HOW TO: Request a Web Page Through a Telnet Client

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Occasionally, a Web browser is not available to test connectivity to a Web server. This step-by-step article describes a process that you can use to connect to a Web server and display the HTML contents of Web page by using a console or command-line based telnet application.

Request a Web Page Through a Telnet Client

According to RFC 2616, the specification for the HTTP protocol, a properly formatted GET request from an HTTP client begins with the GET verb (note that the verb uses all capital letters) and ends with the ASCII characters carriage return (CR) followed by line feed (LF). This appears as the hexadecimal characters OD OA in the last two bytes of the GET request in a Network Monitor trace.

For more information, visit the following RFC Web site:
To request the document that is located at http://ServerName/VirtualDirectory/WebPage.asp from a telnet client, type the following commands at the console or command prompt (press ENTER or RETURN after each line):

telnet ServerName 80
GET /VirtualDirectory/WebPage.asp
After you type the second command, the HTML data in WebPage.asp is returned to the telnet client from the Web server.

NOTE: This example assumes that the Web server is configured to use the default HTTP port (TCP 80). If the Web server is listening on a different port, substitute that port number in the first line of the example. Also, this example does not work properly over an HTTPS/SSL connection (TCP 443, by default), because the telnet client cannot negotiate the necessary encryption commands to establish the SSL session. Although an initial connection is possible over the HTTPS/SSL port, no data is returned when you issue a GET request.

Enable Local Echo

By default, the telnet client that is included with Microsoft Windows does not have the Local Echo option enabled, so the second command does not appear to be received by the server, although it is. To enable Local Echo, use one of the following methods after the first command:

Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), or Microsoft Windows NT 4.0

  1. On the Terminal menu, click Preferences.
  2. Click to select the Local Echo check box.

Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows XP

  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type telnet.exe to start the telnet program.
  2. Type the following command:For Windows 2000:
    set local_echo
    For Windows XP:
    set localecho
  3. Press the ENTER key one time on a blank line to quit the configuration and return to the telnet session.
Some telnet clients send only the carriage return (CR) character when you press ENTER or RETURN. If you are trying to connect from one of these clients, you must use a control-key combination to send the CRLF characters. In the Windows environment, hold down the ALT key, and then type the key sequence that corresponds to the appropriate character on the numeric keypad. To view the characters and corresponding numbers, see the following Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web sites:

Character Set 0-127

Character Set 128-255
After you type the last number, release the ALT key. In the case of the GET request that this article uses as an example, type the following command (note that the numbers are typed on the keypad):

GET /VirtualDirectory/WebPage.asp <ALT-key>0013<ALT-key>0010
If you are using a telnet client that does not send CRLF when you press ENTER or RETURN, see the documentation for that computer system for information about how to send extended characters.


For additional information about how to view network packets, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

148942 How to Capture Network Traffic with Network Monitor
294818 Frequently Asked Questions About Network Monitor
For additional information about the TELNET protocol, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

231866 The TELNET Protocol
253918 Description of the Telnet Client in Windows 2000

Article ID: 279466 - Last Review: Aug 17, 2009 - Revision: 1