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Posted 13 Jan 2006

HTTP compression in .NET Framework 2.0

, 1 May 2007
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An article on how to request and handle HTTP compression in .NET Framework 2.0.


This article describes the implementation of a utility class that will allow HTTP requests informing the server (or any appliance in the network between the client and the server) what types of compression it can handle and uncompress the response from the server (if any) without changing the client application.

HTTP compression is very useful when the cost of the connection is high.

The factory pattern of creating WebRequest instances

The WebRequest supplies two methods to create instances:

The WebRequest class uses instances of classes that implement the IWebRequestCreate interface and are registered in the webRequestModules section in the configuration files. The Create method (called by both CreateDefault and Create) returns an initialized instance of a WebRequest descendent class capable of performing a standard request/response transaction for the protocol without needing any protocol-specific fields modified.

On the other hand, the previously created WebRequest derived instances will return WebResponse derived instances that will handle the HTTP response.

Because of the way the factory pattern is implemented, we can change the behavior of already built applications (our applications or even the .NET Framework) to request and handle HTTP compression, changing only the configuration files.

Since in versions 2.0 and above of the .NET framework already support compression, there is no need to supply WebRequest and WebResponse derived class implementations. All that's needed is a class that implements the IWebRequestCreate interface to create the WebRequest derived instance and set it up.

The code

As shown before, to add HTTP compression to our applications, we just have to build three classes:


In order for the applications that use HttpWebRequest and HttpWebResponse to work without any changes, CompressibleHttpRequestCreator.Create has to return a HttpWebRequest instance. Unfortunately, there is no public construtor for HttpWebRequest or publicly accessible implementation of IWebRequestCreate.Create that creates a HttpWebRequest instance, so some reflection will be needed.

The implementation of IWebRequestCreate.Create just creates an instance of HttpWebRequest and sets its HttpWebRequest.AutomaticDecompression to accept all types of compression.

public class CompressibleHttpRequestCreator : IWebRequestCreate
    public CompressibleHttpRequestCreator()

    WebRequest IWebRequestCreate.Create(Uri uri)
        HttpWebRequest httpWebRequest = 
            BindingFlags.CreateInstance | BindingFlags.Public | 
            BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Instance,
            null, new object[] { uri, null }, null) as HttpWebRequest;

        if (httpWebRequest == null)
            return null;

        httpWebRequest.AutomaticDecompression =DecompressionMethods.GZip | 

        return httpWebRequest;


Now, to add HTTP compression support to any application, all that's needed is to add the corresponding entries to the webRequestModules section in the configuration file.

      <remove prefix="http:"/>
      <add prefix="http:" 
            type="Pajocomo.Net.CompressibleHttpRequestCreator, Pajocomo" />


When I first ported this from .NET 1.1, I completely missed the fact that HttpWebRequest and HttpWebResponse already implemented compression.

Thanks to Björn to point that out to me.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Paulo Morgado
Software Developer (Senior) Paulo Morgado
Portugal Portugal

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Comments and Discussions

Generalweb service specific exception Pin
Petr Melichar22-Apr-06 3:03
memberPetr Melichar22-Apr-06 3:03 
GeneralRe: web service specific exception Pin
Paulo Morgado14-May-06 11:20
memberPaulo Morgado14-May-06 11:20 
AnswerRe: web service specific exception Pin
realmaestro3-Apr-07 16:48
memberrealmaestro3-Apr-07 16:48 
GeneralRe: web service specific exception Pin
Paulo Morgado3-Apr-07 22:59
memberPaulo Morgado3-Apr-07 22:59 
QuestionImport problem Pin
TommyB811-Mar-06 5:09
memberTommyB811-Mar-06 5:09 
AnswerRe: Import problem Pin
Paulo Morgado12-Mar-06 2:07
memberPaulo Morgado12-Mar-06 2:07 
GeneralRe: Import problem Pin
TommyB812-Mar-06 2:24
memberTommyB812-Mar-06 2:24 
GeneralRe: Import problem Pin
Paulo Morgado12-Mar-06 3:01
memberPaulo Morgado12-Mar-06 3:01 
If you added the code to your sources (no need to convert to vb with 2.0) you can step into the code with this:

IWebRequestCreate webRequestCreate = new CompressibleHttpRequestCreator();
WebRequest webRequest = webRequestCreate.Create(uri);
WebResponse webResponse = webRequest.GetResponse();

Fiddler, in the Rules menu has a Simulate GZIP Compression. Have you tried it.

If the Accept-Encoding header are being sent, it's because CompressibleHttpWebRequest.BeforeGetResponse is being executed.

Paulo Morgado
Portugal - Europe's West Coast
GeneralRe: Import problem Pin
TommyB812-Mar-06 3:30
memberTommyB812-Mar-06 3:30 
GeneralRe: Import problem Pin
Paulo Morgado12-Mar-06 7:37
memberPaulo Morgado12-Mar-06 7:37 
AnswerRe: Import problem Pin
TommyB812-Mar-06 7:44
memberTommyB812-Mar-06 7:44 
QuestionHelp - How to do? Pin
RSArockiam6-Feb-06 21:44
memberRSArockiam6-Feb-06 21:44 
AnswerRe: Help - How to do? Pin
Paulo Morgado7-Feb-06 1:11
memberPaulo Morgado7-Feb-06 1:11 
GeneralRe: Help - How to do? Pin
RSArockiam7-Feb-06 2:52
memberRSArockiam7-Feb-06 2:52 
GeneralRe: Help - How to do? Pin
Paulo Morgado7-Feb-06 13:11
memberPaulo Morgado7-Feb-06 13:11 
GeneralRe: Help - How to do? Pin
RSArockiam7-Feb-06 19:39
memberRSArockiam7-Feb-06 19:39 
GeneralRe: Help - How to do? Pin
Paulo Morgado8-Feb-06 14:02
memberPaulo Morgado8-Feb-06 14:02 
GeneralExcluding File Types Pin
SteveC-A927-Jan-06 11:22
memberSteveC-A927-Jan-06 11:22 
GeneralRe: Excluding File Types Pin
Paulo Morgado27-Jan-06 12:16
memberPaulo Morgado27-Jan-06 12:16 
QuestionCould you give me more infomation? Pin
Ahfu13-Jan-06 20:56
memberAhfu13-Jan-06 20:56 
AnswerRe: Could you give me more infomation? Pin
Paulo Morgado14-Jan-06 2:07
memberPaulo Morgado14-Jan-06 2:07 
GeneralHTTP compression in the .NET Framework 1.1 Pin
Paulo Morgado13-Jan-06 12:50
memberPaulo Morgado13-Jan-06 12:50 

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