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PDF over SSL Error with Internet Explorer


When opening a PDF over SSL running on IIS 5.1 (Windows XP Professional, W2K Windows 2000, or Windows Server 2003), you may receive the following problem with Internet Explorer.

First, instead of opening the PDF in Acrobat Reader, IE asks you, "Do you want to open or save this file?". If you click "Open", then you receive the error, "Internet Explorer cannot download file.pdf from servername. Internet Explorer was not able to open this Internet site. The requested site is unavailable or cannot be found. Please try again later."

If you right-click on the link to the PDF, and select "Save", you receive the following error: "Internet Explorer cannot download file.pdf from servername. The file could not be written to the cache."


This problem occurs because the PDF returned by the web server contains HTTP headers to disable caching. Specifically, the header is the no-cache pragma. In VBScript ASP, the code lines that can cause this error are:

Response.AddHeader "pragma","no-cache"
Response.CacheControl = "no-cache"


Remove the above headers for disabling caching.

Applies To

Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, IIS 5.1 with SSL encryption enabled, Internet Explorer 5, 5.5, 6, etc.

Created 2004-09-20, Last Modified 2011-07-24, © Shailesh N. Humbad
Disclaimer: This content is provided as-is. The information may be incorrect.