Resubmitting POSTS (Was Re: Proxies changing POST to GET?)

Mark J Cox (
Wed, 21 Dec 1994 10:24:28 +0100

Ari Luotonen wrote:
> This is because some clients don't use POST correctly when reloading the
> page, but use GET instead; NCSA Mosaic definitely has this bug,

This implies that reloading a page should POST the original data again:
not such a great idea if a user has just submitted an order and ends up
making several identical orders.

The HTTP spec gives a number of example uses for the POST method including
annotation, posting a message, submitting a block of data - things you
would only want to do once. Usually the method=GET is used when you
don't mind having the same thing submitted multiple times with a reload.

It isn't in any specs, so what is the expected action?

Do a GET on the same URL? (broken browsers do this now)
Disable the ability to Reload the page?
Ask the user if they want to resubmit the POST? (Netscape now does)
Resubmit the Post anyway? (Netscape used to)

In the latter case sites that accept forms will have to watch out for
identical copies or implement some hidden session numbers.

Mark J Cox ---------------------- URL:
University of Bradford, UK --------------- tel +44.1274.384070/fax 391333