Internet Content Adaptation Protocol(ICAP)

Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP) is a lightweight HTTP based protocol specified in RFC 3507 designed to off-load specific content to dedicated servers, thereby freeing up resources and standardizing the way in which features are implemented. ICAP is generally used in proxy servers to integrate with third party products like antivirus software, malicious content scanners and URL filters.

ICAP concentrates on leveraging edge-based devices (proxies and caches) to help deliver value-added services. At the core of this process is a cache that will proxy all client transactions and will process them through ICAP Web servers. These ICAP servers are focused on a specific function, for example, ad insertion, virus scanning, content translation, language translation, or content filtering. Off-loading value-added services from Web servers to ICAP servers allows those same web servers to be scaled according to raw HTTP throughput versus having to handle these extra tasks.

ICAP in its most basic form is a "lightweight" HTTP based remote procedure call protocol. In other words, ICAP allows its clients to pass HTTP based (HTML) messages (Content) to ICAP servers for adaptation. Adaptation refers to performing the particular value added service (content manipulation) for the associated client request/response.
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