PUT Method

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HTTP PUT Method: Comprehensive Guide

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web. It defines how web browsers and servers interact and exchange data. One of the key aspects of HTTP is the use of methods, which are standardized actions that help in structuring web requests and responses. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the HTTP PUT method, its features, use cases, and best practices, as well as provide examples and comparisons to other HTTP methods.

Understanding the PUT Method

The HTTP PUT method is one of the fundamental method requests in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) used for creating or updating resources on a server. The PUT method allows clients to send a request to a server with a complete representation of the resource and a unique identifier. The origin server then either updates the existing resource with the provided data or creates a new resource if the specified identifier does not already exist.


The HTTP PUT method, in contrast to POST requests, is designed to update or create resources on the server based on the unique identifier provided in the request URI. While POST request identifies the resource creation endpoint, the PUT method targets the resource identified by the client-supplied URI. Both PUT and POST requests utilize the request body to send user-generated data to the server for processing. However, the PUT method specifically allows for full updates of the resource identified, ensuring that the server maintains a consistent state for that resource.


A significant difference between PUT and POST is idempotency. An HTTP method is considered idempotent if making the same request multiple times results in the same outcome. The PUT method is idempotent, meaning that sending the same PUT request multiple times will have the same effect as sending it once. In contrast, the POST method is not idempotent, as each request may create a new resource or have a different result.

For example, consider an online store API where we want to update a product’s price. Using the PUT method, even if the request to update the price is sent multiple times, the end result will still be the same updated price. However, using the POST method, multiple requests could result in creating multiple instances of the same product, each with a different price.

Resource creation and updates

Another distinction between PUT and POST lies in their approach to creating and updating resources. The POST method is primarily used to create a new resource, while the PUT method is used to update an existing target resource. However, the PUT method can also create a new resource if the client provides a unique identifier and the resource does not already exist.

Key features of the PUT method

Now that we’ve compared PUT and POST, let’s examine the key features of the PUT method:


As mentioned earlier, the PUT method is idempotent, making it suitable for operations where repeated requests should have the same effect. This helps reduce the risk of unintended side effects or duplicate data in case of network errors or retries.

Full resource update

The PUT method is designed to update a resource in its entirety. When using PUT, the client provides a complete representation of the resource, which replaces the existing resource on the server. This approach ensures consistency in the resource’s state but may not be ideal for scenarios where only a portion of the resource needs to be modified.

Client-supplied resource identifier

When using the PUT method, the client must provide a unique identifier for the resource being updated or created. This allows the server to know exactly which resource to update or where to create the new resource.

PUT method limitations

Despite its advantages, the PUT method has some limitations:

Inability to perform partial updates

As mentioned earlier, the PUT method requires a full resource update, making it inefficient for scenarios where only a small part of the resource needs to be changed. In such cases, the PATCH method, which supports partial updates, is a better alternative.

Overwriting resources

Another potential issue with the PUT method is the risk of overwriting resources unintentionally. If a client provides an identifier for a resource that already exists, the HTTP PUT request method will replace the existing resource, potentially resulting in data loss. It is essential to implement proper validation and error handling to minimize this risk.

Implementing the PUT Method

Now that we understand the fundamentals of the PUT method, let’s dive into its implementation. We’ll explore both client-side and server-side implementation techniques using various popular tools and frameworks.

Client-side implementation

There are several ways to implement the PUT method in client-side JavaScript. Here, we’ll discuss three popular approaches: XMLHttpRequest, Fetch API, and Axios.


