cURL vs HTTP Requests

What is cURL?

cURL is a computer software project that includes a library (libcurl) as well as a command-line program (curl) for transferring data across several network protocols. The name is an abbreviation for “Client URL.”

cURL is a command-line utility for retrieving and delivering data, including files, through URL syntax. Because cURL is based on libcurl, it supports every protocol that libcurl supports.

When a secure protocol, such as HTTPS, is selected, cURL conducts SSL certificate checking by default. When cURL connects to a distant server over HTTPS, it obtains the remote server certificate then checks the authenticity of the remote server against its CA certificate database to guarantee the remote server is who it claims to be. Some cURL packages include a file containing the CA certificate store. There are numerous options available for specifying a CA certificate.

What is HTTP Request?

A user gives an HTTP request to a specified host that is located on a server. The request’s goal is to get access to a server resource.

To make the request, the client employs URL (Uniform Resource Locator) components, which comprise the information required to reach the resource. URLs are explained in detail by the components of a URL.

A properly constructed HTTP request includes the following elements:

  • A line for requests.
  • A set of HTTP headers, often known as header fields.
  • If necessary, a message body.

A carriage return line feed follows each HTTP header (CRLF). After the last HTTP header, an extra CRLF is used (to create an empty line), and then the message body begins.

Difference between HTTP Request and cURL

1. PHP includes Curl. However, HTTPRequest is a distinct PECL module.

As a result, CURL is considerably more likely to be installed on your target platform, which is usually the determining factor for most projects. I’d only use HTTPRequest if you intend to deploy your software on servers where you have the capacity to install PECL extensions; if your customers will be conducting their own installations, adding PECL extensions is typically out of the question.

2. HTTPRequest (as well as the PECL extension) is based on libcurl.

The HTTPRequest is simply a more convenient/syntactically pleasant way of performing the same activity. one is more likely to have a target platform with curl already installed, and the hosting provider may have difficulties installing the PECL library.

3. The HTTPRequest is a “kind of” wrapper over curl.

The following two handbook quotations should help you figure it out:

  • If implemented with CURL support, it enables strong request capability. Parallel requests are supported in PHP versions 5 and above.
  • To allow request functionality, the extension must be built with « libcurl support (—with-HTTP-curl-requests). It is necessary to have a library version equal to or greater than v7.12.3.

Having said that (and having never used this extension myself), it appears that if you want your code to look more object-oriented, you can go for this one, but it may be a little slower, though nothing compared to the external call that you are going to make, so I won’t consider performance when making my choice. I appreciate the fact that curl is built-in, whereas the other requires you to install it manually, which is inconvenient and lowers mobility if you want to host your app in a shared environment that you don’t control.

4. Curl sends an HTTP request to the server when it instructs the server on what to perform. When it needs to receive or deliver data, all HTTP transfers begin with an HTTP request.

A method, a path, an HTTP version, and a set of request headers are all part of an HTTP request. Of course, a libcurl-using program can change all of those settings.

Advantages to cURL

  • LIBCURL (CURL LIBRARY PHP)currently supports HTTP, https, FTP, gopher, telnet, file, and LDAP protocols.
  • LIBCURL (CURL LIBRARY PHP) also supports HTTPS certificates, HTTP POST, HTTP PUT, FTP uploading (also possible with PHP’s FTP extension), HTTP form-based upload, proxies, cookies, and user and password authentication.
  • libcurl is a portable library. It builds and works identically on many platforms, including AIX, AmigaOS, Android, BeOS, BlackBerry Tablet OS and BlackBerry 10, OpenVMS, Darwin, DOS, FreeBSD, HP-UX, HURD, iOS, IRIX, Linux, macOS, NetBSD, NetWare, OpenBSD, OS/2, QNX Neutrino, RISC OS, Solaris, Symbian, Tru64, Ultrix, UnixWare, and Microsoft Windows.
  • The libcurl library is open source, thread-safe, and IPv6 compliant. More than 50 languages, including C/C++, Java, PHP, and Python, have bindings available. The Ring programming language’s standard library includes libcurl.