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Chapter 27. HTTP Client

Table of Contents

API Usage
Other Features


The Jetty HTTP client module provides easy-to-use APIs, utility classes and a high performance, asynchronous implementation to perform HTTP and HTTPS requests.

The Jetty HTTP client module requires Java version 1.7 or superior and it is Java 1.8 lambda compliant, that is, Java 1.8 applications can use lambda expressions in many of the HTTP client APIs.

Jetty HTTP client is implemented and offers an asynchronous API, that is a programming interface that never blocks for I/O events, thus making it very efficient in thread utilization and well suited for load testing and parallel computation.

However, sometimes all you need to do is to perform a GET request to a resource, and Jetty HTTP client offers also a synchronous API, that is a programming interface where the thread that issued the request blocks until the request/response conversation is complete.

Out of the box features that you get with the Jetty HTTP client are:

  • Redirect support; redirect codes such as 302 or 303 are automatically followed

  • Cookies support; cookies sent by servers are stored and sent back to servers in matching requests

  • Authentication support; HTTP "Basic" and "Digest" authentications are supported, others are pluggable

  • Forward proxy support


The main class is named, as in Jetty 7 and Jetty 8, org.eclipse.jetty.client.HttpClient (although it is not backward compatible with the same class in Jetty 7 and Jetty 8).

You can think of an HttpClient instance as a browser instance. Like a browser, it can make requests to different domains, it manages redirects, cookies and authentication, you can configure it with a proxy, and it provides you with the responses to the requests you make.

In order to use HttpClient, you must instantiate it, configure it, and then start it:

// Instantiate HttpClient
HttpClient httpClient = new HttpClient();

// Configure HttpClient, for example:

// Start HttpClient


You can create multiple instances of HttpClient; the reason to do this is that you want to specify different configuration parameters (for example, one instance is configured with a forward proxy while another is not), or because you want the two instances to behave like two different browsers and hence have different cookies, different authentication credentials and so on.

When you create a HttpClient instance using the parameterless constructor, you will only be able to perform plain HTTP requests, and you will not be able to perform HTTPS requests.

In order to perform HTTPS requests, you should create first a SslContextFactory, configure it, and pass it to HttpClient's constructor. When created with a SslContextFactory, the HttpClient will be able to perform both HTTP and HTTPS requests to any domain.

// Instantiate and configure the SslContextFactory
SslContextFactory sslContextFactory = new SslContextFactory();

// Instantiate HttpClient with the SslContextFactory
HttpClient httpClient = new HttpClient(sslContextFactory);

// Configure HttpClient, for example:

// Start HttpClient


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