IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3 Help

HTTP client in IntelliJ IDEA code editor

When testing a web service, you can create, edit, and execute HTTP Requests directly in the IntelliJ IDEA code editor.

HTTP Requests are stored in .http and .rest files and are marked with the HTTP file icon icon.

Support for HTTP files includes the following features:

Before you begin, configure the Proxy settings on the HTTP Proxy page of the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S if necessary.

Creating HTTP request files

You can work with HTTP requests either from scratch files or from physical files of the HTTP Request type. Each file can contain multiple requests, and you can create as many files as needed.

Scratch files can be used to test HTTP requests during development. Scratch files are not stored inside a project, so IntelliJ IDEA can modify them and add additional information about the request. When an HTTP request is executed from a scratch file, the link to the response output file is added below the request and at the top of the requests history file.

Create an HTTP request scratch file

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Insert and select HTTP Request.

Physical files can be used for documenting, testing, and validating HTTP requests. Physical files are stored inside your project, and IntelliJ IDEA will not modify them. When an HTTP request is executed from a physical file, this file is not modified. Information about the executed request with the link to the response output file is added to the top of the requests history file.

Create a physical HTTP request file

  • In the File menu, point to New, and then click HTTP Request.

You can use the Move refactoring F6 to move HTTP requests from scratches to physical files, as well as between physical files.

Move an HTTP request

  1. In the editor, position the caret at the request to be moved and do one of the following:

    • From the main menu or the context menu, choose Refactor | Move.

    • Press F6.

  2. In the dialog that opens, click the Browse button to select the file or type the full path to the file you want to move the request to. Note that you can specify the name of a non-existing file, in which case a new file with the provided name will be created automatically.

Composing HTTP requests

IntelliJ IDEA uses the HTTP request in Editor format, which provides a simple way to create, execute, and store information about HTTP requests. You can type them directly in the created HTTP request files using the following general syntax:

Method Request-URI HTTP-Version Header-field: Header-value Request-Body

To speed up composing HTTP requests, click the Add request shortcut link on top of the request's editor panel. In the popup menu, choose the type of the request to add.

Add an HTTP request

Alternatively, use live templates. In the editor, you can press Ctrl+J to view the list of available templates. For example, gtr expands to a simple GET request; mptr expands to a multipart/form-data POST request.

To get an overview of the HTTP Client possibilities, you can explore the HTTP Requests Collection, which is a handful selection of composed requests.

Open a request from the HTTP Requests Collection

  1. Click the Examples shortcut link on top of the request's editor panel.

  2. In the popup menu, choose the HTTP Requests collection you wish to open:

    Open HTTP Requests Collection popup

Converting cURL requests

If you are working with cURL requests, you can convert them into the HTTP request in Editor format.

  • Paste the cURL request into an .http file, and it will be converted on the fly.

  • Alternatively, click the Convert from cURL shortcut link on top of the request's editor panel or select Tools | HTTP Client | Convert cURL to HTTP Request from the main menu.

    In the dialog that opens, provide the cURL request.

    the Convert cURL to HTTP Request dialog

    When you click Convert, a new scratch file with the converted request will be created and opened in the editor.

Consider the example request:

curl '' -H 'Connection: keep-alive' -H 'Accept: text/html' -H 'Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate' -H 'Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.9,es;q=0.8'

Upon conversion, this request will look as follows:

GET Connection: keep-alive Accept: text/html Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.9,es;q=0.8

The following cURL options are supported:



-X, --request

The request method to use.

-H, --header

The request header to include in the request.

-u, --user

The user's credentials to be provided with the request, and the authorization method to use.

-d, --data, --data-ascii

The data to be sent in a POST request.

-F, --form

The multipart/form-data message to be sent in a POST request.


The URL to fetch (mostly used when specifying URLs in a config file).

-i, --include

Defines whether the HTTP response headers are included in the output.

-v, --verbose

Enables the verbose operating mode.

-L, --location

Enables resending the request in case the requested page has moved to a different location.

Using variables

When composing an HTTP request, you can parametrize its elements by using variables. A variable can hold the values for the request's host, port, and path, query parameter or value, header value, or arbitrary values used inside the request body or in an external file.

To provide the variable inside the request, enclose it in double curly braces as {{variable}}. The variable name may only contain letters, digits, the underscore symbols _, or the hyphen symbols -.

The variables' values can be any of the following:

Dynamic variables

Dynamic variables generate a value each time you run a request:

  • $uuid: generates a universally unique identifier (UUID-v4)

  • $timestamp: generates the current UNIX timestamp

  • $randomInt: generates a random integer between 0 and 1000.

