Ashutosh Singh Ashutosh is a JavaScript developer and a technical writer. He writes about the fundamentals of JavaScript, Node.js, React, Next, Vue, and tutorials on building projects.

Understanding Axios GET requests

10 min read 2956

Introduction

As a developer, you will be required to work with APIs, whether internal or third party. They are needed to bring different applications and services together to build a well-defined application.

Communicating with APIs effectively is an essential factor in your application’s performance, scalability, and reliability. Over the years, Axios has become the most common and popular HTTP client, and with over 90k stars on GitHub, it has one of the largest developer communities behind it.

In this article, we will learn how to make GET requests in Axios. I will demonstrate how you can use Axios GET to make requests to public APIs like The Rick and Morty API and Final Space API, and how you can make concurrent GET requests and handle errors.

If you want to jump right into the code, check out the GitHub repo here.

Prerequisites

  • Working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Node.js and npm installed on your local dev machine
  • Any code editor of your choice

What is Axios?

Axios is a Promise-based HTTP client for the browser and Node. Let’s break down this definition to understand what Axios does.

First, HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is a client-server protocol for fetching resources such as HTML documents.

“Client” is the user-agent that acts on behalf of the user, and initiates the requests for resources. Web browsers such as Google Chrome are a popular example of a client. A Promise-based client returns promises.

Axios is isomorphic, which means it can run in the browser and Node.js with the same code. When used on the server side, it uses Node’s native http module, whereas, on the client side, it uses XMLHttpRequests. On the client side, Axios also supports protection against XSRF.

What is the Axios GET method?

An HTTP GET request is used to request a specified resource from a server. These requests do not contain any payload with them, i.e., the request doesn’t have any content. Axios GET is the method to make HTTP GET requests using the Axios library.

How to install Axios in a Node.js project

In this section, we will create the sample app that uses Axios to fetch data using the GET request.



To begin, run the following command in the terminal:

mkdir axios-get-examples
cd axios-get-examples
npm init -y
npm install axios

The command npm init -y creates a package.json similar to the one below in your project’s folder:

{
  "name": "axios-get-examples",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  },
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC"
}

The last command, npm install axios, installs the axios package as a dependency in your project. There will be a new package-lock.json file and a node_modules folder in the project folder.

The package.json file will also update and will look similar to this:

{
  "name": "axios-get-examples",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  },
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "axios": "^0.25.0"
  }
}

You can also install axios using yarn or bower, like so:

// Yarn 
yarn add axios
// Bower
bower install axios

Next, create a file named index.js where you will write the code to fetch resources using the GET requests. Run the following command in the project’s root to create the index.js file:

touch index.js

Installing Nodemon

Run the following command in your project’s root directory to install nodemon as a dev dependency. Nodemon is an excellent local development tool that automatically restarts the Node application whenever it detects a file change in the directory:

npm install -D nodemon

Modify "scripts" in your package.json, like this:

"scripts": {
    "start": "node index.js",
    "dev": "nodemon index.js"
  },

Your package.json should look like this:


More great articles from LogRocket:


{
  "name": "axios-get-examples",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "node index.js",
    "dev": "nodemon index.js"
  },
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "axios": "^0.25.0"
  },
  "devDependencies": {
    "nodemon": "^2.0.15"
  }
}

Run the following command to start your Node application:

npm run dev

You’ll see the following message in your terminal once it has started:

> [email protected] dev
> nodemon index.js

[nodemon] 2.0.15
[nodemon] to restart at any time, enter `rs`
[nodemon] watching path(s): *.*
[nodemon] watching extensions: js,mjs,json
[nodemon] starting `node index.js`
[nodemon] clean exit - waiting for changes before restart

Update the index.js file to include the following code:

// index.js
console.log('Hello World!');

You will notice that nodemon detects the file change, restarts the application, and shows the following message in the terminal:

Hello World!
[nodemon] clean exit - waiting for changes before restart

Finally, you can remove the console.log() code from the index.js file.

How to make GET requests using Axios

In this section, we will see how to import and use Axios to make GET requests to the Final Space API in order to fetch data.

Update the index.js file to import the axios package using the require function. Node follows the CommonJS module system, and you can use modules present in separate files using the inbuilt require function:

const axios = require('axios');

Now, you can use axios.<method> to initiate any request, such as a GET request.

