Web servers were developed to deliver simple HTML documents and images to a client (such as a web browser). However, web servers can now deliver more than HTML pages.
To correctly identify and display other types of documents, a web browser relies on a Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) header sent by the web server.
The MIME header tells the web browser what type of document is being sent and what program or plug-in is required to display it. These types include hundreds of different kinds of documents.
For example, more than 360 MIME types are included with the Apache web server in the MIME.TYPES configuration file. The configuration file also includes variations on file extensions (such as MPEG, MPG, or MPE for files containing MPEG video content).
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