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Web developers and server administrators need many different tools in their toolkit, and a reliable HTTP client with an assortment of useful features is among them. In this article, we introduce the top 7 best HTTP clients for Mac in 2020.
HTTP clients are software applications that can send specific HTTP requests to a server. They capture the response sent by the server, allowing their users to examine the body and headers. This can be useful when troubleshooting and optimizing web applications, fixing server issues, and developing websites.
HTTP clients range from simple to feature-packed, and you should select one that meets all your needs without overwhelming you with options for which you have no use. Fortunately, there are many HTTP clients Mac users can choose from, and many of them are free and open-source.
Here’s our selection of the best five HTTP clients for Mac. We ranked the clients according to their popularity among Mac users, so the clients that are higher on the list aren’t necessarily better than those near the bottom.
Paw describes itself as the most advanced HTTP client for Mac, and we have no reason to doubt this claim. The application has so many features that most developers will never use them all, and that’s not a bad thing. It can, of course, compose HTTP requests and inspect server responses, but that’s just the tip of the huge iceberg that is Paw’s set of features.
Teams of developers can synchronize their API test configuration to effortlessly work on the same problem in a collaborative fashion, and they can also take advantage of the fact that Paw is fully compliant with Swagger and RAML descriptions.
Because of these and many other features, Paw is used by companies such as GitHub, Dropbox, Google, Slack, and Netflix, all of which rely on it to deliver products used by millions of people around the world. You can try this excellent HTTP client for Mac for 30 days without paying, and a single personal license costs €49.99. Students can get an attractive discount, and so can large customers who purchase multiple licenses at the same time.
Postman is more than a cut-and-dry HTTP client. It’s actually a collaboration platform for API development that’s geared toward developers who want to create reliable, bug-free APIs faster and with less effort. At the time of writing this article, Postman was used by around 11 million developers around the world, which says a lot about its popularity.
Even though Postman can do everything from automated testing to document generation to API health monitoring, many developers use it primarily to quickly send REST, SOAP, and GraphQL requests. There are many reasons why developers like Postman as an HTTP client, including the fact that it can easily turn API data into charts and graphs or the ability to access APIs no matter the authentication protocol behind them.
Given just how much Postman has to offer, you probably wouldn’t expect it to be free, but it actually is—well, sort of. Postman offers a free plan, but this plan includes only a handful of the most basic features. The plan most businesses use actually costs $24 per user per month when billed annually, but there’s also a cheaper team plan that provides a nice middle ground between the free plan and the business plan.
Do you spend so much time debugging APIs that you have developed insomnia? If so, you can think of Insomnia REST Client as a cure capable of optimizing your workflows and helping you design and debug APIs faster and more efficiently.
Here are some things Insomnia REST Client can do: create and group requests, specify environment variables, generate code snippets, get all the details on responses, create workspaces, folders, environments, generate a configuration for common API gateways, Sync your API designs with source control, and much more.
For these and other reasons, Insomnia REST Client is trusted by more than 800,000 developers, and you can start using it for free on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The free version includes all major features, and you can install it on as many computers as you want. To unlock additional features, you can pay as little as $5 per month or $50 per year for the Plus plan.
Advanced REST Client, or ARC for short, is an intuitive HTTP client that runs flawlessly on Mac and other operating systems. Its clean user interface makes it suitable for less experienced developers who wouldn’t be able to appreciate more advanced features. Still, there’s a lot that ARC can do, and we’re not talking just about basic functionality.
For example, ARC makes it possible to directly read documentation for RAML or OAS, view and compare request timings and the number of redirects, or create environments and variables to automate your development, just to give three examples.
If you don’t like the default look of ARC, you can switch to a different theme or create your own. In fact, you can customize everything about ARC because this HTTP client for Mac is open-source and free. ARC’s open-source license is also the reason why there’s such a thriving and welcoming community around it. Its core developers announce new versions of the client on their blog, and they listen to feature requests and are always quick to fix all discovered bugs.
Not everyone is looking or has a use for a standalone HTTP client. If you work with APIs frequently enough to need an HTTP client but not so much that you want to install it on your computer—let alone pay for it—then a web browser extension like RESTer can be a great solution.
This HTTP client runs in Google Chrome, and it lets you perform HTTP requests with any method, URL, body and custom headers, save favorite requests and organize them in collections, view a history of your requests, and more. RESTer doesn’t cost anything to download and use, but its developer works on it as if it were a paid software application, frequently releasing updates that fix bugs and add new features.
Other HTTP clients that you can install as web browser extensions include the free edition of Talend API Tester, RESTED, and Yet Another REST Client. Each of these HTTP client extensions offers the same basic functionality, but their approaches to working with APIs differ, so we recommend you try them all and pick the one you like the most.
A capable HTTP client is an important tool in the toolbox of every developer who spends a lot of time working with APIs, making it much easier to create custom HTTP requests and analyze server responses. In this article, we introduced the top 5 best HTTP clients that are available to Mac users in 2020, and all you need to do is download the one you like the most and start using it.