In an HTTP request, a server will send the desired resources to your browser, allowing you to see a certain website. If something goes wrong during this process, you may see an HTTP status code like the “411 Length Required” error.

Fortunately, you can easily fix the “411 Length Required” error. This HTTP status code happens when the server requires a content-length header, but it isn’t specified in a request. To resolve this issue, you can simply define a content length.

In this post, we’ll explain the “411 Length Required” status code and what causes it. Then, we’ll show you how to locate and fix this error. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to the “411 Length Required” Error

Whenever you click on a link or search for a URL, your browser will send a request to the website’s server. Then, the server will process the request and respond by sending the requested data.

Although you might not see them, the server will also send a status code in the HTTP header. Your browser will only notify you of HTTP status codes if something went wrong during the request.

For example, a common HTTP status code is a 400 bad request. This is a generic client-side error that can happen when you incorrectly type a URL:

A screenshot of the 400 bad request error
400 bad request error

HTTP status codes are grouped into five different classes:

  • 100s: Informational responses
  • 200s: Successful responses
  • 300s: Redirection codes
  • 400s: Client-side error codes
  • 500s: Server-side error codes
No idea what the “411 Length Required” error means, let alone how to fix it? 😅 Have no fear 👇Click to Tweet

Now that you know about HTTP status codes, let’s discuss the “411 Length Required” error. Since this is a less common error, you might become frustrated when it happens.

In a “411 Length Required” error, your request is rejected because it lacks a content-length header. If a server requires this information, you won’t be able to access the site without it.

What Causes the “411 Length Required” Error

In an HTTP request and response, the client and server can place additional information in HTTP headers. Since the “411 Length Required” status code is a client-side error, this means that there was a problem with the request header.

You can use the request header to provide context about the request, allowing the server to tailor its response. The request header can include:

  • Source IP address and port number
  • Content-type
  • Browser type (user-agent)
  • Requested URL

HTTP headers can also define the size of the entity-body. By specifying the content-length value, you can let the server know the anticipated size of the request. This is identified in a decimal number of octets.

For example, you can view the content length of a web page by right-clicking on an element and selecting Inspect. Under Network, you should find information about the request header:

Inspect element and go to headers
Using the Inspect element

In general, most HTTP requests will have both a request body and content-length header. However, some clients choose not to define the content length. This can be useful when performing chunked transfer-encoding.

Sometimes, a server will indicate that it requires a content-length header. When you receive a “411 Length Required” HTTP status code, you’ll likely need to define this value to proceed with the request.

How To Locate the “411 Length Required” Error

Since the “411 Length Required” status code is a client-side error, you might not know if this is happening to your website. Fortunately, you can monitor your site’s HTTP requests so you can ensure all visitors can access your content.

With a Kinsta hosting account, you can check for failed HTTP requests directly from your MyKinsta dashboard. To do this, you can look through your website logs.

First, open MyKinsta and log in. Then, navigate to Sites and select the website you want to analyze. You’ll only be able to monitor HTTP requests on your live website, so be sure not to click on your local environment:

MyKinsta dashboard
Open MyKinsta and go to Sites

This will take you to the Info page, where you can see basic details about your website. On the left-hand side, click on the Logs tab:

Click on the Logs tabs
Click on the “Logs” tabs

The Log viewer will automatically be set to display your site’s error logs. Using the dropdown menu, select the access.log option:

Select the access log button in MyKinsta
Select the access log button

In the access log, you can view all of the requests for your website. This will show the date, time, bytes sent, and user-agent. Here, you can also see the HTTP status codes for each request:

View all requests
View all statud code requests

You’ll see a 200 code if everything processes correctly. To locate possible “411 Length Required” errors, you can use the search bar to find a 411 status code.

How To Fix the “411 Length Required” Error (4 Methods)

Although you can keep track of “411 Length Required” status codes using your website logs, keep in mind that this is a client-side issue.

That means, like all 400 HTTP status codes, the error is caused by incorrect settings on the user’s side. To fix the issue, you have to alter the HTTP request. Let’s look at four ways you may be able to do this.

1. Check the Requested URL

First, you can try some general methods to fix 400 HTTP status codes. Since the “411 Length Required” is a client-side issue, you can review the information in your request. This can ensure that the browser understands it.

When fixing any 400 status codes, it’s a good idea to review the requested URL. If you manually entered a URL to reach a website, the address may have a typo in it. To check to see if this is the problem, try re-typing the address.

