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GET vs POST

GET vs POST

In this section you will learn about the difference between GET and POST Method.

In this section you will learn about the difference between GET and POST Method.

get vs post
get vs post
get vs post
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Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens

GET vs POST

GET and POST stand as two fundamental verbs enabling web interactions. Understanding their differences is crucial for effective web development as they are two of the most commonly used HTTP request methods for communicating between clients (like web browsers) and servers.

Operation

  • GET Method: Used to retrieve information from the server.

  • POST Method: Used to create or update a resource.

Request Structure

  • GET - Request parameters can be sent in url itself or as queryParameters Let's take a small example of a server which returns a book given an id.

    1. GET https://api.myservice.com/rest/books/1 - This would fetch book with id=1, where book id is part of the url.

    2. GET https://api.myservice.com/rest/books?id=1- This would fetch book with id=1, where book id is send as a queryparam. Request Parameters can be send as a part of request body as well, but it's generally not recommended.

  • POST - Request parameters can be sent in url, queryParameters as well as request body.

Let's take a small example of a server which exposes an API for creation of a book

POST 
Content-Type: application/json
https://api.myservice.com/rest/books 
{ 
  "name": "MyBook", 
  "id": 1
 }

This would create a book named "MyBook" with id=1

Data Location

  • GET Method: Appends data to the URL, visible to all.

  • POST Method: Includes data in the request body, not displayed in the URL.

Idempotency

  • GET Method: This is meant to be Idempotent, the same request can be repeated with no further changes, and should not have any affect on server state.

  • POST Method: Mostly this is Non-Idempotent since it might affect server state, but can also be idempotent in few cases based on server implementation.

Request Size

  • GET - Request sizes are usually small, since request data is mostly sent in url itself.

  • POST - Request size can vary. Maximum sizes can depend on permissible limits provided by the server. For ex - Apache can support a maximum limit of 2GB.

Caching

  • GET Method: Can be cached, leading to better performance.

  • POST Method: Not cached by default, as these are not idempotent in general.

Security

  • GET Method: Less secure as data is exposed in the URL.

  • POST Method: More secure; data is concealed within the request body.

Use Case

  • GET Method: Ideal for searching and retrieving data.

  • POST Method: Ideal for creation, updation of resources

GET vs POST

Example of GET vs POST:

GET request for retrieving user details:

GET /api/users/12345 HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com

POST request for creating a new user:

POST /api/users HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
Content-Type: application/json

{
  "name": "Jane Doe",
  "email": "jane.doe@example.com"
}

When to use GET vs POST

  • Use GET for actions that retrieve data without side effects.

  • Use POST for actions that change server state, such as creating or updating resources.

  • Never use GET to transmit sensitive data.

Choosing between GET and POST is fundamental for web service design, ensuring actions are performed correctly while optimizing for security and efficiency.

GET API Security

  • Use HTTPS to encrypt data in transit, protecting parameters passed in URLs.

  • Avoid sensitive data in URLs to prevent exposure through server logs or browser history.

  • Validate input to defend against SQL injection and other injection attacks.

  • Implement rate limiting to protect against DoS attacks and abuse.

  • Be cautious with caching, ensuring sensitive information isn't stored or exposed.

  • Use API Security Tools such as Akto to find vulnerabilities in CI/CD.

POST API Security

  • Enforce HTTPS for secure data transmission.

  • Use token-based authentication (like JWT or OAuth) for secure access control.

  • Validate and sanitize input to prevent XSS, SQL Injection, and other vulnerabilities.

  • Protect against CSRF attacks by using anti-CSRF tokens.

  • Validate Content-Type to ensure the API handles only expected data formats.

  • Use API Security Tools such as Akto to find vulnerabilities such as XSS in APIs. The easiest way to get started with Akto is through Helm charts.

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