GET vs POST: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. GET is an HTTP method to retrieve data from a specified resource on the web server.
  2. POST is a method designed to send data to the server to create or modify resources.
  3. In a GET request, data is transmitted in the URL’s query parameters and is visible and easily accessible in the browser’s address bar. In contrast, POST requests send data in the request body, which keeps it hidden from direct view and provides better security for confidential information.

What is GET?

GET is an HTTP method to retrieve data from a specified resource on the web server. It is considered a safe method as it does not modify data on the server and can be called multiple times without changing its state. The data sent through a GET request is appended to the URL as a query parameter, which makes it easily visible in the browser’s address bar.

GET is popularly used to fetch articles, images or user profiles. GET requests are cacheable by default, which enhances performance and reduces server load for frequently accessed resources. Its simplicity makes it ideal for users wishing to access information without altering server data.

However, as the data is exposed in the URL in GET requests, sensitive information such as passwords or user credentials can be at risk. Additionally, GET requests have a maximum length limit, around 2048 characters, which can restrict the amount of data passed.

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What is POST?

The POST method is designed to send data to the server to create or modify resources. It allows for transmitting large amounts of data and is a fundamental part of web forms, login systems and API interactions.

POST requests are suitable for tasks that involve changing the server’s state, such as submitting forms, uploading files or creating new resources on the server. The request body is not visible in the URL, making it less susceptible to data exposure.

However, POST requests are not cacheable by default. This leads to reduced performance if used for fetching frequently accessed resources. If the developers misuse POST requests for tasks that do not require data modification, it can lead to unnecessary load on the server.

Difference Between GET and POST

  1. GET retrieves data from the server, while POST is used to submit data to the server for processing.
  2. In a GET request, data is transmitted in the URL’s query parameters and is visible and easily accessible in the browser’s address bar. In contrast, POST requests send data in the request body, which keeps it hidden from direct view and provides better security for confidential information.
  3. GET requests have a maximum length limitation, around 2048 characters, due to URL length constraints in web browsers, whereas POST requests can transmit much more significant amounts of data.
  4. GET requests are less secure in transmitting information than POST requests, as the data is exposed in the URL, making it vulnerable to interception and bookmarking.
  5. GET requests are cacheable by default as they do not change server state and produce the same result for repeated identical requests. In contrast, POST requests are non-cacheable as multiple similar requests lead to different outcomes.
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Comparison Between GET and POST

ParametersGETPOST
PurposeTo retrieve data from the serverTo submit data to the server for processing
Data transmissionData is transmitted in the URL’s query parameters and is easily accessible in the browser’s address bar.Data is sent in the request body, which provides better security for confidential information.
Data length limitationTypically around 2048 charactersCan transmit large amounts of data
SecurityLessMore
Caching abilityCacheableNon-cacheable
References
  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2743065.2743078
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-1-4302-0082-6_3.pdf

Last Updated : 16 September, 2023

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