A File Download appears as garbled text

In some cases, an incompatibility can occur between your Host and particular file types. When clicking a link to a File Download, the file does not actually download, and instead a large quantity of garbled text appears in your web browser, like so:

This is caused by your Host marking the content type of the file as a "text/plain." In other words, the Host's settings tell your web browser that the file is not actually to be downloaded, but instead is a piece of text, and so the web browser displays it as such.

If a file download appears garbled, your first step is to determine whether or not this is the cause of the problem.

To verify the issue:

  1. Click the download link as if you were trying to download the file.
  2. Copy the URL of the file from the address bar of your web browser.
  3. Open the Terminal application (found in the "Applications → Utilities" folder).
  4. Type the command curl -I followed by the address of the File Download (from step 2). You should have a command like this:
    curl -I http://www.example.com/myFile.mp4
  5. Press the return key. Some output will appear roughly like this:

    File Download content type troubleshooting terminal output.png

If, as in the image above, the "Content-type" is "text/plain," this is the problem. You have three possible choices for rectifying the issue:

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