SIP request messages

SIP request messages

SIP sessions always start with a SIP request message (also just called a SIP request). SIP request messages also establish, maintain, and terminate SIP communication sessions. The following table lists some common SIP request message types.


Common SIP request message types

Message Type         Description

INVITE                       A client sends an INVITE request to invite another client to participate in a multimedia session. The INVITE request body usually contains the description of the session.


The originator of an INVITE message sends an ACK request to confirm that the final response to an INVITE request was received. If the INVITE request did not contain the session description, it must be included in the ACK request.

PRACK                      In some cases, SIP uses provisional response messages to report on the progress of the response to a SIP request message. The provisional response messages are sent before the final SIP response message. Similar to an ACK request message, a PRACK request message is sent to acknowledge that a provisional response message has been received.


The UA uses OPTIONS messages to get information about the capabilities of a SIP proxy. The SIP proxy server replies with a description of the SIP methods, session description protocols, and message encoding that are supported.

BYE                           A client sends a BYE request to end a session. A BYE request from either end of the SIP session terminates the session.


A client sends a CANCEL request to cancel a previous INVITE request. A CANCEL request has no effect if the SIP server processing the INVITE sends a final response to the INVITE before receiving the CANCEL.

REGISTER                A client sends a REGISTER request to a SIP registrar server with information about the current location (IP address and so on) of the client. A SIP registrar server saves the information it receives in REGISTER requests and makes this information avail- able to any SIP client or server attempting to locate the client.

Info                            For distributing mid-session signaling information along the signaling path for a SIP call. I

Subscribe                 For requesting the current state and state updates of a remote node.

Notify                        Informs clients and servers of changes in state in the SIP network.

Refer                         Refers the recipient (identified by the Request-URI) to a third party according to the contact information in the request.

Message Type         Description

Update                      Opens a pinhole for new or updated SDP information.

Response codes (1xx, 202, 2xx, 3xx, 4xx, 5xx, 6xx)

Indicates the status of a transaction. For example: 200 OK, 202 Accepted, or 400 Bad Request.

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Michael Pruett, CISSP has a wide range of cyber-security and network engineering expertise. The plethora of vendors that resell hardware but have zero engineering knowledge resulting in the wrong hardware or configuration being deployed is a major pet peeve of Michael's. This site was started in an effort to spread information while providing the option of quality consulting services at a much lower price than Fortinet Professional Services. Owns PacketLlama.Com (Fortinet Hardware Sales) and Office Of The CISO, LLC (Cybersecurity consulting firm).

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