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multipurpose internet [e]mail extension (MIME), MIME type

A MIME type describes the ‘type of file’ that will be downloaded.

For example the MIME type of the file tells a web browser “this file is a Flash movie”, “this file is a QuickTime movie” or “this file is an MP3 (audio) file”.

When a request is made to a server, part of the server response is to send the MIME information in the header of the file to be downloaded.

For each file/content type, a server must be configured to send an appropriate MIME type. If this is not done, both the server and the web browser will ‘guess’, and it may appear as if the webpage is broken, or that a plug-in is required to view the content.

Related terms: client/server, doctype, download/upload, hosting, HTTP, plug-in, server.

 

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