What is an HTTP request - An in-depth look

HTTP, or the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is the backbone of the internet. It's the standard mechanism through which web browsers request data from web servers and receive this data. But what exactly is an HTTP request, and how does it work? In this article, we'll dive deep into the world of HTTP requests and the concepts associated with them.

What is HTTP and how does it work?

HTTP is an application-oriented protocol developed for transferring data across the internet. It's based on the client-server model, where a client (typically a web browser) sends a request to a server to obtain data or services. The server processes this request and sends back a corresponding response. More information on how HTTP works can be found here.

What is an HTTP request with an example?

An HTTP request is a message sent from a client to a server to request data or perform an action. It consists of several parts:

  • Method: Specifies the type of action the client wants the server to perform. Some of the most common methods are GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.
  • URL: The address of the resource the client is requesting.
  • HTTP Version: Indicates the HTTP version used (e.g., HTTP/1.1).
  • Headers: Contains additional information, like the type of web browser or the content type of the request.

Example: A simple HTTP request to retrieve the homepage of "example.com" might look like this:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0
Accept: */*

What are an HTTP request and response?

An HTTP request, as described above, is a request sent by a client to a server. An HTTP response is the message that the server sends back after it has received and processed the request.

A typical HTTP response contains:

  • Status Code: This is a three-digit number indicating the status of the request. For instance, the code 200 means "OK", indicating that the request was successfully processed. Another commonly seen code is 404, which means "Not Found", indicating that the requested resource was not located.
  • HTTP Version: As with the request, it indicates the HTTP version used.
  • Headers: Contains additional information, like the Content-Type of the response.
  • Body: The actual data that the client requested.

What are the 4 types of HTTP request methods?

There are many HTTP request methods, but the four most common are:

  1. GET: Requests data from a resource. For example, when you open a web page in your browser, the browser typically sends a GET request.
  2. POST: Sends data to the server to create a resource. This is often used when you fill out and submit a form on a webpage.
  3. PUT: Updates an existing resource with new data.
  4. DELETE: Requests the server to delete a resource.


HTTP is the foundation upon which the modern web is built. Understanding HTTP requests and responses, the various methods, and status codes is crucial for anyone working in the digital realm or simply wanting a deeper grasp of how the web operates. With the resources and links provided, you should be well-equipped to navigate the world of HTTP requests.

I hope this article has helped clarify the topic of "What is an HTTP request?". If you have further questions or want to delve deeper into specific areas, I recommend visiting the comprehensive resources and links provided in the text.

Published: 2023-08-04 09:56:25

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Tony Brüser is an enthusiastic web developer with a penchant for HTTP status codes.