Add the following code to the index.file. The following code fetched two characters from the Final Space API Characters endpoint:

// Axios GET Default
axios
  .get("https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?limit=2")
  .then(function (response) {
    console.log(response);
  });

You will see a lengthy response in the terminal similar to this (the following response is truncated):

 {
  "status": 200,
  "statusText": "OK",
  "headers": {
    "server": "nginx/1.18.0 (Ubuntu)",
    "date": "Sat, 22 Jan 2022 09:38:29 GMT",
    "content-type": "application/json; charset=utf-8",
    "content-length": "2754"
  },
  "config": {
    "transitional": {
      "silentJSONParsing": true,
      "forcedJSONParsing": true,
      "clarifyTimeoutError": false
    },
    "headers": {
      "Accept": "application/json, text/plain, */*",
      "User-Agent": "axios/0.25.0"
    },
    "method": "get",
    "url": "https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?limit=2",
    "data": undefined
  },
  "data": [
    {
      "id": 1,
      "name": "Gary Goodspeed",
      "status": "Alive",
      "species": "Human",
      "gender": "Male",
      "hair": "Blonde",
      "alias": [
        "The Gary (by Lord Commander and Invictus)",
        "Thunder Bandit(code name)"
      ],
      "origin": "Earth",
      "abilities": [
        "Piloting",
        "Marksmanship",
        "Hand-to-hand combat",
        "Weapons: Blasters"
      ],
      "img_url": "https://finalspaceapi.com/api/character/avatar/gary_goodspeed.png"
    },
    {
      "id": 2,
      "name": "Mooncake",
      "status": "Unknown",
      "species": "Mooncake's Species",
      "gender": "None (referred to as male)",
      "hair": "None",
      "alias": ["Specimen E - 351", "Little Buddy"],
      "origin": "Outer space",
      "abilities": ["Hovering", "Firing Laser Beams", "Planetary Destruction"],
      "img_url": "https://finalspaceapi.com/api/character/avatar/mooncake.jpg"
    }
  ]
}

The above implementation of axios.get() is the default and most popular way to make a GET request in the codebase.

Axios also provides shorthand methods for performing different requests, like so:

axios.request(config)
axios.get(url[, config]) 

Here, you pass a request object with the necessary configuration of the request as the argument to the axios.get() method. While there are several options that you can pass to this request object, here are the most common and popular ones:

  • baseUrl – When specified, this baseUrl is prepended to url unless the url is absolute
  • headers – An object with custom headers to be sent with the requestor, like headers: {'X-Requested-With': 'XMLHttpRequest'},
  • params – An object whose key/value pairs are appended to the url as query strings
  • auth – An object with a username and password to authenticate an HTTP Basic auth request

The above Axios request can be rewritten as the following:

// Using the Request Config
axios({
  method: "get",
  url: "https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?limit=2",
}).then(function (response) {
  console.log(response.data);
});

This object must include the url property to fetch the data. Requests default to the GET request when the method property is not specified.

You can also pass a responseType option, which indicates the type of data that will be returned by the server to the request config object (set to json by default).

For example, you can rewrite the above code like so:

// Using the Request Config
axios
  .get("https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?limit=2", {
    responseType: "json",
  })
  .then(function (response) {
    console.log(response.data);
  });

The responseType option can be set to arraybuffer, document, blob, text, or stream. It is essential to set the responseType option when the returned response or data is not in JSON format.

For example, the following code fetches a nature image from Unsplash as a Node stream. You can then use the createWriteStream() of the inbuilt fs module and write the fetched stream in a file.

The following code creates a file named nature.jpg in your project folder:

// Axios with responseType - stream
// GET request for remote image in node.js
const fs = require('fs');
axios({
    method: 'get',
    url: 'https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1642291555390-6a149527b1fa',
    responseType: 'stream'
  })
    .then(function (response) {
        // console.log(response.data.pipe);
      response.data.pipe(fs.createWriteStream('nature.jpg'))
    });

You can also use the popular async/await instead of promises. For example, you can rewrite the above code by placing it inside an async function:

// Using Asyc/Await
async function getCharacters() {
  const response = await axios.get(
    "https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?limit=2"
  );
  console.log(response.data);
}
getCharacters();

Finally, you can get the data from the response body using destructuring assignments:

async function getCharacters() {
  const { data } = await axios.get(
    "https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?limit=2"
  );
  console.log(data);
}
getCharacters();

How to make Axios GET requests with query parameters

In this section, we will learn how to make Axios GET requests with query parameters.

