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Difference between POST and PUT

HTTP requests have become popular because of the modern URLs that utilize them. Three different HTTP requests help in transferring data from client to server in HTTP protocol. These are the GET, POST, and PUT. Among them, the POST and the PUT are the most secure form of transferring data through HTTP. In this article, you will learn the differences between POST and PUT requests.

The POST and PUT Requests:

Both the POST and the PUT requests have similar working mechanisms while making an HTTP request. Also, many developers blend them so that one can perform the functionalities of the other. Although both the PUT and the POST methods can help you perform the create and update operations, there are some significant differences between them. Let us first discuss each of them.

The POST Request:

POST is an HTTP request supported by Hypertext Transfer Protocol that describes that a web server admits the data residing in the body of the message, requested by the HTTP. The POST request is used by the World Wide Web to transmit data generated by the user. It delivers the data to the web server when you upload the file. Using the POST method, clients can send data to a specific URI and demands the resource to handle the request. This allows the web server to determine how to deal with the data in the context of the defined resource. Data sent through the POST responses are cacheable as long as the server places the proper Cache-Control and Expires headers along with the request.

The PUT Request:

The PUT method helps in updating the resources residing on the server. Usually, it replaces everything that exists at the target URL with some other characters. The PUT request will place the file or resource at a specific URI with which it is used. If the resource or the file already exists there at the URI, PUT replaces that resource or file. In case the file does not exist there, the PUT request will create one. Usually, PUT responses are not cacheable.

Differences between POST and PUT:

Now since you have got a basic idea of the PUT and POST HTTP requests, now it is time to understand the differentiation between both of them.

PUT POST
The URI of the POST request will recognize the resource that will manage the embedded entity. Here, the URI of the PUT request will recognize the entity embedded with the request. Thus, the user agent knows what URI wants in the request, and the server should not attempt to perform the request to other resources.
PUT is an idempotent method. It means, when a user try to retry a request several times, that leads equivalent to signal request modification. In contrast, the POST method is not an idempotent method. Thus, when the user tries to retry a request N times, they end up producing N resources with N distinct URIs generated on the server.
PUT responses are not cacheable. POST responses are cacheable as long as the server defines the appropriate Cache-Control.
Developers should use PUT to update existing resources. Developers should use POST to create new resources.
PUT turns out to be helpful when we know the "id" of the object like Order, Employee, etc. POST turns out to be helpful when we want the server to be in direct control of the URL generated for any resources.
In the case of PUT method, the client or the user choose what URI resource needs to be utilized. In the case of POST method, the server chooses what URI resource needs to be utilized.
PUT works as a specific method. On the other hand, POST works as an abstract method.
PUT method gets called when the user has to modify a single resource. POST method gets called when the user has to add a child resource to the existing resource.
In practice, developers use PUT for UPDATE operations. In practice, developers use POST for CREATE operations.
In PUT method, sending the same request multiple times will yield you the same result. In POST method, sending the same request multiple times will yield different results.

Simple Python Program for PUT:

import requests
req = requests.put('https://httpbin.org/put', data={'key': 'value'})
print(req)
print(req.content)

Simple HTML Program for POST:

<form id="form1" name="form1" method="post">
<label for="textfield">Text Field:</label>
<input type="text" name="textfield" id="textfield">
<input type="submit" name="submit" id="submit" value="Submit">
</form>

Explanation:

Here we have first imported the requests module. This module can help in handling HTTP requests. Then we use the requests.put() method that takes an URI as a parameter along with a dictionary as another parameter. Then we assigned its value to a variable (req). Then, we simply print that variable and its content.

Simple Python Program for POST:

import requests
req = requests.post('https://httpbin.org/post', data={'key': 'value'})
print(req)
print(req.json())

Simple HTML Program for POST:

<form id="form1" name="form1" method="post">
  <label for="textfield">Text Field:</label>
  <input type="text" name="textfield" id="textfield">
<input type="submit" name="submit" id="submit" value="Submit">
</form>

Explanation:

Here we have first imported the requests module. This module can help in handling HTTP requests. Then we use the requests.post() method that takes an URI as a parameter along with a dictionary as another parameter. Then we print the ‘req’ variable to check status code for response received. Also, we print the req.json() to print the complete content of request.

Advantages of PUT method:

  • PUT allows generating the resource as many times as we need.
  • Creating resources through the PUT method is simple and easy.
  • PUT helps programmers store the supplied object or item under the supplied URI.
  • It helps in identifying the entity embedded with the request.

Advantages of POST Method:

  • Developers can render user-generated data to the webserver.
  • Users can utilize the POST whenever they require the server. It controls the URL generation for your resources.
  • POST is a heavily secure HTTP method because the requests it generates do not reside in browser history.
  • Without any effort, developers can transmit a huge volume of data using POST.
  • It helps in keeping the data private.

Conclusion:

Both PUT & POST methods are popular HTTP methods. Developers sometimes get confused and used them interchangeably. The method's users need to identify the idempotency of the action to be taken in order to decide whether to go with the PUT or the POST method.