The Retry-After response HTTP header indicates how long the user agent should wait before making a follow-up request. There are two main cases this header is used:

  • When sent with a 503 (Service Unavailable) response, it indicates how long the service is expected to be unavailable.
  • When sent with a redirect response, such as 301 (Moved Permanently), it indicates the minimum time that the user agent is asked to wait before issuing the redirected request.
Header type Response header
Forbidden header name no


Retry-After: <http-date>
Retry-After: <delay-seconds>


A date after which to retry. See the Date header for more details on the HTTP date format.
A non-negative decimal integer indicating the seconds to delay after the response is received.


Dealing with scheduled downtime

Support for the Retry-After header on both clients and servers is still inconsistent. However, some crawlers and spiders, like the Googlebot, honor the Retry-After header. It is useful to sent it along with a 503 (Service Unavailable) response, so that search engines will keep indexing your site when the downtime is over.

Retry-After: Wed, 21 Oct 2015 07:28:00 GMT
Retry-After: 120


Specification Title
RFC 7231, section 7.1.3: Retry-After Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Semantics and Content

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari Servo
Basic Support??No support1????
Feature Android Chrome for Android Edge Mobile Firefox for Android IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic Support???????

1. See Bug 230260.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: fscholz
 Last updated by: fscholz,