Using Request objects

HTTP request messages

Request objects are all about building an HTTP message. Each part of an HTTP request message can be set individually using methods on the request object or set in bulk using the setUrl() method. Here’s the format of an HTTP request with each part of the request referencing the method used to change it:

PUT(a) /path(b)?query=123(c) HTTP/1.1(d)
X-Header(e): header
Content-Length(e): 4

  1. Method
The request method can only be set when instantiating a request
  1. Path
  1. Query
$request->getQuery()->set('query', '123');
  1. Protocol version
  1. Header
$request->setHeader('X-Header', 'header');
  1. Entity Body
$request->setBody('data'); // Only available with PUT, POST, PATCH, DELETE

Creating requests with a client

Client objects are responsible for creating HTTP request objects.

GET requests

GET requests are the most common form of HTTP requests. When you visit a website in your browser, the HTML of the website is downloaded using a GET request. GET requests are idempotent requests that are typically used to download content (an entity) identified by a request URL.

use Guzzle\Http\Client;

$client = new Client();

// Create a request that has a query string and an X-Foo header
$request = $client->get('', array('X-Foo' => 'Bar'));

// Send the request and get the response
$response = $request->send();

You can change where the body of a response is downloaded on any request using the $request->setResponseBody(string|EntityBodyInterface|resource) method of a request. You can also set the save_to option of a request:

// Send the response body to a file
$request = $client->get('', array(), array('save_to' => '/path/to/file'));

// Send the response body to an fopen resource
$request = $client->get('', array(), array('save_to' => fopen('/path/to/file', 'w')));

HEAD requests

HEAD requests work exactly like GET requests except that they do not actually download the response body (entity) of the response message. HEAD requests are useful for retrieving meta information about an entity identified by a Request-URI.

$client = new Guzzle\Http\Client();
$request = $client->head('');
$response = $request->send();
echo $response->getContentLength();
// >>> Will output the Content-Length header value

DELETE requests

A DELETE method requests that the origin server delete the resource identified by the Request-URI.

$client = new Guzzle\Http\Client();
$request = $client->delete('');
$response = $request->send();

POST requests

While POST requests can be used for a number of reasons, POST requests are often used when submitting HTML form data to a website. POST requests can include an entity body in the HTTP request.

POST requests in Guzzle are sent with an application/x-www-form-urlencoded Content-Type header if POST fields are present but no files are being sent in the POST. If files are specified in the POST request, then the Content-Type header will become multipart/form-data.

The post() method of a client object accepts four arguments: the URL, optional headers, post fields, and an array of request options. To send files in the POST request, prepend the @ symbol to the array value (just like you would if you were using the PHP curl_setopt function).

Here’s how to create a multipart/form-data POST request containing files and fields:

$request = $client->post('', array(), array(
    'custom_field' => 'my custom value',
    'file_field'   => '@/path/to/file.xml'

$response = $request->send();


Remember to always sanitize user input when sending POST requests:

// Prevent users from accessing sensitive files by sanitizing input
$_POST = array('firstname' => '@/etc/passwd');
$request = $client->post('', array(), array (
    'firstname' => str_replace('@', '', $_POST['firstname'])

You can alternatively build up the contents of a POST request.

$request = $client->post('')
    ->setPostField('custom_field', 'my custom value')
    ->addPostFile('file', '/path/to/file.xml');

$response = $request->send();

Raw POST data

POST requests can also contain raw POST data that is not related to HTML forms.

$request = $client->post('', array(), 'this is the body');
$response = $request->send();

You can set the body of POST request using the setBody() method of the Guzzle\Http\Message\EntityEnclosingRequest object. This method accepts a string, a resource returned from fopen, or a Guzzle\Http\EntityBodyInterface object.

$request = $client->post('');
// Set the body of the POST to stream the contents of /path/to/large_body.txt
$request->setBody(fopen('/path/to/large_body.txt', 'r'));
$response = $request->send();

PUT requests

The PUT method requests that the enclosed entity be stored under the supplied Request-URI. PUT requests are similar to POST requests in that they both can send an entity body in the request message.