For example:

GET http://localhost/api/get?id={{$uuid}}

Environment variables

Environment variables let you store a set of environment definitions inside your project. For example, you can create and use the {{host}} variable instead of providing the hostname in your request explicitly. When you execute the request, you can choose between defined environments and thus send it to a specific host:

Run request: select environment

The selected environment will be used as the default one when Viewing a structure of the request and opening the request in the browser or creating a run/debug configuration for it.

Define environment variables

Environment variables are defined in the environment files.

  1. Inside the project, create the following files:

    • The rest-client.env.json (or http-client.env.json) is a regular file that contains common variables and is meant to be distributed together with your project.

    • The rest-client.private.env.json (or http-client.private.env.json) is a private file that might include passwords, tokens, certificates, and other sensitive information. This file is added to the list of VCS ignored files by default. The values of variables that are specified in the http-client.private.env.json file override values in the environment file.

  2. Populate the created files with the desired variables.

    The following sample http-client.env.json environment file defines two environments: development and production. The additional http-client.private.env.json file holds the sensitive authorization data.

    { "development": { "host": "localhost", "id-value": 12345, "username": "", "password": "", "my-var": "my-dev-value" }, "production": { "host": "", "id-value": 6789, "username": "", "password": "", "my-var": "my-prod-value" } }
    { "development": { "username": "dev-user", "password": "dev-password" }, "production": { "username": "user", "password": "password" } }

    The example HTTP request is as follows:

    GET http://{{host}}/api/json/get?id={{id-value}}&key={{unresolved_var}} Authorization: Basic {{username}} {{password}} Content-Type: application/json { "key": {{my-var}} }

    When you execute the above request, IntelliJ IDEA provides a choice between the defined execution environments:


    Depending on your choice, the resulting request will be one of the following:

    GET http://localhost/api/json/get?id=12345&key={{unresolved_var}} Authorization: Basic dev-user dev-password Content-Type: application/json { "key": "my-dev-value" }
    GET{{unresolved_var}} Authorization: Basic user password Content-Type: application/json { "key": "my-prod-value" }

    Since the {{unresolved-var}} variable is not defined in the environment file, IntelliJ IDEA will send the {{unresolved-var}} text as part of the request in both cases.

Using response handler scripts

With response handler scripts, you can programmatically react to a received HTTP response. By using these scripts, you can automatically process the received data as well as validate it against the conditions that you specify. Response handler scripts are provided as a part of the request within the HTTP request file and are executed as soon as a response is received. To view the response handling examples, open the auth-requests or test-responses requests collections.

You can insert a response handler script into your request either in-place or by referring to an external file.

Insert the script into the request

  • To insert the script in-place, prepend it with > and enclose it in {% %}:

    GET host/api/test > {% // Response Handler Script ... %}
  • To insert the script from an external file, prepend it with >:

    GET host/api/test > scripts/my-script.js

Response handler scripts are written in JavaScript ECMAScript 5.1, with coding assistance and documentation handled by the bundled HTTP Response Handler library. For in-place scripts, this functionality is enabled automatically. For external scripts, you need to enable it manually.

Enable JavaScript coding assistance for response handler scripts

  1. Open the script file in the editor.

  2. In the context menu, choose Use JavaScript Library | HTTP Response Handler.

The HTTP Response Handler library exposes two objects to be used for composing response handler scripts:

  • The client object stores the session metadata, which can be modified inside the script. The client state is preserved until you close IntelliJ IDEA. Every variable saved in as variable_name is accessible to subsequent HTTP requests as {{variable_name}}.

  • response holds information about the received response: its content type, status, response body, and so on.

To open the HTTP Response Handler library in the editor, position the caret at the library object and press Ctrl+B.

Response handler scripts can include tests, which lets you use the HTTP Client as a testing framework. To create a test, invoke the client.test(testName, function) method. Inside the test, you can assert a condition by invoking the client.assert(condition, message) method, for example:

GET > {% client.test("Request executed successfully", function() { client.assert(response.status === 200, "Response status is not 200"); }); %}

Executing HTTP requests

  1. If you are going to test your own web service, make sure it is deployed and running.

  2. Do any of the following:

    • In the editor, click The Run button in the gutter next to the request you want to execute. From the list, select Run <request name>.

    • In the editor, select Run <request name> from the request's context menu.

    • Position the caret at the request you want to execute, press Alt+Enter and select the Run <request name> intention action.

    • If you have multiple HTTP requests defined in an .http file, you can run all of them sequentially. To do this, use the corresponding Run All Requests in File shortcut link on top of the request's editor panel.

    When the request is executed, IntelliJ IDEA automatically creates a dedicated temporary HTTP Request run/debug configuration for it. You can save it as a permanent run/debug configuration if necessary.

Open a request in the browser

You can open an HTTP request in the browser specified on the Web Browsers page of the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S.

  • Position the caret at the request first line and choose View | Jump to Source from the main menu, or press Ctrl+B or F4.

