HTTP Error 413 Explained: Request Entity Too Large

If we wrote a book about baffling computer errors, HTTP 413 would surely occupy a very prominent place. HTTP 413 stands for request entity too large and in this article, we will explain what that means.

We will cover everything that you could possible need to know about this HTTP error, from why it happens to, of course, how to fix it.

What Is HTTP Error 413?

As we said in the introduction to this tutorial, HTTP error 413 happens when the request entity is too large. If reading this leaves you none the wiser, you will probably need a lengthier explanation. If that is the case, there is no need to worry for that is exactly what you are about to get here. Incidentally, if you already know what this error means, you might as well skip over this section and go straight to the next one.

But if you would like to really understand this error, just read on!

When the web server that is running a website that you are trying to access decides that the HTTP data stream that your web browser is sending to it is too large (in this context, “too large” means that the data stream has way too many bytes), it will not cope with it and issue error 413.

So, what constitutes too large in this particular context? Well, although that is a straightforward and reasonable question, there is not actually a straightforward answer to it. The best we can do is to suggest that the goal post moves depending on the kind of operation involved.

There is no specific amount of bytes that would constitute “too many bytes”. In other words, you will not that there are “too many bytes” when you get this error.

How Does HTTP Error 413 Occur?

Now that you know what the error is, you are probably wondering how it actually happens. To understand this, we would need to see how this error fits into the so-called HTTP cycle. In other words, we need to examine where in the HTTP cycle error 413 occurs.

What is the HTTP cycle? The HTTP cycle is what happens when a web client, such as the web browser you are using right now communicates with a web server.

So, here is the HTTP cycle and where in it, this particular error happens:

  1. The first step in the cycle is when the web client gets an IP address from the IP name of the website that you are trying to access. The IP address is the website’s URL (Universal Resource Locator) minus the http:// part. For example, the IP address of http://www.facebook.com is simply facebook.com and the IP address of http://www.yahoo.com is simply www.yahoo.com and so on. The conversion from IP name to IP address is done through the DNS (Domain Name Servers).
  2. Once the web client has obtained the IP address, it will open an IP socket connection to it.
  3. Then, the web client will create an HTTP data stream via the IP socket it has just built.
  4. Next, the web client will receive a data stream back from the web server. The point of this data stream is to communicate a certain amount of information including status codes that can be parsed out. This step in the cycle is where things can go wrong and error 413 could arise.

Of course, knowing where and when the error does arise will not help you fix it but having an understanding of such things makes it easier to deal with them.

How Would You Know This Error Is Affecting You?

So, there are a few symptoms that would indicate that you are being affected by this error. In this section of the tutorial, we will go through this before proceeding to the different possible solutions to it.

The most common way of knowing that this error is affecting you is obviously when you get the following message: “error 413”. This message is then followed by whichever you are using crashing. An alternative to this is when you get the following message on your screen: Safari Error 413.”

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You may also notice that this happens often when you are using the same program. You should, therefore, be able to narrow it down to that specific program.

Other times programs do not actually crash but you may notice how your computer suddenly seems to become a lot slower, particularly when it comes to using your keyboard or your mouse.

These error messages and other symptoms do not happen randomly but there are a few different scenarios in which they could arise. The most common times when this error may happen is when you are installing software when you are running software or when you are either starting up or shutting down Windows.

We would recommend that you keep an eye on when and how this error happens, as this may help you decide how to fix it.

“My Safari bookmarks only sync intermittently across my Apple devices. Unlike Amazon’s Kindle app for Apple products, the company’s iBooks doesn’t remember where I left off unless I set a bookmark”. – Walt Mossberg

How Causes Error 413? 

Earlier we saw where in the HTTP cycle this error can happen but we did not see the reasons behind it. We will cover the causes now.

One of the most common causes for this error is when your computer gets infected by an external virus or some form of malware. If this virus or malware corrupts Windows files or files that relate to Apple’s Internet web browser, you will get this error message.

Other times, however, the cause could be that software installation is either incomplete or corrupted.

Finally, the cause of this error could be that some of the files that relate to the program that is giving you the errors have been deleted by another program.

How Do You Fix HTTP Error 413?

Now that we have through what the error is, how it manifests itself, why it happens, it is time to go through the different fixes for it.

The first cause of action when encountering this is to repair the registry entries. In order to do this, just follow these steps:

  1. Grab the computer that is causing you trouble.
  2. Then click on the start button.
  3. Once the search box display, you will need to enter the following text: command.
  4. Next, hit the enter key while holding down CTRL Shift.
  5. Wait until a permission dialog box displays on your screen.
  6. Click on the yes button in the permission box.
  7. Wait until a new box display on your screen. You will notice that this new box is black and has a blinking cursor on it. Once the box displays, type the following: regedit.
  8. Then hit the enter key.
  9. The registry editor will then display. Choose the key for the program that you have identified as causing the error so you can back it up.
  10. Select export from the file menu displaying.
  11. Now choose the folder where you would like to save the backup files in the save in list.
  12. Write the name you would like to identify the backup files in the file name box.
  13. Then choose the selected branch in the export range box and click on save.
  14. Once you have clicked on the save button, the backup file will be saved as a file extension (.reg).

If you follow those steps carefully you will have backed up the program successfully.

Another thing that you should try is to perform a scan from viruses and malware. If this is the cause of error 413, a scan will eliminate it.

We would also recommend you run a disk clean up, following these steps:

  1. Grab the computer that is causing the trouble.
  2. Click on the start button.
  3. Once the search box displays on your screen, you will need to type the following: command.
  4. Press the enter key while holding down CTRL Shift.
  5. Then, a permission dialog box will display on your screen. Once it does, click on the yes option.
  6. Next, a box will display. It will be black and it will have a blinking cursor. Type the following in the black box: cleanmgr.
  7. Press the enter button.
  8. Then you will need to wait for a while until disk clean up is able to calculate how much space you can get back.
  9. You will know when the calculation has happened because there will be a dialog box displaying where you will be able to tick boxes for the file category that you would like to clean up.
  10. Tick the appropriate boxes and click on the OK button.
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There are also other things that you can do if the ones we have covered so far. You could, for example, uninstall and reinstall the program that seems to be causing the error. You could also update all your software and, if nothing else works and you feel comfortable with it, you could also install Windows again.

We hope we have helped you understand the HTTP 413 error and how to fix it following the different methods that we have laid out for you in this article. If you have any feedback for us, or if you would like to share any tips about this error, please leave us a message in the comments section below.

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