In this section you will learn about DELETE Method, what is it, its benefits, components with DELETE examples.


Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens

What is DELETE Method?

DELETE is one of the HTTP methods that facilitates the deletion of resources on the server. It's a request method supported by HTTP used by the World Wide Web. By design, the DELETE method is idempotent, which means even if you call the same DELETE request multiple times, the first request will delete the resource and the subsequent requests will return a 404 Not Found error as the resource is already deleted. This is akin to throwing a file in the trash can, once it's gone, it's gone.

Principles of DELETE

  • Idempotence: The DELETE method is idempotent. An operation is idempotent if the result of performing it once is exactly the same as the result of performing it repeatedly without any intervening operations. This characteristic is crucial as it ensures that the client can make the same request repeatedly while producing the same result, which is the deletion of the specified resource. In other words, making multiple identical DELETE requests will have the same effect as making a single request.

DELETE /api/users/123 HTTP/1.1
  • Resource Deletion: DELETE is used to delete a specified resource. This is its primary function. It's a straightforward way to instruct the server to remove a particular item, whether it's a user profile, a blog post, or any other type of object the server is storing.

DELETE /api/orders/456 HTTP/1.1

Why use DELETE?

DELETE is essential when a client needs to tell the server to remove a resource. It's a straightforward way to manage the removal of resources in a RESTful API. This method enables the maintenance of a clean and organized data structure on the server by removing outdated or unwanted resources.

Understanding the Benefits of DELETE

  • Resource Management: DELETE allows for effective resource management by providing a method to remove unwanted or outdated resources. It helps in keeping the data on the server organized and up to date, which is crucial for the performance and reliability of web applications.

  • Simple to Use: The DELETE method is simple and easy to use, which is beneficial for developers when creating and managing APIs. The ease of use accelerates development processes and enhances productivity.

How does DELETE Work?

The operation of the DELETE method involves the following steps:

  1. Client Sends a Request

    The client sends an HTTP request to the server with the DELETE method, specifying the resource's URI. This is similar to selecting a file on your computer, right-clicking it, and selecting "Delete."

DELETE /api/orders/456 HTTP/1.1
  1. Server Processes the Request

    The server processes the request, deletes the specified resource, and prepares the response. During this phase, the server may interact with a database to remove the data associated with the specified resource. This is where the actual deletion of the resource occurs, akin to the file being moved to the trash bin on your computer.

  2. Server Sends a Response to the Client

    The server sends an HTTP response to the client, indicating the result of the request. A successful deletion will typically return a 204 No Content response.

HTTP/1.1 204 No Content

Components of a DELETE Request

A DELETE request comprises several components:

  • URI (Uniform Resource Identifier): The URI identifies the resource to be deleted. For example: /api/orders/456. It's like the address of the house where you are sending a letter, informing to discard a specific item.

  • Method: The HTTP method, which in this case is DELETE. This tells the server what kind of action you want to perform, much like specifying whether you are sending a regular letter or a parcel.

  • Headers: HTTP headers allow the client to pass additional information about the request and about itself, to the server. For instance, an Authorization header might be used to provide credentials to allow the deletion.

Authorization: Bearer your_token

DELETE Request Example

Here's how a client would send a DELETE request to remove a resource:

DELETE /api/books/123 HTTP/1.1

With this request, the client is asking the server to delete the book resource with the ID 123.

DELETE Response Example

Upon successful deletion, the server might respond with a 204 No Content status, indicating that the action has been successfully completed and there is no additional content to send in the response body:

HTTP/1.1 204 No Content
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2023 07:28:00 GMT

If the resource cannot be found, the server might respond with a 404 Not Found status:

HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2023 07:28:00 GMT
Content-Type: text/html

  <head><title>Not Found</title></head>
  <body>Resource not found.</body>

Or, if the request cannot be processed for some other reason, the server might return a 4xx or 5xx status code with an appropriate message.


The DELETE method is an essential tool in the HTTP protocol suite, enabling the removal of resources from the server.

Learn about other methods such as POST, GET and PUT.