/ HTTP Status Codes

408 Request Timeout

The 408 Request Timeout status code is an HTTP response status that indicates the server did not receive a complete request from the client within a specified time frame.

Understanding the 408 Request Timeout Status Code

When a client sends an HTTP request to a server, it expects a response within a reasonable amount of time. However, due to various factors, such as network latency or server load, the server might not be able to process the request promptly. In such cases, the server may decide to close the connection and return a 408 Request Timeout status code.

The primary reason for a server to return a 408 Request Timeout is to prevent resource exhaustion, as waiting indefinitely for a request to complete can lead to server performance issues.

Example Scenario: A Request Timeout in Action

Consider the following example of an HTTP request and response where the server returns a 408 Request Timeout status code:


GET /example HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: ExampleClient/1.0


HTTP/1.1 408 Request Timeout
Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2022 00:00:00 GMT
Server: ExampleServer/1.0
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 123
Connection: close

<head><title>408 Request Timeout</title></head>
<body><h1>Request Timeout</h1><p>The server did not receive a complete request within the allowed time.</p></body>

In this example, the client sends a GET request to the server for the /example resource. However, the server is unable to process the request within the allowed time and returns a 408 Request Timeout status code.

Handling 408 Request Timeout in Client Applications

When a client receives a 408 Request Timeout status code, it should consider the following steps:

  1. Retry the request: The client can attempt to resend the request, as the timeout might have been caused by temporary network issues or server load. However, it is essential to implement a backoff strategy to avoid overwhelming the server with repeated requests.
  2. Check the request: Ensure that the request is well-formed and does not contain any errors that might cause the server to take longer to process it.
  3. Monitor network conditions: If timeouts are consistently occurring, it might indicate network issues between the client and the server. Monitoring network conditions can help identify and resolve such problems.

Handling 408 Request Timeout in Server Applications

Server-side applications should implement the following strategies to mitigate the risk of returning 408 Request Timeout status codes:

  1. Set appropriate timeout values: Configure the server to allow sufficient time for processing requests based on the expected workload and server capacity. However, avoid setting excessively high timeout values, as this can lead to resource exhaustion.
  2. Optimize server performance: Ensure that the server is adequately optimized to handle incoming requests efficiently. This can include load balancing, caching, and other performance-enhancing techniques.
  3. Monitor server load: Regularly monitor the server’s load and performance to identify potential bottlenecks and address them promptly.


The 408 Request Timeout status code indicates that the server did not receive a complete request from the client within the allowed time. This status code helps prevent resource exhaustion on the server. Both client and server applications should implement appropriate strategies to handle request timeouts effectively, including retrying requests, optimizing server performance, and monitoring network conditions.

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