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Introducing Axios, a Popular, Promise-based HTTP Client

Axios is a popular, promise-based HTTP client that sports an easy-to-use API and can be used in both the browser and Node.js.

Making HTTP requests to fetch or save data is one of the most common tasks a client-side JavaScript application will need to do. Third-party libraries — especially jQuery — have long been a popular way to interact with the more verbose browser APIs, and abstract away any cross-browser differences.

As people move away from jQuery in favor of improved native DOM APIs, or front-end UI libraries like React and Vue.js, including it purely for its $.ajax functionality makes less sense.

Let’s take a look at how to get started using Axios in your code, and see some of the features that contribute to its popularity among JavaScript developers.

Axios vs Fetch

As you’re probably aware, modern browsers ship with the newer Fetch API built in, so why not just use that? There are several differences between the two that many feel gives Axios the edge.

One such difference is in how the two libraries treat HTTP error codes. When using Fetch, if the server returns a 4xx or 5xx series error, your catch() callback won’t be triggered and it is down to the developer to check the response status code to determine if the request was successful. Axios, on the other hand, will reject the request promise if one of these status codes is returned.

Another small difference, which often trips up developers new to the API, is that Fetch doesn’t automatically send cookies back to the server when making a request. It’s necessary to explicitly pass an option for them to be included. Axios has your back here.

One difference that may end up being a show-stopper for some is progress updates on uploads/downloads. As Axios is built on top of the older XHR API, you’re able to register callback functions for onUploadProgress and onDownloadProgress to display the percentage complete in your app’s UI. Currently, Fetch has no support for doing this.

Lastly, Axios can be used in both the browser and Node.js. This facilitates sharing JavaScript code between the browser and the back end or doing server-side rendering of your front-end apps.

Note: there are versions of the Fetch API available for Node but, in my opinion, the other features Axios provides give it the edge.


As you might expect, the most common way to install Axios is via the npm package manager:

npm i axios

and include it in your code where needed:

// ES2015 style import
import axios from 'axios';

// Node.js style require
const axios = require('axios');

If you’re not using some kind of module bundler (e.g. webpack), then you can always pull in the library from a CDN in the traditional way:

<script src=""></script>

Browser support

Axios works in all modern web browsers, and Internet Explorer 8+.

Making Requests

Similar to jQuery’s $.ajax function, you can make any kind of HTTP request by passing an options object to Axios:

  method: 'post',
  url: '/login',
  data: {
    user: 'brunos',
    lastName: 'ilovenodejs'

Here, we’re telling Axios which HTTP method we’d like to use (e.g. GET/POST/DELETE etc.) and which URL the request should be made to.

We’re also providing some data to be sent along with the request in the form of a simple JavaScript object of key/value pairs. By default, Axios will serialize this as JSON and send it as the request body.

Request Options

There are a whole bunch of additional options you can pass when making a request, but here are the most common ones:

  • baseUrl: if you specify a base URL, it’ll be prepended to any relative URL you use.
  • headers: an object of key/value pairs to be sent as headers.
  • params: an object of key/value pairs that will be serialized and appended to the URL as a query string.
  • responseType: if you’re expecting a response in a format other than JSON, you can set this property to arraybuffer, blob, document, text, or stream.
  • auth: passing an object with username and password fields will use these credentials for HTTP Basic auth on the request.

Convenience methods

Also like jQuery, there are shortcut methods for performing different types of request.

The get, delete, head and options methods all take two arguments: a URL, and an optional config object.


The post, put, and patch methods take a data object as their second argument, and an optional config object as the third:
  { name: 'Waffle Iron', price: 21.50 },
  { options }

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