On this page:
2.1 URL Structure
path/  param
2.2 URL Parsing Functions
combine-url/  relative
netscape/  string->url
2.3 URL Functions
get-pure-port/  headers
call/  input-url
http-sendrecv/  url
2.4 URL HTTPS mode
2.5 URL Unit
[email protected]
2.6 URL Signature
url+  scheme^

2 URLs and HTTP

 (require net/url) package: base
The net/url library provides utilities to parse and manipulate URIs, as specified in RFC 2396 [RFC2396], and to use the HTTP protocol.

To access the text of a document from the web, first obtain its URL as a string. Convert the address into a url structure using string->url. Then, open the document using get-pure-port or get-impure-port, depending on whether or not you wish to examine its MIME headers. At this point, you have a regular input port with which to process the document, as with any other file.

Currently the only supported protocols are "http", "https", and sometimes "file".

The net/url logs information and background-thread errors to a logger named 'net/url.

2.1 URL Structure

 (require net/url-structs) package: base
The URL structure types are provided by the net/url-structs library, and re-exported by net/url and net/url-string.


(struct url (scheme
    #:extra-constructor-name make-url)
  scheme : (or/c false/c string?)
  user : (or/c false/c string?)
  host : (or/c false/c string?)
  port : (or/c false/c exact-nonnegative-integer?)
  path-absolute? : boolean?
  path : (listof path/param?)
  query : (listof (cons/c symbol? (or/c false/c string?)))
  fragment : (or/c false/c string?)
The basic structure for all URLs, which is explained in RFC 3986 [RFC3986]. The following diagram illustrates the parts:

  http://[email protected]:801/cgi-bin/finger;xyz?name=shriram;host=nw#top

  {-1}   {2} {3} {4}{---5---------} {6} {----7-------------} {8}


  1 = scheme, 2 = user, 3 = host, 4 = port,

  5 = path (two elements),  6 = param (of second path element),

  7 = query, 8 = fragment

The strings inside the user, path, query, and fragment fields are represented directly as Racket strings, without URL-syntax-specific quoting. The procedures string->url and url->string translate encodings such as %20 into spaces and back again.

By default, query associations are parsed with either ; or & as a separator, and they are generated with & as a separator. The current-alist-separator-mode parameter adjusts the behavior.

An empty string at the end of the path list corresponds to a URL that ends in a slash. For example, the result of (string->url "http://racket-lang.org/a/") has a path field with strings "a" and "", while the result of (string->url "http://racket-lang.org/a") has a path field with only the string "a".

When a "file" URL is represented by a url structure, the path field is mostly a list of path elements. For Unix paths, the root directory is not included in path; its presence or absence is implicit in the path-absolute? flag. For Windows paths, the first element typically represents a drive, but a UNC path is represented by a first element that is "" and then successive elements complete the drive components that are separated by / or \.


(struct path/param (path param)
    #:extra-constructor-name make-path/param)
  path : (or/c string? (or/c 'up 'same))
  param : (listof string?)
A pair that joins a path segment with its params in a URL.

2.2 URL Parsing Functions

 (require net/url-string) package: base
The functions used to convert strings and paths to from URL structure types and back again are provided by the net/url-string library, and re-exported by net/url.

A regexp value that can be useful for matching url strings. Mostly follows RFC 3986 [RFC3986], Appendix B, except for using * instead of + for the scheme part (see url).

Added in version of package base.


(string->url str)  url?

  str : url-regexp
Parses the URL specified by str into a url struct. The string->url procedure uses form-urlencoded->alist when parsing the query, so it is sensitive to the current-alist-separator-mode parameter for determining the association separator.

The contract on str insists that, if the url has a scheme, then the scheme begins with a letter and consists only of letters, numbers, +, -, and . characters.

If str starts with file: (case-insensitively) and the value of the file-url-path-convention-type parameter is 'windows, then special parsing rules apply to accommodate ill-formed but widely-recognized path encodings:

In both of these cases, the host is "", the port is #f, and path-element decoding (which extract parameters or replaces %20 with a space, for example) is not applied to the path.

