Insights & Resources

SIP response codes: A quick reference guide

When you attempt a call between two networks, SIP response codes convey important information.

Josh Whitaker
SIP response codes and brief descriptions
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a call and response protocol used to initiate, maintain and terminate multimedia sessions within VoIP applications. Simply put, these internet-hosted multimedia sessions can integrate voice, video and messaging into a call. SIP response codes are three-digit numerical messages that contain information sent by the User Agent Server (UAS) to the User Agent Client (UAC). SIP response codes provide information about the status of the call.
There are six SIP response code class types—the first digit of each code indicates the class of the code. Codes beginning with the number 1 are known as “provisional” codes, and codes beginning with numbers 2-6 are known as “final” codes. Provisional codes are sent up until a call is connected; final codes confirm whether or not the connection was successful.
  • 1xx is ‘informational’
  • 2xx is ‘success’
  • 3xx is a ‘redirection’
  • 4xx is a ‘client error’
  • 5xx is a ‘Server error’
  • 6xx is a ‘global failure’
You don’t need to memorize the different types of SIP codes, but it can be helpful to have a reference sheet handy and a general idea of what each code indicates. Here are the most common types of SIP response codes:

1xx: informational

A 1xx SIP response code can be sent at any time while a connection is being established. Here are some common 1xx codes:

100: trying

A call request has been received, and an unspecified action (such as consulting a database) is being taken on behalf of the call request.

180: ringing

An invite has been received by the User Agent Server (UAS, which is now attempting to alert the user.

181: call is being forwarded

The call is being forwarded to another endpoint.

183: session progress

Gives information about the progress of a call.

199: early dialog terminated

Notifies upstream SIP entities that an early dialog has been terminated.

2xx: success

The 2xx response codes are used to indicate that a SIP request has been successfully received, understood and accepted. You’ll typically see the following versions:

200: ok

A request has succeeded.

202: accepted

A UAS has received and understood the request, but it may not have been authorized or processed by the server.

204: no notification

A request was successful, but a response will not be received.

3xx: redirection

These codes inform the User Agent Client (UAC) on redirections and of the different routes available to get to the UAS. Commonly received examples include:

300: multiple choices

A request address returned several choices, each with their own specific locations. In this case, the UA can select a preferred endpoint to redirect the request to that specific location.

301: moved permanently

A user can no longer be found at the address used in the request. A new address will be given in the contact header field, which can be retried by the requesting client. The new address should be saved and used in all future invite requests.

302: moved temporarily

A new address will be given in the contact header field, which can be retried by the requesting client. This address should not be saved for future invite requests.

305: use proxy

A proxy must be used to access the required destination. The specified proxy will be displayed in the contact field.

380: alternate service

A call failed, but the message body describes alternatives.

4xx: client error

The 4xx response codes indicate that something went wrong while processing the message, and the request cannot be fulfilled. There are quite a few of them, including:

400: bad request

A request could not be understood.

401: not authorized

A request requires user authentication.

404: not found

A server has definitive information that the user does not exist at that particular domain.

407: proxy authentication required

Similar to the 401 (not authorized) code, but in this case the client must authenticate itself with the proxy.

408: request timeout

A server could not produce a response within a suitable time frame.

415: unsupported media type

A server is refusing to service the request because the message body is in a format not supported by the server for the particular request method.

5xx: server error

5xx responses relate to server error issues and are mostly generated by the likes of proxy servers, location servers and redirect servers. They include:

500: server internal error

A server was prevented from fulfilling the request by an unexpected condition.

501: not implemented

A functionality required to fulfill the request is not supported by the server.

502: bad gateway

When attempting to fulfill the request, a server received an invalid response from a downstream server.

503: service unavailable

Temporary overloading or maintenance of a server means it is currently unable to process the request. The client should attempt to forward the request to another server.

504: server time out

When attempting to process the request, a server did not receive a timely response form the external server.

6xx: global error

Finally, the 6xx response codes relate to Global Error issues. They include:

600: busy everywhere

A callee’s end system was contacted successfully but the callee is busy.

603: decline

A callee’s end system was successfully contacted but the user does not wish to or cannot participate.

604: does not exist anywhere

Information the user indicated in the request Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) does not exist.

606: not acceptable

A user wishes to communicate, but they cannot adequately support the session described.

SIP response code infographic (download)

Download the infographic below and keep it as a handy reference:

Other SIP response codes

The codes listed above are the most common codes, but there are additional codes you may encounter:
ResponseStatus
182queued
402payment required
403forbidden
405method not allowed
406not acceptable
409forbidden
410gone
411length required
412conditional request failed
413request—entity too large
414request URI too long
416unsupported URI scheme
417unknown resource—priority
420bad extension
421extension required
422session interval too small
423interval too brief
424bad location information
425bad alert message
428use identity header
429provide referrer identity
430flow failed
433anonymity disallowed
436bad identity—info
437unsupported certificate
438invalid identity header
439first hop lacks outbound support
440max—breadth exceeded
469bad info package
470consent needed
480temporarily unavailable
481call/transaction does not exist
482loop detected
483too many hops
484address incomplete
485ambiguous
486busy here
487request terminated
488not aceptable here
489bad event
491request pending
493undecipherable
494security agreement withheld
505version not supported
513message too large
555push notification service not supported
580precondition failure
607unwanted
608rejected

Why SIP? SIP, together with VoIP, enables businesses to build customized telephony systems. SIP trunks reduce the amount of infrastructure your business needs: you can add many channels to a single SIP trunk, which allows you to have multiple phone lines. Without SIP trunks, you’d need to pay for individual lines each time you hired a new employee. SIP protocol and SIP trunking features enhance your VoIP system to create a robust, scalable and flexible communication solution for your business.
Want to learn more about how SIP trunking can transform your business communications? Get started with SIP trunking or talk to an expert today.
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