GraphQL is well-known as an API Query Language that enables declarative data fetching, giving the client the option of specifying the data required from the API. GraphQL facilitates the evolution of APIs over time. GraphQL was created by Facebook in 2012 and was open-sourced in 2015.

REST API is defined as a Software Architectural Style created to guide the design and development of World Wide Web architecture. REST APIs define a collection of restrictions on how a distributed system's architecture should behave.

This blog focuses on the major differences between GraphQL and REST API to help you make an informed decision about which one best meets your business needs.

What exactly is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a Query Language for interacting with APIs. It allows the client to send HTTP requests and
receive responses.

In GraphQL, any set of information is seen in the context of a graph, as the name implies. Objects are

represented by nodes defined by the GraphQL Schema System. Edges between such nodes are employed

to portray a graph's connection among nodes. This helps to ensure consistent links between queries and

enhances object connectivity. Users can also use GraphQL to request data from multiple resources with a single request.

GraphQL allows you to make ad-hoc queries rather than making multiple requests to retrieve data.

GraphQL also allows the user to define the type of information that must be received from the server.

Because of its predictable data model, it is both efficient as well as readable. GraphQL is very simple

to grasp. Its declarative essence lets you make the most of it.

What exactly is REST?

REST APIs offer a flexible and lightweight method of integrating applications. REST APIs enable you to search for things, and the results are brought back from the service you requested. A REST API contains the following elements:

Headers: The Authentication Mode and Content Types are referred to as headers.

The Method: There are several strategies for calling a REST API, the most common of which are.

POST and GET: The GET method is used to gather information, whereas the POST method is used

to send data to web resources.

The Endpoint: The URL of the resource to which you're going is defined as the Endpoint.

The Data or Body: This corresponds to the text data in JSON format which must be transmitted to

the resource.

Listed below are a few REST basic principles that really are

vital for a REST API's smooth operation:

Client-Server Decoupling: When designing a REST API, the server and client applications have to be entirely independent of one another. The URI of the requested data should be the sole information the client has access

to. Similarly, an application server must not change the client application other than to send the information requested

via HTTP.

Statelessness: REST APIs have no state. This implies that each request must contain all of the information required

to process it. This may imply that REST APIs do not require server-side sessions. Server applications are not allowed

to store any client-related data.

Cacheability: Resources should be cacheable on the server or client side whenever possible. Server responses must also indicate as to if caching is authorized for the deliverable resource. You should try to boost client-side performance

whilst also trying to increase server-side scalability.

Uniform Interface: Regardless of whom the request comes from, all API requests for the exact same resource should

take a glance at the same. The REST API should make sure that a single piece of data, like an email or a user's name,

is delegated to only one Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). The resources should not be excessively large, but they should

encompass all of the data that the client can perhaps require.

Layered System Architecture: REST API responses as well as calls go through various layers. You must not assume that

the Client and Server applications actually communicate. The communication loop may include many intermediaries.

REST APIs therefore must be created in such a way so that neither the server nor even the client can tell whether

they're communicating with just an intermediary or even an end application.

Why was GraphQL created when REST was already available?

The following are the primary reasons why GraphQL was created as a feasible alternative to REST APIs:

The early 2010s have seen a rise in mobile usage, which caused some problems with untidy networks

and low-powered gadgets. REST APIs also weren't incredibly adept at resolving these problems.

The percentage of front-end platforms and frameworks which run client applications had also grown in

tandem with the increase in mobile usage. Cos of REST's lack of flexibility, it was difficult to develop a

single API that could quickly meet the requirements of every client.

\The main reason for creating GraphQL as an option was because the majority of data is in use in mobile apps

and the modern web has a graph shape.

The main distinctions between GraphQL and REST

GraphQL and REST are two design methods that both concentrate on the same feature:

data transmission through the use of internet protocols like HTTP. However, it is in the

execution that they deviate. Here are a few things to think about when going to decide

between GraphQL and REST:

  • Usability of GraphQL vs. REST
  • Compared The performance of GraphQL and REST
  • GraphQL vs. REST: Which Is More Secure?
  • GraphQL vs. REST: Which is more popular?
  • GraphQL vs. REST: Data Access
  • Usability of GraphQL vs. REST

Whenever it comes to GraphQL vs REST functionality, the two are markedly distinct in terms of

both version control and predictability. The high predictability of GraphQL is a massive benefit.

