MIME stands for “Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions.”

A MIME kind or “media type” is a textual content string that identifies a particular file format. It consists of two elements — a sort and a subtype — separated by a ahead slash. For instance, the MIME kind of a plain textual content file is:

textual content/plain


SMTP, the usual protocol used to ship e mail messages, was not initially designed to assist file transfers. Email attachments needed to be encoded as a part of the message, limiting their measurement. MIME, which was launched the Nineteen Nineties, made it simpler to ship information through e mail using a customized Content-Type: header. Decades later, SMTP makes use of the identical methodology. Email messages that include attachments embrace a header that appears one thing like this:

Content-Type: multipart/combined; boundary =”[identifier]”

Other Internet protocols quickly adopted MIME sorts as a option to establish information transferred over the Internet. HTTP, for instance, makes use of MIME sorts to establish the kind of information accessible from a URL.

A regular webpage has the next MIME kind:

Content-Type: textual content/html

Since MIME sorts have many different makes use of apart from e mail, they’re additionally known as media sorts.

MIME Type Examples

MIME sorts, are used to establish hundreds totally different file codecs. The official checklist is maintained by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). Some examples embrace:

  • textual content/html – HTML doc (webpage)
  • textual content/css – CSS file
  • textual content/javascript – JavaScript file
  • image/jpeg – JPEG image file
  • image/png – PNG image file
  • audio/wav – WAVE audio file
  • video/mp4 – MPEG video file
  • utility/zip – ZIP compressed archive

MIME Types vs File Extensions

MIME sorts and file extensions are comparable in that they each establish file codecs. However, MIME sorts present two benefits:

  1. They include a sort and subtype. The kind (previous the ahead slash) helps categorize file sorts, making it simple for purposes to filter information. For instance, an Internet program could enable the switch of textual content and image information, however not audio or video information.
  2. They have a one-to-one relationship with file codecs. Some file codecs have a number of file extensions. For instance, a JPEG image could have a .JPG or .JPEG extension. A webpage could have an .HTM or .HTML extension. MIME sorts present commonplace identifiers for file codecs which are acknowledged throughout purposes and totally different protocols.

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