Time written.April 10, 2018



I had an a-ha moment and realised that the internet is like a big jumble sale of data exchanges. Since then my web developer self is a changed man.
The internet is like a jumble sale with lots of individual requests and responses.
Let's imagine that we, the internet user are a child at the market, with a parent. A common individual transaction might involve a client, who is a little like a parent, and the server, a salesperson, who is selling a collection of books. Hopefully this isn't too abstract and helps to explain http-requests.

Each http-request needs a client and a server. A client is often a web browser and a server can be an application on a computer that hosts a website.
When a browser wants to get information from somewhere else on the web it sends a request to a specific location (URL) and waits for a response, much like our child who wants something and has a parent communicate with our salesperson friend.

For each http-request there will be a request and a response. Here are some methods for handling our interaction:

  • GET - Requests data from a specified resource.
  • POST - Sends data to a server to create or update a resource
  • PUT - Sends data to a server to create or update a resource
    It's different to a POST request because it is Idempotent - a put request can be made multiple times and produce the same result.
  • HEAD - Asks only for information about the document.
  • DELETE - Deletes data from a resource.
  • OPTIONS - Describes communication options for a resource.

    note. This video explains more about Idempotence...and cows.

GET and POST are the most common methods in use.

Important things to remember about each method:

  • A GET request

    • can be Cached and can also be Bookmarked,
    • remains in the browser,
    • should not be used for dealing with sensitive information,
    • has length restrictions,
    • cannot modify data the get
  • A POST request
    + can never be Cached or Bookmarked, + does not remain in the browser,
    + has no restrictions to data length

Hopefully this is a step towards http-request mastery. Please leave comments.

Gatsby Website made by Jack Murphy | Cookies | Style guide