If you’re sure the URL is correct but the error persists, you can enter it into a search engine along with a keyword. For instance, you can find Kinsta’s article on speeding up a WooCommerce store by searching ‘site:kinsta.com speed up WooCommerce’:

A screenshot of a kinsta article
Kinsta WooCommerce article link

Since the “411 Length Required” error is a client-side issue, this is one basic step you can take. However, keep in mind that this may not resolve this specific status code. To do this, you’ll likely need to set a content-length header.

2. Set a Content-Length Header

If you receive a “411 Length Required” status code, the most direct way to solve this issue is by setting a content-length header. Since the server notes that content length is required to fulfill the request, it’s important to include it.

For example, if you’re sending a POST request to example.com, it may look something like this:

curl --verbose -X POST https://example.com

If you receive a “411 Length Required” status code, you’ll need to add a content-length header. This value is the number of bytes in the request. These bytes are represented by two hexadecimal digits, so you can divide the number of digits by two to determine the content length.

For example, ‘48656c6c6f21’ has 12 hexadecimal digits. To transition this value into bytes, you can divide it by two, which would make the content length 6 bytes.

Here’s what a 6 byte content length can look like in a request:

curl --verbose -X POST -H 'Content-Length: 6' https://example.com

Defining the content length will likely remove the “411 Length Required” error message and send back a 200 HTTP status code. Essentially, this means that the request was processed correctly.

3. Clear Your Browser Cache

Often, determining a content-length header is all you need to do to resolve the “411 Length Required error. If you still receive this status code, however, there are some additional steps you can take.

When you first access a website, your browser stores certain data. Even after you set a content-length header, this could cause a “411 Length Required” error to appear. To remove the message, try clearing your browser cache.

If you’re using Google Chrome, click on the three-dot icon in the top right corner. Then, select More Tools > Clear Browsing Data…:

Using Chrome to clear browser cache
Using Chrome to clear browser cache

This will open a pop-up window that you can use to manage browsing history, cookies, and cached data. Make sure to select Cached images and files, along with any other information you want to clear. Finally, click on Clear data:

Click on the clear data button to clear your browsing data
Click on the “Clear data” button

For Safari users, you can navigate to Safari in your toolbar. Here, select Clear history:

Clearing browser cache in Safari
Using Safari to clear browser cache

Then, you can choose whether to clear your entire browsing history, data from the last hour, or from the last few days. When finished, click on Clear History:

Clear all history
Clear all history

If you want to clear the cache on Mozilla Firefox, find the hamburger icon in the top-right corner. Next, select the History option:

Clearing cache using Firefox
Using Firefox to clear cache

On the next page, navigate to Clear recent history:

Click on the clear recent history button in Firefox
Click on the “Clear recent history” button

Be sure to select Cache and any other data you want to clear. After this, click on OK:

Select data to cache
Select the data you want to cache

Now you can try your HTTP request again to see if this resolved the “411 Length Required” error!

4. Uninstall Recent Updates or Extensions

An additional way to fix the “411 Length Required” error is to disable browser extensions. Occasionally, certain extensions can interfere with your browser, making them unable to interpret requests. If you’ve installed an extension recently, you can consider removing them.

If you’re using Google Chrome, this process will be similar to clearing your browser cache. First, find the menu icon and select More Tools > Extensions:

Using the Chrome browser to find extensions
Using Chrome to find extensions

From your list of extensions, find the one you want to remove. You can either remove them completely or simply turn them off using the slider:

Select or turn off the extensions you want
Select or turn off extensions

Likewise, new software updates can cause HTTP error codes. To uninstall a recent Windows update, you can navigate to the Windows Update tab under Update & Security in your Settings app.

If you have a macOS operating system, this process is much more complicated. To roll back an update, you’ll need to have a Time Machine backup from before the update. Then, you can restore the data from the backup.

Keep in mind that this method should be a last resort after you’ve tried other solutions. Since you’re reverting to an older software version, you’ll likely lose important functionality and bug fixes.

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Summary

It can be frustrating when a server denies your HTTP request, displaying a “411 Length Required” error. Without specifying a content-length header, you may not be able to pull information from the server. However, there are a few ways you can resolve this issue.

To review, here’s how you can fix the “411 Length Required” error:

  1. Check the requested URL.
  2. Set a content-length header.
  3. Clear your browser cache.
  4. Uninstall recent updates or extensions.

To ensure every visitor can access your site, you might want to enable performance monitoring. With a Kinsta hosting plan, you get one of the best APM tools on the market. Using our APM dashboard, you can review external requests and immediately solve HTTP errors!


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