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What is HTTP?

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is designed to enable communications between clients and servers.

HTTP works as a request-response protocol between a client and server.

Example: A client (browser) sends an HTTP request to the server; then the server returns a response to the client. The response contains status information about the request and may also contain the requested content.

HTTP Methods

  • GET
  • POST
  • PUT
  • HEAD


The two most common HTTP methods are: GET and POST.

The GET Method

GET is used to request data from a specified resource.

Note that the query string (name/value pairs) is sent in the URL of a GET request:


Some notes on GET requests:

  • GET requests can be cached
  • GET requests remain in the browser history
  • GET requests can be bookmarked
  • GET requests should never be used when dealing with sensitive data
  • GET requests have length restrictions
  • GET requests are only used to request data (not modify)

The POST Method

POST is used to send data to a server to create/update a resource.

The data sent to the server with POST is stored in the request body of the HTTP request:

POST /test/demo_form.php HTTP/1.1

Some notes on POST requests:

POST requests are never cached
POST requests do not remain in the browser history
POST requests cannot be bookmarked
POST requests have no restrictions on data length

The PUT Method

PUT is used to send data to a server to create/update a resource.

The difference between POST and PUT is that PUT requests are idempotent. That is, calling the same PUT request multiple times will always produce the same result. In contrast, calling a POST request repeatedly have side effects of creating the same resource multiple times.

The HEAD Method

HEAD is almost identical to GET, but without the response body.

In other words, if GET /users returns a list of users, then HEAD /users will make the same request but will not return the list of users.

HEAD requests are useful for checking what a GET request will return before actually making a GET request - like before downloading a large file or response body.

The DELETE Method

The DELETE method deletes the specified resource.

The PATCH Method

The PATCH method is used to apply partial modifications to a resource.

The OPTIONS Method

The OPTIONS method describes the communication options for the target resource.

The CONNECT Method

The CONNECT method is used to start a two-way communications (a tunnel) with the requested resource.

The TRACE Method

The TRACE method method is used to perform a message loop-back test that tests the path for the target resource (useful for debugging purposes).