What is an API Request Method?

Whether you're browsing the web or interacting with an an API, you're using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is the backbone of the internet. HTTP is the protocol that the internet uses to retrieve and send data.

HTTP protocol enables many different request methods depending on whether you want to get data, send data to a server, update existing data, delete data, and so on. Not all APIs strictly follow this usage, but in general, request methods are used as follows:

  • GET: retrieve data
  • POST: create data
  • PUT: fully update (i.e. replace) an existing record
  • PATCH: update part of an existing record
  • DELETE: delete records

Most web browsers only use GET and POST, but interacting with APIs frequently requires other methods.

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