The body of a PUT request (any any Guzzle\Http\Message\EntityEnclosingRequestInterface object) is always stored as a Guzzle\Http\Message\EntityBodyInterface object. This allows a great deal of flexibility when sending data to a remote server. For example, you can stream the contents of a stream returned by fopen, stream the contents of a callback function, or simply send a string of data.

$request = $client->put('', array(), 'this is the body');
$response = $request->send();

Just like with POST, PATH, and DELETE requests, you can set the body of a PUT request using the setBody() method.

$request = $client->put('');
$request->setBody(fopen('/path/to/large_body.txt', 'r'));
$response = $request->send();

PATCH requests

PATCH requests are used to modify a resource.

$request = $client->patch('', array(), 'this is the body');
$response = $request->send();

OPTIONS requests

The OPTIONS method represents a request for information about the communication options available on the request/response chain identified by the Request-URI.

$request = $client->options('');
$response = $request->send();

// Check if the PUT method is supported by this resource

Custom requests

You can create custom HTTP requests that use non-standard HTTP methods using the createRequest() method of a client object.

$request = $client->createRequest('COPY', '', array(
    'Destination' => '',
    'Overwrite'   => 'T'
$response = $request->send();

Query string parameters

Query string parameters of a request are owned by a request’s Guzzle\Http\Query object that is accessible by calling $request->getQuery(). The Query class extends from Guzzle\Common\Collection and allows you to set one or more query string parameters as key value pairs. You can set a parameter on a Query object using the set($key, $value) method or access the query string object like an associative array. Any previously specified value for a key will be overwritten when using set(). Use add($key, $value) to add a value to query string object, and in the event of a collision with an existing value at a specific key, the value will be converted to an array that contains all of the previously set values.

$request = new Guzzle\Http\Message\Request('GET', '');

$query = $request->getQuery();
echo "{$query}\n";
// >>> foo=bar&abc=123

echo "{$query}\n";
// >>> foo=bar

$query->set('foo', 'baz');
echo "{$query}\n";
// >>> foo=baz

$query->add('foo', 'bar');
echo "{$query}\n";
// >>> foo%5B0%5D=baz&foo%5B1%5D=bar

Whoah! What happened there? When foo=bar was added to the existing foo=baz query string parameter, the aggregator associated with the Query object was used to help convert multi-value query string parameters into a string. Let’s disable URL-encoding to better see what’s happening.

echo "{$query}\n";
// >>> foo[0]=baz&foo[1]=bar


URL encoding can be disabled by passing false, enabled by passing true, set to use RFC 1738 by passing Query::FORM_URLENCODED (internally uses PHP’s urlencode function), or set to RFC 3986 by passing Query::RFC_3986 (this is the default and internally uses PHP’s rawurlencode function).

As you can see, the multiple values were converted into query string parameters following the default PHP convention of adding numerically indexed square bracket suffixes to each key (foo[0]=baz&foo[1]=bar). The strategy used to convert multi-value parameters into a string can be customized using the setAggregator() method of the Query class. Guzzle ships with the following query string aggregators by default:

  1. Guzzle\Http\QueryAggregator\PhpAggregator: Aggregates using PHP style brackets (e.g. foo[0]=baz&foo[1]=bar)
  2. Guzzle\Http\QueryAggregator\DuplicateAggregator: Performs no aggregation and allows for key value pairs to be repeated in a URL (e.g. foo=baz&foo=bar)
  3. Guzzle\Http\QueryAggregator\CommaAggregator: Aggregates using commas (e.g. foo=baz,bar)

HTTP Message Headers

HTTP message headers are case insensitive, multiple occurrences of any header can be present in an HTTP message (whether it’s valid or not), and some servers require specific casing of particular headers. Because of this, request and response headers are stored in Guzzle\Http\Message\Header objects. The Header object can be cast as a string, counted, or iterated to retrieve each value from the header. Casting a Header object to a string will return all of the header values concatenated together using a glue string (typically ”, ”).

