The HTTP 101 status code means a server is switching to a different protocol requested by a client.
The protocol upgrade mechanism is commonly used to establish WebSocket connections. After the WebSocket connection is established, the server can use both HTTP and WebSocket protocols to communicate with the client (WebSocket protocol is designed to share the same ports as HTTP).
You can initiate protocol changes by sending the
GET /socket HTTP/1.1 Host: chat.example.com Origin: https://example.com Upgrade: websocket Connection: Upgrade Sec-WebSocket-Key: t5JpHMbiL1wzlkV1GBhzqw== Sec-WebSocket-Extensions: permessage-deflate Sec-WebSocket-Protocol: wamp Sec-WebSocket-Version: 13
If the server supports and is willing to talk using a new protocol, it will send back the
101 Switching Protocols status code with the
Upgrade header. If the server doesn’t want or can’t upgrade the connection, it will respond with the
200 OK status code.
HTTP/1.1 101 Switching Protocols Upgrade: websocket Connection: Upgrade Sec-Websocket-Accept: hz2kBDN0IrJPZHpoMoci6V9RzEE= Sec-Websocket-Extensions: permessage-deflate
Once the WebSocket handshake has completed successfully, the client and server can start transferring data.
Note that you can’t upgrade HTTP/2 connections to different protocols because HTTP/2 doesn’t use connection-specific headers. That’s a design decision since, in HTTP/2, the
connection-specific metadata is conveyed by other means.
You might notice that the terms
101 Web Socket Protocol Handshake and
101 Switching Protocols are used interchangeably. They both mean the same thing.
- 426 Upgrade Required - when the server wants to force the client to upgrade a protocol.