It enables you to make a request to your API and obtain only the results you need, with no

undesired inclusions. GraphQL queries generate predictable outcomes, which enhances their

usability substantially.

The behavior of REST, in contrast, hand, varies based on the HTTP and URI methods utilized.

When an API consumer calls an endpoint, this could make it unclear what and how to expect.

REST does not have standardized and clear guidance for versioning. This means that each

provider is free to choose their own approach. GraphQL is on the other end of the spectrum.

It did take a straightforward approach to version control: don't version APIs.

When trying to compare GraphQL vs REST API in aspects of versioning and predictability,

GraphQL's simplicity provides it with an advantage over REST.

Performance Comparison of GraphQL and REST

In terms of GraphQL vs REST performance, RESTful services' proclivity for Over-fetching

and Under-fetching gives GraphQL a significant advantage. Because REST APIs have inherently

rigid data structures designed to return the specified data when they are called, you may end up

with unnecessary information or be required to make numerous calls before receiving the relevant

information. These deficiencies can lengthen the time it takes the server to return the information


GraphQL, on the other hand, employs a flexible style that allows you to retrieve what you require

in a single API request. After defining the structure of the information you require, the server will

return the same structure to you, avoiding over-fetching and under-fetching.

In general, the GraphQL vs REST performance discussion favors GraphQL, but there are some

use situations where REST APIs are superior. For example, caching may indeed be preferred to

speed up API calls.

GraphQL vs. REST: Which Is More Secure?

When comparing GraphQL and REST in terms of security, it appears that REST has the upper hand.

REST provides several methods for enforcing API security.

You can ensure REST API security, for example, by integrating different API authentication methods,

such as HTTP authentication. Delicate data is transmitted in HTTP headers, via JSON Web Tokens,

where delicate data is transmitted as JSON data structures, or via OAuth 2.0 processes.

GraphQL also includes some security protocols, but they aren't as advanced as those in REST.

For example, while GraphQL aids in data validation, users must start figuring out how to apply

authentication and authentication metrics on top.

GraphQL vs. REST: Which is more popular?

In terms of popularity, REST APIs win the GraphQL vs REST debate. According to the State of API 2020

The report, approximately 82% of API consumers and practitioners are using REST-based OpenAPI

authentication, whereas only 18% are using GraphQL.

GraphQL's popularity, on the contrary hand, has been increasing steadily. Based on the

State of JavaScript 2019 Report, whereas only 5% of those polls conducted used it in 2016,

the number increased to 38.7% in 2019.

GraphQL vs. REST: Data Access

When it comes to data fetching in GraphQL vs REST, the REST API gathers information by

accessing multiple endpoints. Take alternate paths or endpoints that use the hierarchy.

For example, /user/id will be one endpoint to retrieve user data, /user/id/posts will be a

second endpoint to retrieve all of the user's posts, and /user/id/followers will retrieve a

list of the user's followers.

In GraphQL, on the other hand, you can simply submit a query to the GraphQL server with the data requirements, and the server will respond with a JSON object.

What is the Purpose of REST?

Here are a few examples of when using REST APIs is a good idea:

Monitoring and error reporting: REST enables you to build a monitor and control system

based on API responses. GraphQL doesn't really support this feature since it always returns

a 200 OK status response.

HTTP Caching Mechanism: Nowadays, all web pages include an HTTP cache implementation

to help users avoid getting to reinstall resources. It is also employed to determine if two resources

are exactly equivalent. Because you employ the same URL for all requests, GraphQL does not allow

you to get a globally unique id for a specific item. For this, you will have to configure your GraphQL cache.

What is the Purpose of GraphQL?

