Axios vs. Fetch API: Which is better?

Axios vs. Fetch API

In the realm of web development, understanding the intricacies of various tools and libraries is crucial for efficient and effective coding. Among these, Axios vs. Fetch API stand out as two prominent methods for handling HTTP requests in JavaScript. Axios is a popular third-party library, while Fetch API is a built-in browser API. Both are used for similar purposes – to make HTTP requests to servers from web browsers or Node.js environments.

The importance of distinguishing between Axios and Fetch API lies in their unique features, usability, and compatibility with different environments. While they both serve the same fundamental purpose, their approach, syntax, and additional functionalities differ. For developers, choosing the right tool can significantly impact the ease of implementation, performance, and compatibility of their web applications. Understanding these differences is not just about preference but also about leveraging the strengths of each to optimize web development projects. This knowledge enables developers to make informed decisions, leading to more efficient and maintainable code.

What is Fetch API?

What is Fetch API?

The Fetch API is a modern, powerful, and flexible feature in JavaScript that enables web developers to make HTTP requests to servers. It’s built into most modern web browsers and replaces older, more complex methods like XMLHttpRequest. Essentially, it’s used for network communication, allowing web pages to request data from servers, which is crucial for interactive and dynamic websites.

How Fetch API Works

Fetch API works by using a global fetch() method that provides an easy, logical way to fetch resources asynchronously across the network. This method returns a Promise, making it simpler to work with asynchronous operations. Developers can use it to make various types of requests (like GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) and receive responses, typically in JSON format.

The process involves:

  1. Making a Request: Using fetch() with the desired URL and optional settings (like headers, method type, body data for POST requests).
  2. Handling the Response: The Promise returned resolves into a Response object when the request completes, which can then be processed.
  3. Parsing the Data: The Response object can be converted into the required format, like JSON, text, or blob, depending on the data type.

Examples of Fetch API Tools and Workflows:

Basic GET Request: Fetching JSON data from an API endpoint.javascriptCopy codefetch('') .then(response => response.json()) .then(data => console.log(data));

POST Request with JSON: Sending JSON data to a server.javascriptCopy codefetch('', { method: 'POST', headers: { 'Content-Type': 'application/json', }, body: JSON.stringify({ key: 'value' }) }) .then(response => response.json()) .then(data => console.log(data));

Error Handling: Managing network errors and non-200 status responses.javascriptCopy codefetch('') .then(response => { if (!response.ok) { throw new Error('Network response was not ok'); } return response.json(); }) .then(data => console.log(data)) .catch(error => console.error('Fetch error:', error));

Using Async/Await: A more modern approach using async functions for cleaner code.javascriptCopy codeasync function fetchData() { try { const response = await fetch(''); const data = await response.json(); console.log(data); } catch (error) { console.error('Error fetching data:', error); } } fetchData();

What is Axios?

What is Axios?

Axios is a popular JavaScript library used for making HTTP requests. It’s often preferred for its simplicity and enhanced features compared to the native Fetch API. Unlike Fetch, which is a browser-based API, Axios is an independent library that can be used both in browser-based JavaScript applications and Node.js environments. It’s well-known for its straightforward syntax, ability to intercept request and response, automatic transformation of JSON data, and wide browser support.

How Axios Works

Axios performs HTTP requests using methods that are intuitively named after their corresponding HTTP methods (like get, post, put, delete, etc.). It returns a Promise, thereby enabling asynchronous code that’s easier to read and maintain. Axios enhances functionality by providing features like:

  • Interceptors: To manipulate requests and responses before they are handled by then or catch.
  • Automatic JSON Data Transformation: Automatically converts request data to JSON and response data from JSON.
  • Cancellation: Offers an easy way to cancel requests.
  • Error Handling: Provides comprehensive information on errors.

Examples of Axios Tools and Workflows:

  1. Basic GET Request: Retrieving data from an API.javascriptCopy codeaxios.get('') .then(response => console.log( .catch(error => console.error(error));
  2. POST Request: Sending data to a server.javascriptCopy'', { key: 'value' }) .then(response => console.log( .catch(error => console.error(error));
  3. Handling Errors: Managing errors effectively.javascriptCopy codeaxios.get('') .then(response => console.log( .catch(error => { if (error.response) { // The request was made and the server responded with a status code console.error('Error data:',; console.error('Error status:', error.response.status); } else if (error.request) { // The request was made but no response was received console.error('Error request:', error.request); } else { // Something happened in setting up the request console.error('Error message:', error.message); } });
  4. Using Async/Await: Modern syntax for cleaner and more readable code.javascriptCopy codeasync function fetchData() { try { const response = await axios.get(''); console.log(; } catch (error) { console.error('Error fetching data:', error); } } fetchData();
  5. Interceptors: Intercepting requests or responses before they are handled.javascriptCopy codeaxios.interceptors.request.use(config => { // Modify config or add headers return config; }, error => { return Promise.reject(error); }); axios.interceptors.response.use(response => { // Handle data before then() return response; }, error => { return Promise.reject(error); });

