GraphQL vs REST APIs

Learn more about graphql and rest APIs

GraphQL vs REST APIs
Do not index
Do not index
If you work with connecting APIs, you might encounter GraphQL and REST APIs. Here's a simpler explanation of each:
RESTful API: REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It's a way to design web services. RESTful APIs use HTTP and work with resources and collections. Each item or entity is a resource accessed via a unique web address. These APIs are stateless, meaning they don't store data between requests. They use standard HTTP methods like GET (to read data), POST (to create data), PUT (to update/replace data), PATCH (to modify data), and DELETE. They use standard HTTP codes to show if a request worked or not. REST can work with different data formats, like JSON or XML, and requires different endpoints for different tasks.
GraphQL: GraphQL is a query language for APIs that lets you ask for exactly what you need and nothing more. This can make data transfers more efficient. GraphQL uses a single endpoint and typically sends data via HTTP POST. It defines a strongly typed schema, which means the types of data and their relationships are strictly defined. GraphQL APIs can be introspected, meaning you can ask them what types of data they support. They are good for real-time data updates and provide errors in a consistent format within the response.
Key Differences:
  • Flexibility: GraphQL queries are more flexible than RESTful API requests. They allow you to specify exactly what data you need, which can reduce unnecessary data transfer.
  • Data Fetching: REST might give you more data than you need or not enough in one request, which can be inefficient. GraphQL avoids this by letting clients define exactly what they need.
  • Versioning: REST APIs often need versions to handle changes, but GraphQL lets you add new fields and phase out old ones without disrupting existing queries.
  • Complexity: GraphQL can be harder to learn and set up due to its complex query resolving system. REST is generally simpler to design and use.
And that’s a wrap! Choosing between GraphQL and REST largely depends on the system you’re integrating into, but this overview should help you understand the basics of both.

Gain and retain users through third-party apps and integrations

Focus on your business, we'll handle integrations

Book an intro call →

Written by


Lola is the founder of Lunch Pail Labs. She enjoys discussing product, SaaS integrations, and running a business. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.