Understanding ASP.NET MVC Return Types and Status Codes

ASP.NET MVC is a popular framework for building web applications in .NET. One of the key features of ASP.NET MVC is the ability to return different types of responses from controller actions. In this tutorial, we'll explore the different return types and status codes available in ASP.NET MVC, and how to use them effectively in your applications.

Return Types in ASP.NET MVC

In ASP.NET MVC, controller actions can return different types of responses, depending on the needs of the application. The most common return types are:

  • ViewResult: A ViewResult is used to render a view to the client. This is the most common return type in ASP.NET MVC, and is used to display HTML content to the user.
  • PartialViewResult: A PartialViewResult is similar to a ViewResult, but is used to render a partial view. Partial views are used to render reusable pieces of HTML content that can be included in multiple views.
  • ContentResult: A ContentResult is used to return plain text or binary content to the client. This can be useful for returning JSON or XML data, or for sending files to the client.
  • JsonResult: A JsonResult is used to return JSON data to the client. This is often used for AJAX requests, where the client needs to receive data in a format that can be easily parsed by JavaScript.
  • RedirectResult: A RedirectResult is used to redirect the user to a different URL. This can be useful for redirecting the user to a login page if they are not authenticated, or for redirecting them to a different page after they have completed a form.
  • FileResult: A FileResult is used to send a file to the client. This can be useful for downloading files, or for serving images or other binary content.

HTTP Status Codes

In addition to the different return types, ASP.NET MVC also supports HTTP status codes. HTTP status codes are used to indicate the status of a request, and can be used to provide more information to the client about the response.

Some common HTTP status codes include:

  • 200 OK: The request was successful.
  • 201 Created: The request was successful and a new resource was created.
  • 400 Bad Request: The request was invalid or malformed.
  • 401 Unauthorized: The user is not authenticated.
  • 403 Forbidden: The user is authenticated, but does not have permission to access the resource.
  • 404 Not Found: The requested resource could not be found.
  • 500 Internal Server Error: An error occurred on the server.

Using HTTP Status Codes in ASP.NET MVC

To set an HTTP status code in ASP.NET MVC, you can use the HttpStatusCodeResult class. This class allows you to return a specific HTTP status code to the client.

For example, to return a 404 Not Found error, you can use the following code:

return new HttpStatusCodeResult(404);

You can also set the HTTP status code using the Response object. For example:

Response.StatusCode = 404;
return Content("Not Found");


In this tutorial, we've explored the different return types and status codes available in ASP.NET MVC. By understanding these concepts, you can create more robust and flexible web applications that provide better feedback to the user. Whether you're returning HTML content, JSON data, or binary files, ASP.NET MVC has the tools you need to get the job done.

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