Key Differences Between Fetch API and Axios

Key Differences Between Fetch API and Axios

1. Origin and Nature

Fetch API:

  • Nature: Fetch API is a native browser API. It was designed to create a more modern, powerful, and efficient way of handling network requests in web browsers.
  • Origin: It is an integral part of the modern web standards, developed as a replacement for the older XMLHttpRequest (XHR) API, addressing many of its limitations and offering a more powerful and flexible way of making HTTP requests.
  • Browser Integration: As a native feature, Fetch API is built into most modern web browsers, eliminating the need for external libraries to make HTTP requests. This native integration ensures consistency across different platforms and browsers, adhering to standard web technologies.


  • Nature: Axios is a standalone third-party library. It is not a part of the JavaScript standard library but is an external package that developers can include in their projects.
  • Origin: Developed as an independent library, Axios has gained widespread popularity in the web development community due to its ease of use, extensive feature set, and flexibility. It was created to provide an alternative to the native Fetch API and XMLHttpRequest, with a focus on usability and additional features.
  • Installation Requirement: Unlike the Fetch API, Axios is not built into browsers and requires a separate installation. This is typically done using a package manager like npm (Node Package Manager) for Node.js environments or by including a script tag in HTML files for browser-based projects.

2. Syntax and Ease of Use

Fetch API:

  • Syntax: Fetch API utilizes a promise-based syntax, which is a modern approach to handle asynchronous operations in JavaScript. It generally involves chaining .then() and .catch() methods for handling successful and failed requests, respectively.
  • Handling JSON Data: A notable aspect of Fetch API is that it does not automatically parse response data as JSON. This requires an additional step where developers explicitly convert the response to JSON using .json(). For example, fetch(url).then(response => response.json())....
  • Ease of Use: While Fetch API is straightforward in its basic use, the need for additional code to handle common data formats like JSON can be seen as a slight drawback in terms of ease of use, especially for beginners or in scenarios where JSON data is predominantly used.


  • Automatic JSON Parsing: Axios simplifies the handling of JSON data by automatically parsing the response to JSON. This removes the need for additional parsing steps, making it more straightforward when dealing with JSON data – a common format in web development.
  • Syntax: Axios’s syntax is often considered more intuitive and concise. It provides methods named after HTTP verbs (like axios.get,, etc.), and these methods directly handle JSON data. The automatic error handling for HTTP status codes outside the 2xx range also contributes to its simplicity.
  • Ease of Use: Many developers find Axios easier and more intuitive, particularly when working with complex requests and responses. Its more straightforward handling of JSON data and error statuses helps in reducing boilerplate code and simplifies debugging.

3. Error Handling

Fetch API:

  • Error Handling Approach: The Fetch API’s approach to error handling is more nuanced compared to Axios. It considers a request successful if it manages to get a response from the server, regardless of the HTTP status code. This means even responses with HTTP status codes like 404 (Not Found) or 500 (Internal Server Error) are treated as resolved promises.
  • Implications for Developers: As a result, developers need to implement additional logic to handle HTTP errors. This often involves checking the response’s ok status or examining the status code directly. For instance, fetch(url).then(response => { if (!response.ok) { throw new Error('HTTP error'); } ... }).
  • Flexibility: While this approach requires extra coding, it offers more flexibility, allowing developers to decide how to handle different types of HTTP responses.


  • Automatic Error Rejection: In contrast, Axios simplifies error handling by automatically rejecting the promise if it encounters a status code outside the 2xx range. This feature means that any HTTP status code indicating an error (like 404 or 500) will directly result in a catch block being executed if one is present.
  • Simplified Error Handling: This behavior makes error handling more straightforward as developers can directly use .catch() for managing errors, without needing to check the status code explicitly. For example, axios.get(url).then(response => ...).catch(error => { ... }).
  • Convenience: This approach is often more convenient for many common scenarios where a non-2xx status is unequivocally an error, reducing the amount of boilerplate code required to handle such cases.

4. Browser Support

Fetch API:

  • Limited Support in Older Browsers: One of the limitations of the Fetch API is its lack of support in some older browsers, most notably Internet Explorer. This can be a significant drawback when developing applications intended for a wide audience that may include users of these older browsers.
  • Modern Browsers Compatibility: In modern browsers, however, Fetch API is widely supported and works seamlessly, making it a robust choice for contemporary web applications.


