Request for Comments

What Does Request for Comments Mean?

A Request for Comments (RFC) is a formal document drafted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that describes the specifications for a particular technology. When an RFC is ratified, it becomes a formal standards document.


RFCs were first used during the creation of the ARPANET protocols that came to establish what became today’s Internet. They continue to be issued on an ongoing basis as the technology underlying the Internet evolves.

Techopedia Explains Request for Comments

A formal Internet standard is formed when an RFC goes through committee drafting and review until the final version of the RFC is ratified, at which time no further comments or changes are allowed. Other RFCs are not ratified, and instead retain an “informational” or “experimental” status. For example, the original File Transfer Protocol standard was published as RFC 114 in April of 1971. This was later replaced by RFC 765 in 1980 and finally RFC 959. So, as technology advances, RFCs are updated as well.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…