Understanding HTTP 405 Error: Form POST vs. GET Methods

In web development, creating forms that interact with servers is a fundamental task. However, developers can sometimes encounter issues such as the HTTP 405 error when submitting forms. This error typically indicates that the method used to send data to the server is not allowed. In this blog post, we’ll explore why a form submitted with the POST method might return a 405 error, while a GET method works fine, along with a detailed example and solutions.

Scenario and Problem Description

You have a simple HTML form designed to collect a user’s first name and surname. When the form uses the GET method, it works without any issues, appending the form data as a query string to the URL. However, when you change the form’s method to POST, you encounter an HTTP 405 error.

Here’s a basic example of the form using the GET method:

<div style="padding-top: 15px; padding-bottom: 18px; padding-left: 40px; 
margin-bottom: 8px; width: 500px; border: 1px solid black;">
<form method="get">
<input type="text" name="firstname" placeholder="First name" style="margin-right: 10px;
background-color: rgb(252, 242, 231); border: 1px solid black;">
<input type="text" name="surname" placeholder="Surname"
style="background-color: rgb(252, 242, 231); border: 1px solid black;">
<input type="submit" style="margin-left: 30px; width: 75px;
background-color: rgb(214, 255, 174); border: 1px solid black;">

What Happens When You Use GET?

When using GET, form data is sent as URL parameters and is visible in the browser’s address bar. This method is typically used for form submissions where security is not a concern (e.g., search filters).

What Happens When You Change to POST?

When the method is changed to POST, the form data is sent in the body of the HTTP request, not in the URL. POST is used for operations that involve data manipulation or contain sensitive information since it does not display the data in the URL.

Understanding the HTTP 405 Error

The HTTP 405 error means “Method Not Allowed.” This error occurs when the web server is configured to reject certain types of HTTP methods for a requested URL. Here’s why this might happen:

  1. Server Configuration: The server may be configured to accept only specific methods for a URL. For example, if you’re running a local server environment (like http-server), it might not be set up to handle POST requests by default.
  2. Endpoint Specification: The endpoint you are posting to must be configured to handle POST requests. If the server only recognizes GET requests for the endpoint, a POST request will result in a 405 error.

Solutions and Best Practices

To resolve a 405 error when using the POST method, consider the following solutions:

  1. Check Server Configuration: Ensure that your server is configured to handle POST requests. For servers like Apache or Nginx, you might need to modify configuration files (e.g., .htaccess or nginx.conf).
  2. Endpoint Routing: Make sure that the endpoint you are submitting the form to is set up to accept POST requests. This often involves server-side scripting (e.g., PHP, Node.js) to process POST data.
  3. Use a Backend Service: For testing purposes or simple forms, consider using backend-as-a-service platforms (like Hookbin or Beeceptor) to catch and debug HTTP requests.

Example of a Corrected Form Using POST

If you have a server endpoint set up to handle POST, here’s how your form might look:

<form method="post" action="https://yourserver.com/submit-form">
<input type="text" name="firstname" placeholder="First name">
<input type="text" name="surname" placeholder="Surname">
<input type="submit">

Ensure that https://yourserver.com/submit-form is configured to accept POST requests and handle them appropriately.


Understanding the differences between GET and POST methods, and knowing why certain errors like the HTTP 405 occur, is crucial for web development. By configuring your server correctly and ensuring proper request handling, you can effectively use forms to interact with server-side technologies, enhancing your web applications’ capabilities.