The first line of the HTTP request includes the request method, which indicates what kind of action the request is making of the web server (these methods are also known as HTTP Verbs). The two most common are GET and POST, as these are supported by most browsers.

Commonly HTTP Methods

The following requests are those most commonly used in web development. As noted before GET and POST requests are the most commonly used by web browsers, while GET, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE are used by RESTful APIs. Finally, HEAD can be used to optimize web communications by minimizing unnecessary data transfers.

GET

A GET request seeks to retrieve a specific resource from the web server - often an HTML document or binary file. GET requests typically have no body and are simply used to retrieve data. If the request is successful, the response will typically provide the requested resource in its body.

A HEAD request is similar to a GET request, except the response is not expected to provide a body. This can be used to verify the type of content of the resource, the size of the resource, or other metadata provided in by the response header, without downloading the full data of the resource.

POST

The POST request submits an entity to the resource, i.e. uploading a file or form data. It typically will have a body, which is the upload or form.

PUT

The PUT request is similar to a POST request, in that it submits an entity as its body. It has a more strict semantic meaning though; a PUT request is intended to replace the specified resource in its entirety.

PATCH

The PATCH request is also similar to POST and PUT requests - it submits an entity as its body. However, its semantic meaning is to only apply partial modifications the specified entity.

DELETE

As you might expect, the DELETE method is used to delete the specified resource from the server.

Info

Additional methods include CONNECT, which establishes a tunnel to a server; OPTIONS, which identifies communications options with a resource, and TRACE, which performs a message loop-back test to the target resource. HTTP Methods are defined in W3C’s RFC2616.