  • Broader Browser Compatibility: Axios, on the other hand, provides much broader browser support. It is compatible not only with all modern browsers but also with older ones, including Internet Explorer.
  • Polyfill Dependency: For older browsers, Axios relies on polyfills to provide functionality. This means that while additional steps may be required to ensure compatibility (like including a polyfill), Axios can be a more versatile choice for projects where support for a wide range of browsers, including legacy ones, is essential.

5. Features


  • Support for Interceptors: One of the notable features of Axios is its support for interceptors. This functionality allows developers to intercept requests or responses before they are processed by then or catch.
  • Usage of Interceptors: Request interceptors can be used to modify the request before it is sent, such as adding headers or logging requests. Response interceptors can be used to modify or log responses before they are passed on to the then or catch blocks.
  • Advantages: This feature is particularly useful for a variety of tasks like global error handling, authentication, logging, and enriching request or response data uniformly across all HTTP calls.

Fetch API:

  • Lack of Built-in Interceptors: The Fetch API does not have built-in support for interceptors. This means it cannot natively modify or inspect requests and responses in a centralized way before they are processed.
  • Impact on Development: The absence of interceptors in Fetch API can make certain HTTP interactions, like implementing global error handling or setting common headers for every request, more cumbersome and complex. Developers might need to write additional code or wrap the Fetch API to achieve similar functionality.
  • Workaround Solutions: While direct interceptor functionality is not available, developers can implement similar behavior by wrapping the Fetch function in a custom function, but this requires extra coding and might not be as elegant or straightforward as Axios’s interceptors.

Benefits of Axios vs. Fetch API

Fetch API:

  • Native Browser Integration: As a native feature of modern web browsers, the Fetch API doesn’t require the inclusion of any external libraries. This can be advantageous for projects looking to minimize dependencies.
  • Modern, Promise-Based Approach: Fetch API uses promises, which are an integral part of modern JavaScript. This makes it easier to write asynchronous code that’s both clean and readable.
  • Lightweight for Simple Requests: The Fetch API is generally considered a lighter-weight option, particularly effective for simple or straightforward HTTP requests. Its minimalistic approach is ideal for scenarios where basic fetching functionality is all that’s required.


  • Enhanced JSON Data Handling: Axios automatically handles JSON data transformation, both for sending and receiving data. This reduces the need for additional parsing code and simplifies interactions with most REST APIs, which commonly use JSON.
  • Automatic Transformation of Data: Axios not only handles JSON but also automatically transforms request and response data. This feature provides a more streamlined experience when dealing with HTTP requests and responses.
  • Superior Error Handling: Axios improves error handling by automatically rejecting promises on encountering HTTP errors (non-2xx status codes). This approach simplifies error handling logic in applications, making the code cleaner and more maintainable.
  • Broader Browser Support and Additional Features: Unlike Fetch API, Axios offers compatibility with older browsers, including Internet Explorer, when used with appropriate polyfills. Furthermore, its additional features like interceptors provide enhanced functionality, allowing for more sophisticated handling of HTTP requests and responses, making it a robust choice for complex applications.

Examples of When to Use Axios vs. Fetch API

Use Fetch API when:

Minimal Dependencies in Modern Browsers:

  • Ideal for projects where keeping the number of external dependencies low is a priority, especially if you’re only targeting modern browsers. The native integration of Fetch API in such environments eliminates the need for additional libraries.

Simple HTTP Requests:

  • If your project involves straightforward HTTP requests where the advanced features of Axios are not necessary, the Fetch API provides a clean and efficient way to handle these tasks.

Preference for Native APIs:

  • For developers who prefer using native browser APIs to avoid reliance on external libraries, Fetch API is an excellent choice, ensuring that the codebase uses standardized web technologies.

Use Axios when:

Support for Older Browsers:

  • Axios is the better option for projects that need to be compatible with older browsers, like Internet Explorer. With the help of polyfills, Axios can ensure functionality across a wider range of browser versions.

Requirement of Advanced Features:

  • When your project demands features like automatic JSON data transformation, interceptors for request/response manipulation, and more sophisticated error handling, Axios provides these out-of-the-box. These features can significantly enhance productivity and code quality in complex applications.

Complex HTTP Interactions:

  • In scenarios involving complex HTTP requests and responses, Axios’s syntactic simplicity and additional functionalities make it a more suitable choice. The ease of handling JSON data, better error handling, and the ability to intercept requests and responses can simplify the development process and improve code maintainability.

