If a client has a partial copy of an entity in its cache, and wishes to have an up-to-date copy of the entire entity in its cache, it could use the Range request-header with a conditional GET (using either or both of If-Unmodified-Since and If-Match.) However, if the condition fails because the entity has been modified, the client would then have to make a second request to obtain the entire current entity-body.
The If-Range header allows a client to "short-circuit" the second request. Informally, its meaning is `if the entity is unchanged, send me the part(s) that I am missing; otherwise, send me the entire new entity.'
If-Range = "If-Range" ":" ( entity-tag | HTTP-date )
If the client has no entity tag for an entity, but does have a Last- Modified date, it may use that date in a If-Range header. (The server can distinguish between a valid HTTP-date and any form of entity-tag by examining no more than two characters.) The If-Range header should only be used together with a Range header, and must be ignored if the request does not include a Range header, or if the server does not support the sub-range operation.
If the entity tag given in the If-Range header matches the current entity tag for the entity, then the server should provide the specified sub-range of the entity using a 206 (Partial content) response. If the entity tag does not match, then the server should return the entire entity using a 200 (OK) response.