A request (and response) object have several methods that allow you to retrieve and modify headers.

  • getHeaders(): Get all of the headers of a message as a Guzzle\Http\Message\Header\HeaderCollection object.
  • getHeader($header): Get a specific header from a message. If the header exists, you’ll get a Guzzle\Http\Message\Header object. If the header does not exist, this methods returns null.
  • hasHeader($header): Returns true or false based on if the message has a particular header.
  • setHeader($header, $value): Set a header value and overwrite any previously set value for this header.
  • addHeader($header, $value): Add a header with a particular name. If a previous value was already set by the same, then the header will contain multiple values.
  • removeHeader($header): Remove a header by name from the message.
$request = new Request('GET', '');
// addHeader will set and append to any existing header values
$request->addHeader('Foo', 'bar');
$request->addHeader('foo', 'baz');
// setHeader overwrites any existing values
$request->setHeader('Test', '123');

// Request headers can be cast as a string
echo $request->getHeader('Foo');
// >>> bar, baz
echo $request->getHeader('Test');
// >>> 123

// You can count the number of headers of a particular case insensitive name
echo count($request->getHeader('foO'));
// >>> 2

// You can iterate over Header objects
foreach ($request->getHeader('foo') as $header) {
    echo $header . "\n";

// You can get all of the request headers as a Guzzle\Http\Message\Header\HeaderCollection object
$headers = $request->getHeaders();

// Missing headers return NULL
// >>> null

// You can see all of the different variations of a header by calling raw() on the Header

Setting the body of a request

Requests that can send a body (e.g. PUT, POST, DELETE, PATCH) are instances of Guzzle\Http\Message\EntityEnclosingRequestInterface. Entity enclosing requests contain several methods that allow you to specify the body to send with a request.

Use the setBody() method of a request to set the body that will be sent with a request. This method accepts a string, a resource returned by fopen(), an array, or an instance of Guzzle\Http\EntityBodyInterface. The body will then be streamed from the underlying EntityBodyInterface object owned by the request. When setting the body of the request, you can optionally specify a Content-Type header and whether or not to force the request to use chunked Transfer-Encoding.

$request = $client->put('/user.json');
$request->setBody('{"foo":"baz"}', 'application/json');

Content-Type header

Guzzle will automatically add a Content-Type header to a request if the Content-Type can be guessed based on the file extension of the payload being sent or the file extension present in the path of a request.

$request = $client->put('/user.json', array(), '{"foo":"bar"}');
// The Content-Type was guessed based on the path of the request
echo $request->getHeader('Content-Type');
// >>> application/json

$request = $client->put('/user.json');
$request->setBody(fopen('/tmp/user_data.json', 'r'));
// The Content-Type was guessed based on the path of the entity body
echo $request->getHeader('Content-Type');
// >>> application/json

Transfer-Encoding: chunked header

When sending HTTP requests that contain a payload, you must let the remote server know how to determine when the entire message has been sent. This usually is done by supplying a Content-Length header that tells the origin server the size of the body that is to be sent. In some cases, the size of the payload being sent in a request cannot be known before initiating the transfer. In these cases (when using HTTP/1.1), you can use the Transfer-Encoding: chunked header.

If the Content-Length cannot be determined (i.e. using a PHP http:// stream), then Guzzle will automatically add the Transfer-Encoding: chunked header to the request.

$request = $client->put('/user.json');
$request->setBody(fopen('', 'r'));

// The Content-Length could not be determined
echo $request->getHeader('Transfer-Encoding');
// >>> chunked

See /http-client/entity-bodies for more information on entity bodies.