First, add the following code to the index.js file:

// Axios GET Query Parameters
const url = require("url");
const queryParams = {
  limit: 1,
  sort: "desc",
};
const params = new url.URLSearchParams(queryParams);
console.log(params);
axios
  .get(`https://finalspaceapi.com/api/v0/character/?${params}`)
  .then(function (response) {
    console.log(response.data);
  });

In the code above, we use the URLSearchParams method from the url module to convert an object with query parameters as key/value pairs in the required URL query format.

Here is what the params will look like:

URLSearchParams { 'limit' => '1', 'sort' => 'desc' }

And here is what the returned data looks like:

[
  {
    id: 47,
    name: 'Zargon Tukalishi',
    status: 'Deceased',
    species: 'Unknown',
    gender: 'Male',
    hair: 'None',
    alias: [],
    origin: 'Yarno',
    abilities: [],
    img_url: 'https://finalspaceapi.com/api/character/avatar/zargon_tukalishi.jpg'
  }
]

How to make Axios GET requests with an API key

One often needs to authenticate requests by passing an API key along with the request. In this section, we will learn how to use an API key with Axios to make requests. We will use the NASA API as an example.

First, navigate to https://api.nasa.gov/ in the browser and fill the required fields to generate an API key.

Generate API key page in the NASA API

Click on the Signup button. On the next page, your API key will be shown to you.

generated key from the NASA API

The API keys should be kept hidden from the public and stored as environment variables inside a .env file. dotenv is a popular npm library used to load environment variables from the .env file.

Run the following command to install the dotenv package:

npm install dotenv

Next, create a new file named .env by running the following command:

touch .env

Paste the NASA API key into the .env file as shown below:

NASA_API_KEY = IqIxEkPjdl1Dnl9mjTKU6zTZD0

Now, add the following code to the index.js file to fetch data from the NASA API:

// Using with API Key
require("dotenv").config();
axios
  .get(
    `https://api.nasa.gov/planetary/apod?api_key=${process.env.NASA_API_KEY}`
  )
  .then((response) => {
    console.log(response.data);
  });

In the above code, we import the dotenv package and use the API key in the URL as a query parameter.

You will need to restart your application, so hit CTRL+C in the terminal and run the command npm run dev to start the Node application.

You will see a response similar to this from the NASA API:

{
  copyright: 'Elena Pinna',
  date: '2022-01-22',
  explanation: "On Monday, January's Full Moon rose as the Sun set. Spotted near the eastern horizon, its warm hues are seen in this photo taken near Cagliari, capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia. Of course the familiar patterns of light and dark across the Moon's nearside are created by bright rugged highlands and dark smooth lunar maria. Traditionally the patterns are seen as pareidolia, giving the visual illusion of a human face like the Man in the Moon, or familiar animal like the Moon rabbit. But for a moment the swarming murmuration, also known as a flock of starlings, frozen in the snapshot's field of view lends another pareidolic element to the scene. Some see the graceful figure of a dancer enchanted by moonlight.",
  hdurl: 'https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/2201/IMG_4039copia2_2048.jpg',
  media_type: 'image',
  service_version: 'v1',
  title: 'The Full Moon and the Dancer',
  url: 'https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/2201/IMG_4039copia2_1024.jpg'
}

You can also use the params option of the request config to make the same request:

// With API Key and params option
require("dotenv").config();
axios({
  method: "get",
  url: `https://api.nasa.gov/planetary/apod`,
  params: {
    api_key: process.env.NASA_API_KEY,
  },
}).then((response) => {
  console.log(response.data);
});

You can also authenticate requests with other HTTP authentication methods like Bearer authentication by passing the Bearer Token in the Authorization header. For example:

// Using Authorization Header
axios({
  method: "get",
  url: "<ENDPOINT>",
  headers: {
    Authorization: `Bearer ${process.env.TOKEN}`,
  },
}).then((response) => {
  console.log(response.data);
});

