In this post, I will explain the relationship between the REST API and HTTP. Also, you will find the difference between these two concepts.

Although, most of the clients send requests through the HTTP protocol, still, REST API and the HTTP Protocol are no interlinked. Client machines run a browser that retrieves the documents available on the World Wide Web (www). The World Wide Web (www) resides on the Internet and uses the services available on the Internet. These services include emails, instant messaging services, streaming audio and video, and so on.

However, the six architectural design constrains for REST API specify nothing about how these APIs should run on HTTP. In particular, the architectural design constrains of REST API don’t make it mandatory to run them on the HTTP protocol.

Hence, it is clear that both of the above terms are connected. However, we can make REST APIs running on HTTP. It is important to realize that HTTP is a communication protocol, while REST is a set of rules that allow us to build distributed applications following certain constraints.

In fact, these REST APIs running on HTTP protocol are known as RESTful. Therefore, the web platform makes the REST APIs RESTful. Hence, whenever you make an HTTP request to access a REST API that adheres to the architectural design constraints of REST, that REST service is called the RESTful API. Basically, most RESTful APIs use the HTTP protocol as the transport layer for transferring the data.


To sum up, we can list following points about REST and RESTful.

  1. REST only describes the architectural design principles whereas RESTful are basically the APIs, also called web services running on the web and following REST design principles.
  2. Basically, using REST we can develop API that enables interaction between the client and the server. On the other hand, RESTful is a web application that follows REST constraints.
  3. REST describes the design principles while RESTful uses those principles.

Related Topics

REST API Concepts

Architectural Constraints of REST API

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