Anastasios Antoniadis
3 min readMar 9, 2024

--

How to Fix

When working with web technologies, it is essential to understand and correctly implement HTTP protocols. One of the errors that developers might encounter while making HTTP requests is the “HTTP Method Names Must Be Tokens” error. This error usually occurs when an invalid or improperly formatted HTTP method is used in a request. In this article, we will discuss the causes of this error and provide strategies for resolving it, ensuring smooth communication between clients and servers.

Understanding the Error

The HTTP protocol has a set of request methods, also called HTTP verbs, such as GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc., which indicate the desired action to be taken on a given resource. When you encounter the error message “HTTP Method Names Must Be Tokens,” it means that the method mentioned in the request doesn’t follow the standard format or is unknown. This error could be due to a mistake in typing, using unsupported custom methods, or having a formatting problem in the request.

Common Causes

- Typographical Errors: Simple typos in method names (e.g., “GET “ with an unintended space, “PosT” with mixed casing).

- Unsupported Methods: Attempting to use custom or unconventional method names not widely supported or recognized by the server.

- Formatting Issues: Incorrectly formatting the request, such as missing separators or malformed headers, leading to misinterpretation of the method name.

- Proxy or Middleware Interference: Proxies or middleware altering requests in a way that corrupts the method name or format.

Solutions

Verify Method Name and Casing

Ensure the method name is correctly spelled and appropriately capitalized. HTTP methods are case-sensitive and should be in uppercase.

GET /example HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com

Use Standard HTTP Methods

Stick to standard HTTP methods unless absolutely necessary and supported by the server. Custom methods can lead to compatibility issues. The primary HTTP methods are GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, PATCH, HEAD, and OPTIONS.

Check Request Formatting

Review the entire request to ensure it’s properly formatted. This includes verifying that there are no leading or trailing spaces in the method name, the URL is correctly specified, and headers are well-formed.

POST /submit-form HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

name=John&age=30

Inspect Proxies and Middleware

If your request passes through any proxy servers or middleware, ensure they are configured correctly and that requests are not altered unexpectedly. This might involve reviewing proxy settings or middleware code to confirm that HTTP methods are preserved accurately.

Debugging Tools and Logs

Utilize network debugging tools and server logs to capture the raw HTTP request. Tools like Wireshark, Postman, or browser developer tools can help inspect and debug the request being sent. Comparing the raw request against expected standards can often reveal subtle issues.

Update Client and Server Software

Ensure that both client and server software is up to date. Older versions might contain bugs or lack support for certain HTTP protocol features, leading to errors.

Consult Documentation and Community Resources

When in doubt, refer to the documentation for both the client library/framework you’re using and the server or API you’re communicating with. Community forums and Q&A sites like Stack Overflow can also be valuable resources for resolving common issues.

Conclusion

The “HTTP Method Names Must Be Tokens” error signals a deviation from standard HTTP request formatting, often due to simple mistakes like typos, incorrect method names, or misconfiguration. Developers can efficiently resolve this error by methodically checking the request’s structure, adhering to HTTP standards, and using the right debugging tools. Maintaining clear and standards-compliant communication protocols is key to developing robust and interoperable web applications.

--

--