What is MIME?
MIME means Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, and refers to official Internet standards that specify how messages must be formatted so that they can be exchanged between different email systems. MIME is a very flexible format, permitting one to include virtually any type of file or document in an email message. Specifically, MIME messages can contain text, images, audio, video, or other application-specific data.
To insure that email messages containing images or other non-text information will be delivered with maximum protection against corruption, MIME provides a way for non-text information to be encoded as text. This encoding is known as base64.
The Official MIME Specification
The definitive information on the MIME format is provided by the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF) in the following documents:
- RFC-822 Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages
- RFC-2045 Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part One: Format of Internet Message Bodies
- RFC-2046 Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types
- RFC-2047Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part Three: Message Header Extensions for Non-ASCII Text
- RFC-2048 Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part Four: Registration Procedures
- RFC-2049 Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part Five: Conformance Criteria and Examples
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