Here are a few scenarios in which GraphQL can be useful:

  • GraphQL enables users to easily retrieve the appropriate amount of data to render a specific view.
  • GraphQL is best suited for businesses looking to create mobile-responsive platforms. 
  • Mobile-responsive platforms anticipate applications to be able to respond and also have low latency, which GraphQL could provide due to its simple architecture.
  • With its syntax SDL, GraphQL defines an API's scheme to use its type system (Schema Definition Language). 
  • It serves as a contract between both the server and the client to define how a client can access the information. 
  • Because the front end can be easily tested with mocks, the front-end and back-end teams can collaborate independently.

The Benefits of GraphQL

Some of the benefits of GraphQL are as follows:

  • It facilitates query batching and caching.
  • GraphQL automatically helps to keep documentation and APIs in sync.
  • It's hierarchical and product-focused.
  • A single API call can be used to retrieve information.
  • Because GraphQL is a strongly typed language, queries are implemented in the context of the system.
  • It has a declarative query language.

GraphQL disadvantages

The following are some of GraphQL's drawbacks:

  • Design patterns for complex apps are largely missing.
  • For small applications, this is overkill.
  • Complex queries have performance problems.
  • Rather than employing HTTP caching, it uses a single endpoint.

REST's Benefits

Some of the key benefits of REST are as follows:

  • The protocol has become simple to implement across multiple projects.
  • Process instances can be explicitly created.
  • Developers can create an API to fulfill a specific user need.
  • REST APIs are simple to create and modify.
  • It makes it possible to easily scale software.

REST's disadvantages

The following are some of the major drawbacks of REST:

  • There is no method for obtaining restricted fields.
  • Inadequate data search capabilities.
  • There is no query validation available.
  • It is not possible to manipulate nested resources.
  • It does not keep track of previous interactions between the client and server.

Comparison of GraphQL and REST APIs

To give you a better idea, here is informative data on a few main differences between

GraphQL and REST API:

Sr.No GraphQL REST

  1. GraphQL is built on a client-driven architecture. REST is based on a server-driven architecture.
  2. GraphQL only claims to support JSON as a data representation format. REST supports a wide range of data formats to make it easier to use.
  3. GraphQL does not have a fully automated caching mechanism. Unlike GraphQL, REST automatically wants to implement caching during its processes.
  4. GraphQL does not support API versioning. REST is compatible with various API versions.
  5. GraphQL is defined as a query language that provides flexibility and effectiveness in solving common issues associated with API integration. REST is defined as a style of architecture that is generally regarded as a standard for developing APIs.
  6. Error identification in GraphQL is complicated because it involves dealing with HTTP Status Codes.
  7. REST, on the other hand, can easily recognize errors by using HTTP Status Codes.

GraphiQl is only used for documentation in GraphQL.

REST provides a variety of options for automated documentation, including API and OpenAPI blueprints.

GraphQL is deployed over HTTP via a single endpoint that exposes all of the exposed service's

capabilities. REST is implemented as a set of URLs, each of which can expose a single resource.

REST is implemented as a set of URLs, each of which may expose a single resource.

Which is better, GraphQL or REST API?

To summarise the previous discussion on GraphQL vs REST, the answer is subjective and heavily

dependent on your particular project requirements.

For example, GraphQL may be your best bet if you want to inject something new into your API

development while sustaining a modern design aesthetic and attempting to avoid multiple rounds

trips to fetch data.

However, if you want to use a tried-and-true technique that provides robust native verification or

caching, REST is the way to go.

Knowing the tradeoffs and restrictions that lie beneath each API design style is crucial for choosing

the one that meets your requirements best. You might even try deploying a hybrid approach that

incorporates REST and GraphQL.

Regardless of your choice, you should concentrate on creating an API product that meets the

requirements of all API value chain participants: the API Consumer (Developer), the API Provider, and

the End-user (Customer).


This blog discusses the key factors in the GraphQL vs REST discussion to assist you in comprehending

them better. It begins with an overview of REST and GraphQL before delving into GraphQL vs REST.

Extraction of complex information from a diverse set of free data sources, such as REST APIs, can be