number to the URL: Replace # with the RFC number. See also this link: .

Table of contents
1 List of the most important RFCs
2 See also
3 Links to IETF RFCs
4 External links

List of the most important RFCs

RFC 768 (User Datagram Protocol), RFC 791 (Internet Protocol), RFC 792 (Control message protocol), RFC 793 (Transmission Control Protocol)

RFC 821 (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, obsoleted by RFC 2821), RFC 822 (Format of e-mail, obsoleted by RFC 2822)

RFC 826 (Address resolution protocol), RFC 894 (IP over Ethernet)

RFC 951 (Bootstrap Protocol), RFC 959 (File Transfer Protocol)

RFC 1034 (Domain Name System - concepts), RFC 1035 (DNS - implementation)

RFC 1122 (Host Requirements I), RFC 1123 (Host Requirements II), RFC 1191 (Path MTU discovery)

RFC 1256 (Router discovery)

RFC 1323 (High performance TCP), RFC 1350 (Trivial File Transfer Protocol)

RFC 1403 (BGP OSPF Interaction), RFC 1498 (Architectural discussion)

RFC 1518 (CIDR address allocation), RFC 1519 (CIDR)

RFC 1661 (Point-to-Point Protocol)

RFC 1738 (Uniform Resource Locator),

RFC 1771 (BGP), RFC 1772 (BGP application),

RFC 1789 (Telephone over Internet),

RFC 1812 (Requirements for IPv4 Routers,

RFC 1889 (Real-Time transport)

RFC 1905 (Simple network management protocol), RFC 1907 (MIB), RFC 1918 ("Network 10"),

RFC 1939 (POP3)

RFC 2001 (TCP performance extensions),

RFC 2026 (Internet Standards process)

RFC 2045, RFC 2046, RFC 2047, RFC 2048, RFC 2049 (MIME)

RFC 2060 (IMAP4, obsoleted by RFC 3501)

RFC 2131 (DHCP)

RFC 2223 (Instructions to RFC Authors), RFC 2231 (Character Sets)

RFC 2328 (OSPF)

RFC 2401 (Security Architecture), RFC 2453 (Routing Information Protocol)

RFC 2525 (TCP Problems) RFC 2535 (DNS Security) RFC 2581 (TCP congestion control)

RFC 2616 (HTTP)

RFC 2663 (Network address translation), RFC 2766 (NAT-PT)

RFC 2821 (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), RFC 2822 (Format of e-mail)

RFC 2960 (SCTP)

RFC 3010 (Network File System)

RFC 3031 (MPLS architecture)

RFC 3066 (Language Tags)

RFC 3092 (Etymology of "Foo")

RFC 3098 (Advertise Responsibly Using E-Mail)

RFC 3160 (Tao of IETF)

RFC 3168 (ECN)

RFC 3501 (IMAP4rev1)

See also

partially based on FOLDOC

Links to IETF RFCs

Generic RFCs

Link-Level RFCs

Internetwork-Level RFCs

Host/Router Requirements RFCs

ISO Interoperation RFCs

Domain Name System RFCs

This covers the operation of secondary domain name servers.

X.500 RFCs

See also X.500

Network Management RFCs

E-Mail RFCs

This is an important early RFC from the IETF that specified the protocol for transferring e-mail messages between computers on the Internet. Many additions have been made to it, but it remained a standard for many years until obsoleted by RFC 2821 (the number is not a coincidence: it was reserved for this use).

This is an important early RFC from the IETF that specified the format of e-mail messages exchanged between computers on the Internet. Many additions have been made to it, but it remained a standard for many years until obsoleted by RFC 2822 (the number is not a coincidence: it was reserved for this use).

This standard specifies the protocol for transferring e-mail messages between computers on the Internet.

This standard specifies a syntax for text messages that are sent between computer users, within the framework of electronic mail messages. This standard is about text-only messages. The syntax for sending other types of messages, such as binary or structured data, is specified as an extension of this standard by the MIME document series: RFC 2045, RFC 2046, RFC 2047, RFC 2049.

X.400 E-Mail RFCs


RFC 2047 specifies a standard way of encoding non US-ASCII characters into a string that identifies both the character set to use and the actual characters. The result of the encoding will be US-ASCII, and can be transmitted in Internet mail and decoded appropriately on the receiving end. This encoding is necessary in the first place because many characters in non-English languages can not be represented in 7-bit ASCII.

There are some mail clients that are not RFC 2047 Compliant, if you are using one of this clients you are strongly encuraged to change your mail client or to update it to a compliant version:

Eudora 4: Double quote characters are encoded with a Windows codpage and are eight-bit characters. Eudora's MIME headers indicate the MIME type but not 8-bit encoding. Suggest enabling "quoted printable" encoding.

April 1st RFCs

April 1st RFC for complete list

Random Support RFCs

Random Application RFCs

This provides a way to register extensions of codes for language names in ISO 639. The current reviewer of new tags and maintainer of the registry is Michael Everson.

Random RFCs

This is a memo and status report of the DARPA Internet Gateway. It deals with two areas: gateway procedures and message formats. Topics include information on the forwarding of internet datagrams, various protocols supported by the gateway, and specific gateway software. Unlike many other RFCs, it does not list any implementation specifics.

External links