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Version: 9.3.12.v20160915
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Chapter 22. HTTP Client

Table of Contents

API Usage
Cookies Support
Authentication Support
Proxy Support
Pluggable Transports


The Jetty HTTP client module provides easy-to-use APIs and utility classes to perform HTTP (or HTTPS) requests.

Jetty’s HTTP client is non-blocking and asynchronous. It offers an asynchronous API that never blocks for I/O, making it very efficient in thread utilization and well suited for high performance scenarios such as load testing or parallel computation.

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

Jetty’s HTTP client supports different transports: HTTP/1.1, FastCGI and HTTP/2. This means that the semantic of a HTTP request (that is, " GET me the resource /index.html ") can be carried over the network in different formats. The most common and default format is HTTP/1.1. That said, Jetty’s HTTP client can carry the same request using the FastCGI format or the new HTTP/2 format.

The FastCGI transport is heavily used in Jetty’s FastCGI support that allows Jetty to work as a reverse proxy to PHP (exactly like Apache or Nginx do) and therefore be able to serve - for example - WordPress websites.

The HTTP/2 transport allows Jetty’s HTTP client to perform requests using HTTP/2 to HTTP/2 enabled web sites, see also Jetty’s HTTP/2 support.

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

  • 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 - HTTP proxying and SOCKS4 proxying.

Starting HttpClient

The main class is named org.eclipse.jetty.client.HttpClient.

You can think of a 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 may create multiple instances of HttpClient, but typically one instance is enough for an application. There are several reasons for having multiple HttpClient instances including, but not limited to:

  • You want to specify different configuration parameters (for example, one instance is configured with a forward proxy while another is not)
  • You want the two instances to behave like two different browsers and hence have different cookies, different authentication credentials…​etc.
  • You want to use different transports

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 the HttpClient 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

Stopping HttpClient

It is recommended that when your application stops, you also stop the HttpClient instance (or instances) that you are using.


Stopping HttpClient makes sure that the memory it holds (for example, authentication credentials, cookies, etc.) is released, and that the thread pool and scheduler are properly stopped allowing all threads used by HttpClient to exit.

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2016-09-15)