Expect: 100-Continue header

The Expect: 100-Continue header is used to help a client prevent sending a large payload to a server that will reject the request. This allows clients to fail fast rather than waste bandwidth sending an erroneous payload. Guzzle will automatically add the Expect: 100-Continue header to a request when the size of the payload exceeds 1MB or if the body of the request is not seekable (this helps to prevent errors when a non-seekable body request is redirected).


If you find that your larger requests are taking too long to complete, you should first check if the Expect: 100-Continue header is being sent with the request. Some servers do not respond well to this header, which causes cURL to sleep for 1 second.

POST fields and files

Any entity enclosing request can send POST style fields and files. This includes POST, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE requests. Any request that has set POST fields or files will use cURL’s POST message functionality.

$request = $client->post('/post');
// Set an overwrite any previously specified value
$request->setPostField('foo', 'bar');
// Append a value to any existing values
$request->getPostFields()->add('foo', 'baz');
// Remove a POST field by name

// Add a file to upload (forces multipart/form-data)
$request->addPostFile('my_file', '/path/to/file', 'plain/text');
// Remove a POST file by POST key name


Adding a large number of POST fields to a POST request is faster if you use the addPostFields() method so that you can add and process multiple fields with a single call. Adding multiple POST files is also faster using addPostFiles().

Working with cookies

Cookies can be modified and retrieved from a request using the following methods:

$request->addCookie($name, $value);
$value = $request->getCookie($name);
$valueArray = $request->getCookies();

Use the cookie plugin if you need to reuse cookies between requests.

Changing where a response is downloaded

When a request is sent, the body of the response will be stored in a PHP temp stream by default. You can change the location in which the response will be downloaded using $request->setResponseBody($body) or the save_to request option. This can be useful for downloading the contents of a URL to a specific file.

Here’s an example of using request options:

$request = $this->client->get('', array(), array(
    'save_to' => '/tmp/'
// >>> true

Here’s an example of using setResponseBody():

$body = fopen('/tmp/', 'w');
$request = $this->client->get('');

// You can more easily specify the name of a file to save the contents
// of the response to by passing a string to ``setResponseBody()``.

$request = $this->client->get('');

Custom cURL options

Most of the functionality implemented in the libcurl bindings has been simplified and abstracted by Guzzle. Developers who need access to cURL specific functionality can still add cURL handle specific behavior to Guzzle HTTP requests by modifying the cURL options collection of a request:

$request->getCurlOptions()->set(CURLOPT_LOW_SPEED_LIMIT, 200);

Other special options that can be set in the curl.options array include:

debug Adds verbose cURL output to a temp stream owned by the cURL handle object
progress Instructs cURL to emit events when IO events occur. This allows you to be notified when bytes are transferred over the wire by subscribing to a request’s, curl.callback.write, and curl.callback.progress events.

Request options

Requests options can be specified when creating a request or in the request.options parameter of a client. These options can control various aspects of a request including: headers to send, query string data, where the response should be downloaded, proxies, auth, etc.

$request = $client->get($url, $headers, array('proxy' => ''));

See Request options for more information.

Working with errors

HTTP errors

Requests that receive a 4xx or 5xx response will throw a Guzzle\Http\Exception\BadResponseException. More specifically, 4xx errors throw a Guzzle\Http\Exception\ClientErrorResponseException, and 5xx errors throw a Guzzle\Http\Exception\ServerErrorResponseException. You can catch the specific exceptions or just catch the BadResponseException to deal with either type of error. Here’s an example of catching a generic BadResponseException:

try {
    $response = $client->get('/not_found.xml')->send();
} catch (Guzzle\Http\Exception\BadResponseException $e) {
    echo 'Uh oh! ' . $e->getMessage();
    echo 'HTTP request URL: ' . $e->getRequest()->getUrl() . "\n";
    echo 'HTTP request: ' . $e->getRequest() . "\n";
    echo 'HTTP response status: ' . $e->getResponse()->getStatusCode() . "\n";
    echo 'HTTP response: ' . $e->getResponse() . "\n";

Throwing an exception when a 4xx or 5xx response is encountered is the default behavior of Guzzle requests. This behavior can be overridden by adding an event listener with a higher priority than -255 that stops event propagation. You can subscribe to request.error to receive notifications any time an unsuccessful response is received.

