A web request is a request made by a client, such as a web browser, to a server in order to retrieve a web page or other resource. Web requests are sent using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is a standard protocol for transmitting data on the World Wide Web.
When a user enters a URL into a web browser or clicks on a hyperlink, the browser sends a web request to the website’s server. The server then responds by sending the requested resource back to the client. The resource can be a web page, an image, a video, or any other type of file that can be transmitted over the internet.
Web requests are essential to how the World Wide Web works, as they enable clients to retrieve and display web content from servers worldwide. Web requests are typically made using HTTP, but other protocols, such as HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), can also be used for more secure communications.
What are the Types of Web Requests?
While an HTTP request is the mode of communication between the client, that’s requesting data, and the server, that’s supplying data, various purposes and actions behind the types of web requests can be made.
- GET: A get request is one of the most common web requests that can be made. This type of request is made on behalf of a client when it’s seeking data from a specified resource. Once the client has requested a resource, the server will process the request, get the information or data, and send it back to the client.
- POST: This is another common type of web request, but the purpose of POST seeks to create or update the subordinate requested resources. This request does not store additional data but, instead, per request, must be updated and refreshed or resubmitted. Furthermore, each time this request is made, it is clear to the user that it will need to be resubmitted.
- PUT: This method allows the target URL to be entirely replaced with a new resource. PUT should be utilized to replace or overwrite a resource that the client is clearly aware of.
- PATCH: This method is simply used to modify a specific part of the resource. While it is similar to the PUT method, PATCH aims only to update or modify rather than replace.
- DELETE: This method sends a request to the server to delete a resource. While this is a possibility, it is not the most preferred choice.
A Web request is a request issued by a Web client. A Web request can be described as either:
Explicit Web request:
A request that is initiated manually by the user.
Implicit Web request:
A request initiated transparently by the Web client, without manual intervention on the user’s part, as an ancillary event corresponding to an explicit Web request.
and as either:
An Embedded Web request:
A request for dereferencing a URI embedded within a Web resource manifestation: e.g., following the link in an HTML document, etc.
A User-input Web request:
A request for dereferencing a URI supplied by the user directly to the Web client: e.g., typed into the address window, bookmarks, history, etc.
- A user follows a link appearing in an HTML document (explicit, embedded Web request). The Web client retrieves the requested HTML document and also makes an additional request for an image referenced in the HTML document (implicit, embedded Web request);
- A user reads the URI printed on a bus and feeds it to the Web client (explicit, user-input Web request).
Can hackers hijack Web Requests?
Yes, it is possible for hackers to hijack web requests in order to perform malicious actions. There are several ways this can be done:
- Man-in-the-middle attacks: In a man-in-the-middle attack, a hacker intercepts communication between a client and a server and modifies the communication to perform malicious actions. For example, a hacker might intercept a web request and redirect the user to a malicious website instead of the intended destination.
- Session hijacking: Hackers can also attempt to hijack a user’s session by stealing session cookies or other identifying information. This can allow them to access the user’s account or perform actions as if they were the user.
- DNS spoofing: Hackers can also use a technique called DNS spoofing to redirect web requests to a different server than the intended destination. This can be done by modifying the Domain Name System (DNS) records on a server or by using a fake DNS server.
To protect against these types of attacks, it is important to use secure protocols, such as HTTPS, to transmit web requests and to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to secure your accounts. Using a firewall and an antivirus program is also a good idea to protect your device.