The server, which is under control of the document provider, should know what kinds of documents it is serving.
text/plain). It's only been in the past few years that the alternative of that they are more commonly type
It is up to the document provider system (the web server) to
tell the client (the web browser) what the type is. A server
could be configured to say
for each .doc file. It could be configured to say
application/x-msword for files it finds in particular
directories. It could even be configured to give a specific content-type
for a specific file.
Note that the server does not communicate to the client the general scheme it uses. It just provides content-type information for every file it serves.
MIME was originally developed for Email, but it was also developed to be a general way of communicating this sort of information between document providers and others. The WWW wouldn't work without it.