You can change the response that will be associated with the request by calling setResponse() on the $event['request'] object passed into your listener, or by changing the $event['response'] value of the Guzzle\Common\Event object that is passed to your listener. Transparently changing the response associated with a request by modifying the event allows you to retry failed requests without complicating the code that uses the client. This might be useful for sending requests to a web service that has expiring auth tokens. When a response shows that your token has expired, you can get a new token, retry the request with the new token, and return the successful response to the user.

Here’s an example of retrying a request using updated authorization credentials when a 401 response is received, overriding the response of the original request with the new response, and still allowing the default exception behavior to be called when other non-200 response status codes are encountered:

// Add custom error handling to any request created by this client
$client->getEventDispatcher()->addListener('request.error', function(Event $event) {

    if ($event['response']->getStatusCode() == 401) {

        $newRequest = $event['request']->clone();
        $newRequest->setHeader('X-Auth-Header', MyApplication::getNewAuthToken());
        $newResponse = $newRequest->send();

        // Set the response object of the request without firing more events
        $event['response'] = $newResponse;

        // You can also change the response and fire the normal chain of
        // events by calling $event['request']->setResponse($newResponse);

        // Stop other events from firing when you override 401 responses


cURL errors

Connection problems and cURL specific errors can also occur when transferring requests using Guzzle. When Guzzle encounters cURL specific errors while transferring a single request, a Guzzle\Http\Exception\CurlException is thrown with an informative error message and access to the cURL error message.

A Guzzle\Http\Exception\MultiTransferException exception is thrown when a cURL specific error occurs while transferring multiple requests in parallel. You can then iterate over all of the exceptions encountered during the transfer.

Plugins and events

Guzzle request objects expose various events that allow you to hook in custom logic. A request object owns a Symfony\Component\EventDispatcher\EventDispatcher object that can be accessed by calling $request->getEventDispatcher(). You can use the event dispatcher to add listeners (a simple callback function) or event subscribers (classes that listen to specific events of a dispatcher). You can add event subscribers to a request directly by just calling $request->addSubscriber($mySubscriber);.

Events emitted from a request

A Guzzle\Http\Message\Request and Guzzle\Http\Message\EntityEnclosingRequest object emit the following events:

Event name Description Event data
request.before_send About to send request
  • request: Request to be sent
request.sent Sent the request
  • request: Request that was sent
  • response: Received response
request.complete Completed a full HTTP transaction
  • request: Request that was sent
  • response: Received response
request.success Completed a successful request
  • request: Request that was sent
  • response: Received response
request.error Completed an unsuccessful request
  • request: Request that was sent
  • response: Received response
request.exception An unsuccessful response was received.
  • request: Request
  • response: Received response
  • exception: BadResponseException
request.receive.status_line Received the start of a response
  • line: Full response start line
  • status_code: Status code
  • reason_phrase: Reason phrase
  • previous_response: (e.g. redirect)
curl.callback.progress cURL progress event (only dispatched when emit_io is set on a request’s curl options)
  • handle: CurlHandle
  • download_size: Total download size
  • downloaded: Bytes downloaded
  • upload_size: Total upload bytes
  • uploaded: Bytes uploaded
curl.callback.write cURL event called when data is written to an outgoing stream
  • request: Request
  • write: Data being written cURL event called when data is written to an incoming stream
  • request: Request
  • read: Data being read

Creating a request event listener

Here’s an example that listens to the request.complete event of a request and prints the request and response.

use Guzzle\Common\Event;

$request = $client->get('');

// Echo out the response that was received
$request->getEventDispatcher()->addListener('request.complete', function (Event $e) {
    echo $e['request'] . "\n\n";
    echo $e['response'];