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Sanjay Singh Rajpoot
Sanjay Singh Rajpoot

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HTTP Request Methods - GET Vs POST Vs PUT

What is HTTP?

HTTP is a protocol, or a definite set of rules, for accessing resources on the web. Resources could mean anything from HTML files to data from a database, photos, text, and so on.

These resources are made available to us via an API and we make requests to these APIs via the HTTP protocol. API stands for application programming interface. It is the mechanism that allows developers to request resources.

Client-Server Architecture

In order to understand the HTTP methods, it’s important to cover the concept of client/server architecture. This architecture describes how all web applications work and defines the rules for how they communicate.

A client application is the one that a user is actually interacting with, that's displaying the content. A server application is the one that sends the content, or resource, to your client application. A server application is a program that is running somewhere, listening, and waiting for a request.

The main reason for this separation is to secure sensitive information. Your entire client application gets downloaded into the browser, and all of the data can be accessed by anyone accessing your web page.

Why We Need A Server-Client Architecture

Let’s say you were building a weather web app, for example. The weather app that your user is going to interact with is the client application – it has buttons, a search bar, and displays data like city name, current temperature, AQI, and so on.

This weather app wouldn’t have every city and its weather information coded directly into it. This would make the app bloated and slow, would take forever to research and manually add to a database, and would be a headache to update every single day.

HTTP Methods Explained

Now that we know what HTTP is and why it’s used, let’s talk about the different methods we have available to us.


Use GET requests to retrieve resource representation/information only – and not modify it in any way. As GET requests do not change the resource’s state, these are said to be safe methods.

Additionally, GET APIs should be idempotent. Making multiple identical requests must produce the same result every time until another API (POST or PUT) has changed the state of the resource on the server.

If the Request-URI refers to a data-producing process, it is the produced data that shall be returned as the entity in the response and not the source text of the process, unless that text happens to be the output of the process.

1.1. GET API Response Codes

  • For any given HTTP GET API, if the resource is found on the server, then it must return HTTP response code 200 (OK) – along with the response body, which is usually either XML or JSON content (due to their platform-independent nature).
  • In case the resource is NOT found on the server then API must return HTTP response code 404 (NOT FOUND).
  • Similarly, if it is determined that the GET request itself is not correctly formed then the server will return the HTTP response code 400 (BAD REQUEST).

1.2. Example URIs

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Use POST APIs to create new subordinate resources, e.g., a file is subordinate to a directory containing it or a row is subordinate to a database table.

When talking strictly about REST, POST methods are used to create a new resource into the collection of resources.

Responses to this method are not cacheable unless the response includes appropriate Cache-Control or Expires header fields.

Please note that POST is neither safe nor idempotent, and invoking two identical POST requests will result in two different resources containing the same information (except resource ids).

2.1. POST API Response Codes

  • Ideally, if a resource has been created on the origin server, the response SHOULD be HTTP response code 201 (Created) and contain an entity that describes the status of the request and refers to the new resource, and a Location header.
  • Many times, the action performed by the POST method might not result in a resource that can be identified by a URI. In this case, either HTTP response code 200 (OK) or 204 (No Content) is the appropriate response status.

2.2. Example URIs

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Use PUT APIs primarily to update an existing resource (if the resource does not exist, then API may decide to create a new resource or not).

If the request passes through a cache and the Request-URI identifies one or more currently cached entities, those entries SHOULD be treated as stale. Responses to PUT method are not cacheable.

3.1. PUT API Response Codes

  • If a new resource has been created by the PUT API, the origin server MUST inform the user agent via the HTTP response code 201 (Created) response.
  • If an existing resource is modified, either the 200 (OK) or 204 (No Content) response codes SHOULD be sent to indicate successful completion of the request.

3.2. Example URIs

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As the name applies, DELETE APIs delete the resources (identified by the Request-URI).

DELETE operations are idempotent. If you DELETE a resource, it’s removed from the collection of resources.

Some may argue that it makes the DELETE method non-idempotent. It’s a matter of discussion and personal opinion.

If the request passes through a cache and the Request-URI identifies one or more currently cached entities, those entries SHOULD be treated as stale. Responses to this method are not cacheable.

4.1. DELETE API Response Codes

  • A successful response of DELETE requests SHOULD be an HTTP response code 200 (OK) if the response includes an entity describing the status.
  • The status should be 202 (Accepted) if the action has been queued.
  • The status should be 204 (No Content) if the action has been performed but the response does not include an entity.
  • Repeatedly calling DELETE API on that resource will not change the outcome – however, calling DELETE on a resource a second time will return a 404 (NOT FOUND) since it was already removed. ### 4.2. Example URIs
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What’s the difference between PUT and POST?

PUT requests are idempotent, meaning that executing the same PUT request will always produce the same result.

On the other hand, a POST will produce different outcomes. If you execute a POST request multiple times, you'll create a new resource multiple times despite them having the same data being passed in.

Using a restaurant analogy, POSTing multiple times would create multiple separate orders, whereas multiple PUT requests will update the same existing order.


Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back because you've learned about web APIs, the HTTP protocol, the client-server architecture – and you've also made your first requests. All the HTTP request where discussed here now try to practically test these methods on your machine :)

🎺🎸 🎻 !!!Happy Coding!!!🎺🎸 🎻….

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