Changed in version of package base: Changed handling of file: URLs when the value of file-url-path-convention-type is 'windows. Changed in version Use more specific regexp for input contract. Changed in version Support a host as an IPv6 literal address as written in [...].


(combine-url/relative base relative)  url?

  base : url?
  relative : string?
Given a base URL and a relative path, combines the two and returns a new URL as per the URL combination specification. They are combined according to the rules in RFC 3986 [RFC3986].

This function does not raise any exceptions.


(netscape/string->url str)  url?

  str : string?
Turns a string into a URL, applying (what appear to be) Netscape’s conventions on automatically specifying the scheme: a string starting with a slash gets the scheme "file", while all others get the scheme "http".


(url->string URL)  string?

  URL : url?
Generates a string corresponding to the contents of a url struct. For a "file:" URL, the URL must not be relative, and the result always starts file://. For a URL with a host, user, or port, its path must be either absolute or empty.

The url->string procedure uses alist->form-urlencoded when formatting the query, so it is sensitive to the current-alist-separator-mode parameter for determining the association separator. The default is to separate associations with a &.

The encoding of path segments and fragment is sensitive to the current-url-encode-mode parameter.

Changed in version of package base: Support a host as an IPv6 literals addresses by writing the address in [...].


(path->url path)  url?

  path : (or/c path-string? path-for-some-system?)
Converts a path to a url.

With the 'unix path convention, the host in the resulting URL is always "", and the path is absolute from the root.

With the 'windows path convention and a UNC path, the machine part of the UNC root is used as the URL’s host, and the drive part of the root is the first element of the URL’s path.

Changed in version of package base: Changed 'windows encoding of UNC paths.


(url->path URL [kind])  path-for-some-system?

  URL : url?
  kind : (or/c 'unix 'windows) = (system-path-convention-type)
Converts URL, which is assumed to be a "file" URL, to a path.

For the 'unix path convention, the URL’s host is ignored, and the URL’s path is formed relative to the root.

For the 'windows path convention:

Changed in version of package base: Changed 'windows treatment of a non-"" host.

Converts path to a string that parses as a relative URL (with forward slashes). Each element of path is an element of the resulting URL path, and the string form of each element is encoded as needed. If path is syntactically a directory, then the resulting URL ends with /.


(file-url-path-convention-type)  (or/c 'unix 'windows)

(file-url-path-convention-type kind)  void?
  kind : (or/c 'unix 'windows)
Determines the default conversion from strings for "file" URLs; see string->url.


(current-url-encode-mode)  (or/c 'recommended 'unreserved)

(current-url-encode-mode mode)  void?
  mode : (or/c 'recommended 'unreserved)
Determines how url->string encodes !, *, ', (, and ) in path segments and fragments: 'recommended leave them as-is, while 'unreserved encodes them using %. The 'recommended mode corresponds to the recommendations of RFC 2396 [RFC2396], but 'unreserved avoids characters that are in some contexts mistaken for delimiters around URLs.

Internally, 'recommended mode uses uri-path-segment-encode and uri-encode, while 'unreserved mode uses uri-path-segment-unreserved-encode and uri-unreserved-encode.

2.3 URL Functions

An HTTP connection is created as a pure port or a impure port. A pure port is one from which the MIME headers have been removed, so that what remains is purely the first content fragment. An impure port is one that still has its MIME headers.


(get-pure-port URL    
  #:redirections redirections])  input-port?
  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null
  redirections : exact-nonnegative-integer? = 0


(head-pure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(delete-pure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(options-pure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null
Initiates a GET/HEAD/DELETE/OPTIONS request for URL and returns a pure port corresponding to the body of the response. The optional list of strings can be used to send header lines to the server.

The GET method is used to retrieve whatever information is identified by URL. If redirections is not 0, then get-pure-port will follow redirections from the server, up to the limit given by redirections.

The HEAD method is identical to GET, except the server must not return a message body. The meta-information returned in a response to a HEAD request should be identical to the information in a response to a GET request.

The DELETE method is used to delete the entity identified by URL.