  • Ctrl+Click the request line:


Working with HTTP Request Run/Debug Configurations

You can execute HTTP requests by using run configurations of the HTTP Request type. With the run configuration, you can execute a request at any point, add it to the Services tool window, or a compound configuration.

Refer to Working with Run/Debug Configurations for details.

Create an HTTP Request run/debug configuration

  1. Do any of the following:

    • In the editor, select Create <configuration name> from the context menu of the request you want to create a run/debug configuration for.

      Create a run configuration from the editor
    • Alternatively, choose Run | Edit Configurations from the main menu, then click Add icon and choose HTTP Request from the list.

  2. Provide the run/debug configuration parameters:

    • In the Environment list, select an environment that will define the set of environment variables used in the request.

    • In the File field, provide the path to the HTTP request file. You can type the path manually and use path completion Ctrl+Space as you type, or click Open from disk and select the required folder in the dialog that opens.

    • If your request file contains multiple requests, in the Request list choose the index of the request to execute.

When you execute an HTTP request from the editor, IntelliJ IDEA automatically creates a temporary run/debug configuration with the request parameters. A temporary run/debug configuration works the same way as a permanent run/debug configuration. You can change its settings using the Run/Debug Configuration dialog and optionally save it as permanent.

Save a temporary HTTP Request run/debug configuration

  • In the Run/Debug Configuration selector, choose Save <configuration name>.

  • In the Run/Debug Configuration dialog, select the configuration and click the Save button.

  • In the editor, select Save <configuration name> from the context menu of the executed request.

    Save a temporary run configuration

Execute a request using a run/debug configuration

  • In the Run/Debug Configuration selector, select the desired run configuration. Then click Run button on the main toolbar or press Shift+F10.

  • Press Shift+Alt+F10, select the desired run configuration from the list, and press Enter.

    Run configuration popup

Viewing responses from web services

When you execute an HTTP request, IntelliJ IDEA automatically saves the response into a separate file under the .idea/httpRequests/ directory. You can view the 50 most recently stored responses and navigate to the corresponding files using the requests history. If the request was executed from a scratch file, the link to its response output is also added below the original request:

HTTP Response

The cookies received through a response are automatically saved into the dedicated http-client.cookies file under the .idea/httpRequests/ directory. The number of cookies that can be saved is limited to 300. The name and value of a cookie are automatically included in each subsequent request to the URL that matches the domain and path specified for the cookie, provided that the expiry date has not been reached.

the http-cookies file

View a received response

  1. Switch to the Run tool window, which opens automatically as soon as a response is received.

  2. By default, the server response is shown in the format specified in the request header via the content-type field. To have the response converted into another format, click View as HTML The View as HTML button, View as XML The View as XML button, or View as JSON The View as JSON button.

  3. The results of the tests executed as part of a response handler script, if any, are displayed on the Tests tab of the Run tool window.

    The Tests tab of the Run tool window

Open a response file in the editor

  • Position the caret at the link to the response you want to open, and choose View | Jump to Source from the main menu, or press Ctrl+B or F4.

  • Ctrl+Click the response line:

    Open the response tooltip

Compare responses in a scratch file

When a request is executed from a scratch file, the link to the response output file is added below the original request.

  • Do any of the following:

    • Position the caret at the link to the response file. Press Alt+Enter and select the Compare with <response name> intention action.

    • Click Compare responses in the gutter and select Compare with <response name> from the list:


Compare responses in the requests history

When a request is executed from a physical file, the link to the response output is added to the requests history.

  1. Position the caret at the link to the response file. Choose View | Jump to Source from the main menu, or press Ctrl+B or F4 to open this file in a new editor tab.

  2. Choose View | Compare with... from the main menu, or press Ctrl+D. IntelliJ IDEA will prompt you to open a response file from the httpRequests folder.

  3. Select the response file you would like to compare the current file with and click Open.

The two response files will be opened in the Differences viewer allowing you to compare their contents:


Viewing requests history

IntelliJ IDEA automatically saves the 50 recently executed requests into the http-requests-log.http file, which is stored on the project level under the .idea/httpRequests/ directory. With requests history, you can quickly navigate to a particular response as well as issue any request again. If a request is issued again from the requests history, its execution information and the link to the response output are added to the top of the requests history file.

Open requests history

  • Click the Open Log shortcut link on top of the request's editor panel.

  • Select Tools | HTTP Client | Show HTTP Requests History from the main menu.

Requests history

Configuring proxy settings

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, choose System Settings under Appearance & Behavior, then choose HTTP Proxy.

  2. In the Proxy dialog that opens, select Manual proxy configuration and specify the following:

    • Enter the proxy host name and port number in the Host name and Port number fields.

    • To enable authorization, select the Proxy authentication checkbox and type the username and password in the corresponding fields.

Last modified: 26 April 2020