System Design

Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP)

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HTTP is a method for encoding and transporting data between a client and a server. It is a request/response protocol: clients issue requests and servers issue responses with relevant content and completion status info about the request. HTTP is self-contained, allowing requests and responses to flow through many intermediate routers and servers that perform load balancing, caching, encryption, and compression.

A basic HTTP request consists of a verb (method) and a resource (endpoint). Below are common HTTP verbs:

Verb Description Idempotent* Safe Cacheable
GET Reads a resource Yes Yes Yes
POST Creates a resource or trigger a process that handles data No No Yes if response contains freshness info
PUT Creates or replace a resource Yes No No
PATCH Partially updates a resource No No Yes if response contains freshness info
DELETE Deletes a resource Yes No No

*Can be called many times without different outcomes.

HTTP is an application layer protocol relying on lower-level protocols such as TCP and UDP.

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