Should content-transfer-encoding headers be use when downloading files via HTTP?


I recently came across <a href="https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7263923/how-to-force-file-download-with-php" rel="nofollow">How to force file download with PHP</a> which describes setting Content-Transfer-Encoding. Is this header applicable when used with this application when used to download a file via HTTP (it appears to be email related)? If so, what should it be set as for MS Word and Excel files, ZIP files, PDFs, and Text?

header("Content-Transfer-Encoding: Binary");


It has been religiously included by carg-cult copy-paste programmers since it was <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20040209023954/http://www.php.net/manual/en/function.readfile.php" rel="nofollow">mentioned in a comment to the readfile() manpage on PHP.net</a>.

It indeed <a href="https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7285372/is-content-transfer-encoding-an-http-header" rel="nofollow">has little to do with HTTP</a> and you can safely remove it.


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