The If-Match HTTP request header makes the request conditional. For GET and HEAD methods, the server will return the requested resource only if it matches one of the listed ETags. For PUT and other non-safe methods, it will only upload the resource in this case.

The comparison with the stored ETag uses the strong comparison algorithm, meaning two files are considered identical byte by byte only. If a listed ETag has the W/ prefix indicating a weak entity tag, this comparison algorithm will never match it.

There are two common use cases:

  • For GET and HEAD methods, used in combination with a Range header, it can guarantee that the new ranges requested come from the same resource as the previous one. If it doesn't match, then a 416 (Range Not Satisfiable) response is returned.
  • For other methods, and in particular for PUT, If-Match can be used to prevent the lost update problem. It can check if the modification of a resource that the user wants to upload will not override another change that has been done since the original resource was fetched. If the request cannot be fulfilled, the 412 (Precondition Failed) response is returned.
Header type Request header
Forbidden header name no


If-Match: <etag_value>
If-Match: <etag_value>, <etag_value>, …



Entity tags uniquely representing the requested resources. They are a string of ASCII characters placed between double quotes (like "675af34563dc-tr34"). They may be prefixed by W/ to indicate that they are "weak", i.e. that they represent the resource semantically but not byte-by-byte. However, in an If-Match header, weak entity tags will never match.


The asterisk is a special value representing any resource.


    If-Match: "bfc13a64729c4290ef5b2c2730249c88ca92d82d"

    If-Match: "67ab43", "54ed21", "7892dd"

    If-Match: *


Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Conditional Requests (HTTP/1.1 Conditional Requests)
# header.if-match

Browser compatibility

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See also