When to Use Axios Over Fetch API

Choosing to use Axios over Fetch API depends on several factors related to the specific requirements of your project, the environment in which you’re working, and the features you need for making HTTP requests. Here are scenarios where Axios would be a preferable choice:

  1. Compatibility with Older Browsers: If your web application needs to support older browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Axios is a better choice. It can be used with polyfills to ensure compatibility across a wider range of browser versions.
  2. Advanced HTTP Request Features: Axios comes with a variety of advanced features that are not available in Fetch API. These include:
    • Automatic JSON Data Transformation: Axios automatically transforms request and response data to and from JSON, simplifying interactions with JSON-based APIs.
    • Interceptors: Axios allows you to intercept requests and responses, which can be extremely useful for tasks like adding headers globally, logging requests/responses, or implementing automatic error handling across the application.
    • Request Cancellation: Axios provides the ability to cancel requests, a feature that can be vital in scenarios like search inputs where requests might need to be canceled and restarted frequently.
  3. Better Error Handling: Axios treats any HTTP status outside the 2xx range as an error, automatically rejecting the promise. This behavior simplifies error handling, especially for applications where non-2xx responses are always considered errors.
  4. Timeouts and Progress Monitoring: Axios supports request timeout settings and allows monitoring the progress of requests, which is beneficial for scenarios like file uploads or where response time is critical.
  5. Ease of Use and Readability: If you prefer a more concise and readable syntax for making HTTP requests, Axios often requires less boilerplate code compared to Fetch, especially when dealing with complex request and response configurations.
  6. Use in Node.js Environments: Axios is not just limited to browser environments. If your project involves server-side JavaScript with Node.js, Axios is an excellent choice as it works seamlessly in both browser and Node.js environments.

Axios vs. Fetch API: Which is the Better Choice?

Deciding whether Axios or Fetch API is the “better” choice depends heavily on the specific needs and context of your project. Each has its own strengths and ideal use cases. Here’s a comparative analysis to guide the decision:



Advanced Features: Includes automatic JSON data transformation, request and response interceptors, and request cancellation.

Error Handling: Automatically rejects promises on HTTP errors (non-2xx status codes), simplifying error handling.

Browser Compatibility: Works with older browsers when used with polyfills.

Ease of Use: Often requires less boilerplate, especially for complex requests and handling JSON data.

Node.js Support: Can be used in both browser and Node.js environments.


Additional Dependency: Requires installation as it’s not a native browser feature.

Potentially Heavier: Might be overkill for simple applications where Fetch API’s capabilities are sufficient.

Fetch API:


Native Browser Support: No need for additional libraries, reducing dependencies.

Modern, Promise-Based Syntax: Aligns well with contemporary JavaScript practices.


Error Handling: Requires additional logic to handle HTTP errors as it doesn’t reject on non-2xx status codes.

JSON Data Handling: Requires manual parsing of JSON response data.

Limited Browser Support: Not supported in older browsers like Internet Explorer without polyfills.

Which to Choose?

  • For Simplicity and Minimal Dependencies: Choose Fetch API if you are working on a project that primarily targets modern browsers and requires simple HTTP requests without the need for advanced HTTP features.
  • For Advanced Features and Flexibility: Choose Axios if you need advanced features like interceptors, better error handling, support for older browsers, or if you’re dealing with complex HTTP requests and responses. It’s also the go-to choice for Node.js environments.


What is the main difference between Axios and Fetch API?

  • Axios is a third-party library that provides advanced features like automatic JSON transformation, request and response interceptors, and better error handling. Fetch API is a native browser feature that offers a more minimalistic, promise-based approach to HTTP requests.

Can Axios be used in older browsers?

  • Yes, Axios can be used in older browsers, including Internet Explorer, when combined with appropriate polyfills, making it more versatile in terms of browser compatibility compared to Fetch API.

Do I need to install Axios, and if so, how?

  • Yes, Axios is not a native browser feature and requires installation. You can install it using package managers like npm or yarn for Node.js, or include it directly in your HTML using a <script> tag for browser-based projects.

Why might I prefer Fetch API over Axios?

  • You might prefer Fetch API if you’re targeting modern browsers and your project requires a lighter-weight option with fewer dependencies, especially for simple HTTP requests.

How does error handling differ between Axios and Fetch API?

  • Axios automatically treats any HTTP status outside the 2xx range as an error, rejecting the promise, which simplifies error handling. In contrast, Fetch API considers any HTTP response, including statuses like 404 or 500, as a successful response, requiring additional logic to handle errors.
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