Difference Between GET and POST in PHP

Difference Between GET and POST in PHP

5 mins readComment
Vikram
Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Jul 11, 2024 00:03 IST

The difference between GET and POST methods in PHP is based on how they handle data and their suitability for different purposes. GET is used for retrieving data like searching, filtering, or paging, whereas POST is used for submitting forms, modifying data, or creating new resources. Besides this, these two methods differ from each other in terms of parameters such as data transmission, data size, data type, security, idempotency, and use cases. This article will delve further into the GET and POST methods in PHP and highlight their differences.

GET vs POST: Difference Between GET and POST

GET and POST are two commonly used HTTP methods to communicate with servers. Both these methods are used to transfer data from the client side, but they differ in the way they handle data transmission. Understanding the difference between GET and POST methods is crucial for web developers to design effective and secure web applications.

Table of Content

What is the Difference Between GET and POST Methods in PHP?

Parameter

GET

POST

Visibility

Data is appended to the URL and visible in the browser's address bar.

Data is included in the request body and not visible in the URL.

Data Length

Limited by the URL length, which can vary by browser and server. Typically, around 2048 characters.

No inherent limit on data size, allowing for large amounts of data to be sent.

Security

Less secure due to visibility in the URL. Sensitive data can be easily exposed in browser history, server logs, etc.

More secure for transmitting sensitive data since it's not exposed in the URL.

Use Case

Ideal for simple data retrieval where the data can be bookmarked or shared.

Suited for transactions that result in a change on the server, such as updating data, submitting forms, and uploading files.

Idempotency

Idempotent, meaning multiple identical requests have the same effect as a single request.

Non-idempotent, meaning multiple identical requests, may have different outcomes.

Caching

Can be cached by the browser and proxies.

Not cached by default since it can change the server state.

Data Type

Only ASCII characters are allowed. Non-ASCII characters must be encoded.

Can handle binary data in addition to text, making it suitable for file uploads.

Back/Forward Buttons

Reloading a page requested by GET does not usually require browser confirmation.

Reloading a page can cause the browser to prompt the user for confirmation to resubmit the POST request.

Bookmarks and Sharing

Easily bookmarked and shared since the data is part of the URL.

Cannot be bookmarked or shared through the URL since the data is in the request body.

Impact on Server

Generally used for retrieving data without any side effects on the server.

Often causes a change in server state (e.g., database updates) or side effects.



Must Check: Top Online PHP Courses and Certifications

What is the GET Method in PHP?

GET method in PHP is a type of HTTP request method that is used to request data from a specific source. In simple terms, it is a method to send data from the web browser to the server. It's commonly used to retrieve data based on user input or actions.

Here's a breakdown of its key aspects:

Data Transmission:

  • Data is appended to the URL as a query string after a ? symbol.
    • Example: https://example.com/search.php?q=cats&page=2
  • This means the data is visible in the browser address bar and server logs.

Data Access:

  • In your PHP script, you can access the GET data using the $_GET associative array.
  • Each key in the array corresponds to a variable name in the URL, and the value is its corresponding value.

Security:

  • Since data is visible in the URL, the GET method should not be used for sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Anyone with access to the URL can see the data.

Use Cases:

  • Retrieving data based on user input: Search queries, filtering options, pagination.
  • Creating shareable URLs: Bookmarking, sharing search results.
  • Passing small amounts of data: Passing IDs, and sorting options.

Limitations:

  • Data size limit: Around 1024 characters due to browser and server restrictions.
  • Data type: Limited to ASCII text due to URL encoding.
  • Not idempotent: Repeated requests with the same data might produce different results (e.g., adding items to a cart).

Best Practices:

  • Never use GET for sensitive data.
  • Validate and sanitize all user input to prevent security vulnerabilities.
  • Encode special characters in the URL data correctly.

Must Check: Advantages and Use Cases of GET Method in PHP

What is the POST Method in PHP?

The POST method in PHP serves as another approach to transmitting data from a web browser to a server. It differs from GET in its data handling and security aspects, making it suitable for different situations. 

Here's a breakdown of its key aspects:

Data Transmission:

  • Data is hidden within the HTTP request body, unlike GET, where it's appended to the URL.
  • This means the data is invisible in the browser address bar and server logs, enhancing security.

Data Access:

  • In your PHP script, you access POST data using the $_POST associative array, similar to GET.
  • Each key-value pair in the array corresponds to a form element name and its submitted value.

Security:

  • Since data is hidden within the request body, the POST method is more secure for sensitive information.
  • However, it's important to remember that security measures, like validating and sanitizing user input, are still crucial on the server side.

Use Cases:

  • Submitting form data: Login forms, registration forms, contact forms.
  • Sending large amounts of data: Uploading files and submitting complex data sets.
  • Modifying server-side data: Updating user profiles, adding comments, and creating entries.

Limitations:

  • Not idempotent: Repeated requests with the same data might produce different results, unlike GET.
  • Requires forms: Cannot be used directly with links like GET.

Best Practices:

  • Use POST for sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers.
  • Validate and sanitize all user input to prevent injection attacks and other vulnerabilities.
  • Implement additional security measures like encryption for sensitive data.

Must Check: Advantages and Use Cases of POST Method in PHP

How to Choose Between GET and POST Method in PHP?

  • Use GET for retrieving data without side effects, while use POST for sending data that will result in a change on the server.
  • Prefer the POST method over GET for sensitive data.
  • GET has limitations on data size, while POST can handle large amounts of data, making it suitable for forms and file uploads.
  • POST requests are not cached, while GET requests can be cached.
  • GET requests can be bookmarked and shared, while the POST method can't.

Conclusion

In this article, we have briefly discussed the GET and POST methods in PHP. Both methods are primarily used to handle the data. GET is used for retrieving data like searching, filtering, or paging, whereas POST is used for submitting forms, modifying data, or creating new resources. 

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About the Author
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Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content

Vikram has a Postgraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, with a keen interest in Data Science and Machine Learning. He has experience of 2+ years in content creation in Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science, and Mac... Read Full Bio