Internet Standard

In computer network engineering, an Internet Standard is a normative specification of a technology or methodology applicable to the Internet. Internet Standards are created and published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

An Internet Standard is characterized by technical maturity and usefulness. The IETF also defines a Proposed Standard as a less mature but stable and well-reviewed specification. A Draft Standard is a third, even less mature classification that was discontinued in 2011.


An Internet Standard is a Request for Comments (RFC) or a set of RFCs. An RFC that is to become a Standard or part of a Standard begins as an Internet Draft, and is later, usually after several revisions, accepted and published by the RFC Editor as an RFC and labeled a Proposed Standard. Later, an RFC is elevated as Internet Standard, with an additional sequence number, when maturity has reached an acceptable level. Collectively, these stages are known as the Standards Track, and are defined in RFC 2026 and RFC 6410. The label Historic is applied to deprecated Standards Track documents or obsolete RFCs that were published before the Standards Track was established.

Only the IETF, represented by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), can approve Standards Track RFCs. The definitive list of Internet Standards is maintained in Internet Standards document STD 1: Internet Official Protocol Standards.