July 19th, 2010

Tools to view HTTP requests and responses

Sometimes, it is required to view browser server interaction what requests are being sent from the computer to the web server and response from the web server. This article explains the different tools to monitor and analyze all incoming and outgoing HTTP traffic between the browser and the web servers.

1. HttpFox for FireFox: It is initiated from the web browser in the interval (by pressing the start-recording and the stop-recording buttons). It presents the data in a structured way in which I can quickly find the request I am interested in. It nicely complements LiveHTTPHeaders, because httpfox can view requests in the past as well. So the comparison can be made with the past.

2. Fiddler: It is a Web Debugging Proxy which logs all HTTP(S) traffic between your computer and the Internet. It allows you to inspect traffic, set breakpoints, and “fiddle” with incoming or outgoing data. It includes a powerful event-based scripting subsystem, and can be extended using any .NET language. It works for all browsers. You can get IE add-ons here. I have written a post to submit ASP.NET Form quickly from C# app using Fiddler

3. Wireshark: It is the world’s most popular network protocol analyzer.It has a rich and powerful feature set and runs on most computing platforms including Windows, OS X, Linux, and UNIX.

4. Live HTTP Headers for Firefox: It shows HTTP headers of a page and while browsing.

5. IEInspector HTTP Analyzer: It allows you to monitor, trace, debug and analyze HTTP/HTTPS traffic in real-time. It includes both Stand-alone Edition and Add-on Edition.

6. Firebug for Firefox: In my previous post, I have explained how you can view HTTP requests and responses with Firebug.

I have used firebug, httpfox, fiddler… etc. Fiddler is needed to be configured when you are connected to internet with proxy server and Wireshark has problems if the client and server are on the same machine. The best one in my opinion is HttpFox. It has user friendly interface, easy filter capabilities and allows you to view your JSON the request/response as raw or formatted.

Hope! It helps.