Beware: By default, "https" scheme handling does not verify a server’s certificate (i.e., it’s equivalent of clicking through a browser’s warnings), so communication is safe, but the identity of the server is not verified. To validate the server’s certificate, set current-https-protocol to 'secure or a context created with ssl-secure-client-context.

The "file" scheme for URLs is handled only by get-pure-port, which uses open-input-file, does not handle exceptions, and ignores the optional strings.

Changed in version of package base: Added options-pure-port.


(get-impure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(head-impure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(delete-impure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(options-impure-port URL [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  header : (listof string?) = null
Like get-pure-port, etc., but the resulting impure port contains both the returned headers and the body. The "file" URL scheme is not handled by these functions.

Changed in version of package base: Added options-impure-port.


(post-pure-port URL post [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  post : bytes?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(put-pure-port URL post [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  post : bytes?
  header : (listof string?) = null
Initiates a POST/PUT request for URL and sends the post byte string. The result is a pure port, which contains the body of the response is returned. The optional list of strings can be used to send header lines to the server.

Beware: See get-pure-port for warnings about "https" certificate validation.


(post-impure-port URL post [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  post : bytes?
  header : (listof string?) = null


(put-impure-port URL post [header])  input-port?

  URL : url?
  post : bytes?
  header : (listof string?) = null
Like post-pure-port and put-pure-port, but the resulting impure port contains both the returned headers and body.


(display-pure-port in)  void?

  in : input-port?
Writes the output of a pure port, which is useful for debugging purposes.


(purify-port in)  string?

  in : input-port?
Purifies a port, returning the MIME headers, plus a leading line for the form HTTP/vers code message, where vers is something like 1.0 or 1.1, code is an exact integer for the response code, and message is arbitrary text without a return or newline.

The net/head library provides procedures, such as extract-field for manipulating the header.

Since web servers sometimes return mis-formatted replies, purify-port is liberal in what it accepts as a header. as a result, the result string may be ill formed, but it will either be the empty string, or it will be a string matching the following regexp:



(get-pure-port/headers url 
  #:redirections redirections 
  #:status? status?] 
  #:connection connection) 
input-port? string?
  url : url?
  headers : (listof string?) = '()
  redirections : exact-nonnegative-integer? = 0
  status? : boolean? = #f
  connection : (or/c #f http-connection?)
This function is an alternative to calling get-impure-port and purify-port when needing to follow redirections. It also supports HTTP/1.1 connections, which are used when the connection argument is not #f.

The get-pure-port/headers function performs a GET request on url, follows up to redirections redirections and returns a port containing the data as well as the headers for the final connection. If status? is true, then the status line is included in the result string.

A given connection should be used for communication with a particular HTTP/1.1 server, unless connection is closed (via http-connection-close) between uses for different servers. If connection is provided, read all data from the result port before making a new request with the same connection. (Reusing a connection without reading all data may or may not work.)


(http-connection? v)  boolean?

  v : any/c


(make-http-connection)  http-connection?


(http-connection-close connection)  void?

  connection : http-connection?
A HTTP connection value represents a potentially persistent connection with a HTTP/1.1 server for use with get-pure-port/headers.

The make-http-connection creates a “connection” that is initially unconnected. Each call to get-pure-port/headers leaves a connection either connected or unconnected, depending on whether the server allows the connection to continue. The http-connection-close function unconnects, but it does not prevent further use of the connection value.


(call/input-url URL connect handle)  any

  URL : url?
  connect : (url? . -> . input-port?)
  handle : (input-port? . -> . any)
(call/input-url URL connect handle header)  any
  URL : url?
  connect : (url? (listof string?) . -> . input-port?)
  handle : (input-port? . -> . any)
  header : (listof string?)
Given a URL and a connect procedure like get-pure-port to convert the URL to an input port (either a pure port or impure port), calls the handle procedure on the port and closes the port on return. The result of the handle procedure is the result of call/input-url.

When a header argument is supplied, it is passed along to the connect procedure.

The connection is made in such a way that the port is closed before call/input-url returns, no matter how it returns. In particular, it is closed if handle raises an exception, or if the connection process is interrupted by an asynchronous break exception.