The XMLHttpRequest is a legacy method for making HTTP requests in JavaScript. Here’s an example of a PUT request using XMLHttpRequest:

const xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
const url = 'https://api.example.com/resource/123';

xhr.open('PUT', url, true);
xhr.setRequestHeader('Content-Type', 'application/json');
xhr.onreadystatechange = function() {
  if (xhr.readyState === 4 && xhr.status === 200) {
    console.log('Resource updated successfully:', xhr.responseText);

const data = JSON.stringify({ key: 'value' });

Fetch API

The Fetch API is a modern, more flexible, and promise-based alternative to XMLHttpRequest. Here’s an example of a PUT request using the Fetch API:

const url = 'https://api.example.com/resource/123';
const data = { key: 'value' };

fetch(url, {
  method: 'PUT',
  headers: { 'Content-Type': 'application/json' },
  body: JSON.stringify(data),
  .then(response => response.json())
  .then(json => console.log('Resource updated successfully:', json))
  .catch(error => console.error('Error:', error));


Axios is a popular, promise-based library for making HTTP requests in JavaScript. Here’s an example of a PUT request using Axios:

const axios = require('axios');
const url = 'https://api.example.com/resource/123';
const data = { key: 'value' };

  .put(url, data)
  .then(response => console.log('Resource updated successfully:', response.data))
  .catch(error => console.error('Error:', error));

Server-side implementation

Implementing the PUT method on the server side varies depending on the programming language and framework used. We’ll discuss three popular server-side frameworks: Node.js with Express, Django (Python), and Ruby on Rails.

Node.js with Express

In Node.js using the Express framework, you can implement a PUT request like this:

const express = require('express');
const app = express();

app.put('/resource/:id', (req, res) => {
  // Your logic for updating the resource goes here
  res.status(200).json({ message: 'Resource updated successfully' });

app.listen(3000, () => console.log('Server running on port 3000'));

Django (Python)

In a Django (Python) application, you can implement a PUT request like this:

from django.http import JsonResponse
from django.views import View

class ResourceUpdateView(View):
    def put(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        # Your logic for updating the resource goes here
        return JsonResponse({ 'message': 'Resource updated successfully' })

# In your urls.py
from django.urls import path
from .views import ResourceUpdateView

urlpatterns = [
    path('resource/<int:pk>/', ResourceUpdateView.as_view(), name='resource_update'),

Ruby on Rails

In a Ruby on Rails application, you can implement a PUT request like this:

# In your controller
class ResourcesController < ApplicationController
  def update
    # Your logic for updating the resource goes here
    render json: { message: 'Resource updated successfully' }

Best Practices for the PUT Method

When implementing the PUT method in your web applications and APIs, it’s essential to follow best practices to ensure efficiency, security, and maintainability. Here are some key best practices for using the PUT method:

Use PUT for idempotent updates

As discussed earlier, the PUT method is idempotent, making it the ideal choice for updates that should produce the same result regardless of how many times the request is made. Ensure that your PUT implementation maintains idempotent behavior to avoid unintended side effects.

Ensure proper validation and error handling

When processing PUT requests, always validate the incoming data to ensure it meets the required format, constraints, and business rules. Implement proper error handling to provide clear and meaningful feedback to clients in case of any issues, such as invalid data, missing fields, or server errors.

Provide meaningful status codes and messages

HTTP status codes help communicate the result of a request clearly and succinctly. When implementing the PUT method, use appropriate status codes to indicate the outcome of the request. Some common status codes for PUT requests include:

  • 200 OK: The request was successful, and the resource was updated.
  • 201 Created: The request was successful, and a new resource was created.
  • 204 No Content: The request was successful, but there is no additional information to return.

In addition to status codes, provide human-readable messages that offer further context and details about the request outcome.

Use appropriate authentication and authorization

Securing your API endpoints is crucial to prevent unauthorized access and modifications. Implement appropriate authentication mechanisms, such as token-based authentication, OAuth, or other secure methods, to ensure that only authorized users can make PUT requests. Also, implement proper authorization checks to ensure that users can only update resources they have permission to modify.

Employ versioning for API endpoints

API versioning helps maintain backward compatibility and allows developers to introduce new features without breaking existing clients. When implementing PUT endpoints, include versioning in the URL or through request headers to clearly distinguish different API versions. This practice will enable you to make updates to your API without causing issues for existing clients.

See Also

HTTP GET vs POST: Discover the Crucial Differences

HTTP POST vs PUT: Discover the Crucial Differences

HTTP GET vs CONNECT: Discover the Crucial Differences

HTTP PUT vs PATCH: Discover the Crucial Differences

HTTP POST VS HEAD: Discover the Crucial Differences