What Is MIME Type?

MIME is the abbreviation for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It’s a standard originally developed to extend e-mails to be able to support more formats like non-ASCII text and attachments in form of image, audio, video or executable files. The MIME Type is part of the header of he MIME and specifies the type of media contained in an e-mail. It is often also referred to as media type or MIME content type.

The usage of MIME is not limited to e-mail though. Actually, it is used on the internet to determine the type of a file. It works similarly to the file extension on a computer. Web servers and browsers contain a list of such MIME Types that help them to identify and thus interpret all kinds of files, independent of the operating system and hardware used by the user.

MIME Types are structured in a certain way, containing a type and a subtype. For example, the MIME Type of a .jpg image is image/jpeg with “image” being the type and “jpeg” being the subtype. A slash (/) is used to separate type from subtype.