  (listof (list/c string? string? (integer-in 0 65535)))
(current-proxy-servers mapping)  void?
  mapping : (listof (list/c string? string? (integer-in 0 65535)))


proxiable-url-schemes : (listof string?)

 = '("http" "https" "git")
The current-proxy-servers parameter determines a mapping of proxy servers used for connections. Each mapping is a list of three elements:

The initial value of current-proxy-servers is configured on demand from environment variables. Proxies for each URL scheme are configured from two variables each:

Each environment variable contains a single URL of the form http://hostname:portno. If any other components of the URL are provided, a warning will be logged to a net/url logger.

The default mapping is the empty list (i.e., no proxies).


(current-no-proxy-servers)  (listof (or/c string? regexp?))

(current-no-proxy-servers dest-hosts-list)  void?
  dest-hosts-list : (listof (or/c string? regexp?))
A parameter that determines which servers will be accessed directly i.e. without resort to current-proxy-servers. It is a list of

If a proxy server is defined for a URL scheme, then the destination host name is checked against current-no-proxy-servers. The proxy is used if and only if the host name does not match (by the definition above) any in the list.

The initial value of current-no-proxy-servers is configured on demand from the environment variables plt_no_proxy and no_proxy, where the former takes precedence over the latter. Each environment variable’s value is parsed as a comma-separated list of “patterns,” where a pattern is one of:

This parsing is consistent with the no_proxy environment variable used by other software, albeit not consistent with the regexps stored in current-no-proxy-servers.


(proxy-server-for url-schm [dest-host-name])

  (or/c (list/c string? string? (integer-in 0 65535)) #f)
  url-schm : string?
  dest-host-name : (or/c false/c string?) = #f
Returns the proxy server entry for the combination of url-schm and host, or #f if no proxy is to be used.


(url-exception? x)  boolean?

  x : any/c
Identifies an error thrown by URL functions.


(http-sendrecv/url u 
  [#:method method 
  #:headers headers 
  #:data data 
  #:content-decode decodes]) 
bytes? (listof bytes?) input-port?
  u : url?
  method : (or/c bytes? string? symbol?) = #"GET"
  headers : (listof (or/c bytes? string?)) = empty
  data : (or/c false/c bytes? string? data-procedure/c) = #f
  decodes : (listof symbol?) = '(gzip)
Calls http-sendrecv using u to populate the host, URI, port, and SSL parameters.

This function does not support proxies.


(tcp-or-tunnel-connect scheme host port)

input-port? output-port?
  scheme : string?
  host : string?
  port : (between/c 1 65535)
If (proxy-server-for scheme host), then the proxy is used to http-conn-CONNECT-tunnel to host (on port port).

Otherwise the call is equivalent to (tcp-connect host port).

2.4 URL HTTPS mode

 (require net/url-connect) package: base

These bindings are provided by the net/url-connect library, and used by net/url.

A parameter that determines the connection mode for "https" connections; the parameter value is passed as the third argument to ssl-connect when creating an "https" connection. Set this parameter to validate a server’s certificates, for example, as described with get-pure-port.

2.5 URL Unit

[email protected], url^, and url+scheme^ are deprecated. They exist for backward-compatibility and will likely be removed in the future. New code should use the net/url module.

 (require net/url-unit) package: compatibility-lib


[email protected] : unit?

Imports tcp^, exports url+scheme^.

The url+scheme^ signature contains current-connect-scheme, which [email protected] binds to a parameter. The parameter is set to the scheme of a URL when tcp-connect is called to create a connection. A tcp-connect variant linked to [email protected] can check this parameter to choose the connection mode; in particular, net/url supplies a tcp-connect that actually uses ssl-connect when (current-connect-scheme) produces "https".

Note that net/url does not provide the current-connect-scheme parameter.

2.6 URL Signature

 (require net/url-sig) package: compatibility-lib


url^ : signature

Includes everything exported by the net/url module except current-https-protocol and current-url-encode-mode. Note that the exports of net/url and the url^ signature do not include current-connect-scheme.


url+scheme^ : signature

Adds current-connect-scheme to url^.