How to make concurrent requests with Axios

You may need to make concurrent requests to multiple endpoints. In this section, we will learn how you can use the axios.all() method to make multiple requests

To begin, add the following code to the index.js file:

// Axios.all()
const endpoints = [
  "https://rickandmortyapi.com/api/character",
  "https://www.breakingbadapi.com/api/characters",
  "https://www.breakingbadapi.com/api/episodes",
  "https://www.breakingbadapi.com/api/quotes",
];
axios.all(endpoints.map((endpoint) => axios.get(endpoint))).then((allResponses) => {
    allResponses.forEach((response) => {
    console.log(response.data);
  });
});

Here, we pass an array of axios.get() requests in the axios.all() method, then map over the endpoints array to create an array of axios.get() requests, which is then resolved by the axios.all() method.

The response order is the same as the order of the requests in the axios.all() method:

{info: Object, results: Array(20)}
(62) [Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, …]
 (102) [Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, …]
[Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, Object, …]

Error handling in Axios

In this section, we will discuss how to handle errors with Axios. The most common way is to chain a .catch() method with the axios.get() to catch any errors that may occur.

Add the following code to the index.js file:

axios
  .get("https://rickandmortyapi.com/api/character/-1")
  .then((response) => {
    console.log(response.data);
  })
  .catch((error) => {
    console.error(error);
  });

In the code above, we are trying to fetch a character from The Rick and Morty API whose id is -1, and because there is no such character with a negative id, this request will result in an error.

The above catch block consoles any error that may occur. This error object is quite large, and you may not always display everything, so you can be selective about what to log to the error message.

You can also handle errors based on their types. Add the following code to the index.js file:

// Error Handling - Error Specific
axios
  .get("https://rickandmortyapi.com/api/character/-1")
  .then((response) => {
    console.log(response.data);
  })
  .catch((error) => {
    if (error.response) {
      console.error(error.response.data);
      console.error(error.response.status);
      console.error(error.response.headers);
    } else if (error.request) {
      console.error(error.request);
    } else {
      console.error("Error", error.message);
    }
  });

If the error occurred on the server side, then the error object will contain a response property that can be used to access the error’s status, headers, and other details.

If the request was made and no response was received, then the error object will contain the request property XMLHttpRequest in the browser, and an instance of http.ClientRequest in Node.

If an error occurred while making the request, then error.message will indicate such errors.

Because the error in the above code occurred on the server side, the error object will have a response property, and the following message will be seen in the terminal:

{ error: 'Character not found' }
404
{
  'access-control-allow-origin': '*',
  'content-length': '31',
  'content-type': 'application/json; charset=utf-8',
  date: 'Sat, 22 Jan 2022 11:27:05 GMT',
  etag: 'W/"1f-t9l5xVmJZaPHJIukjZQ7Mw4gpG8"',
  server: 'Netlify',
  age: '0',
  'x-nf-request-id': '01FT0RMCAKMA5BWJ8SMHAJ3RVC',
  'x-powered-by': 'Express'
}

You can also throw an error by using the validateStatus request config option. For example:

// Error Handling with validateStatus option
axios
  .get("https://rickandmortyapi.com/api/character/-1", {
    validateStatus: function (status) {
      return status < 500; // Reject only if the status code is less than 500
    },
  })
  .then((response) => {
    console.log(response.data);
  });

This option will throw an error when the response’s status satisfies the condition in it. You will see a message similar to this in the terminal:

{ error: 'Character not found' }

How to make HEAD requests with Axios

A HEAD request is a GET request without a message body. You can create a HEAD request with the axios.head method. The data property in the response object will be empty with such requests.

For example:

// Axios Head Request
axios.head("https://rickandmortyapi.com/api/character/1").then((response) => {
  console.log(
    `Status: ${response.status} - Server: ${response.headers.server} - Data: ${response.data}`
  );
});

Here is the message you will see in the terminal:

Status: 200 - Server: Netlify - Data: 

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed what Axios is and how can you use it to make GET requests. We also learned how to make concurrent requests, handle errors, and make HEAD requests.

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.
Ashutosh Singh Ashutosh is a JavaScript developer and a technical writer. He writes about the fundamentals of JavaScript, Node.js, React, Next, Vue, and tutorials on building projects.

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