Make offchain HTTP requests

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Please refer to the `polkadot-sdk-docs` crate for the most up-to-date documentation on this topic.

Because most blockchains can't access data that's hosted on servers outside of their own network, they typically use external third-party services—oracles—to pull information in from or push information out to locations that are outside of the network. For Substrate-based blockchains, offchain workers (OCW) provide similar capabilities, but with the advantage of being able to access on-chain state.

This guide illustrates how to use an offchain worker to make HTTP requests using GET or POST methods. In the example in this guide, you'll see how to retrieve the price of Bitcoin from the cryptocompare API and how to submit data using an offchain worker API.

You might know that Rust provides its own libraries for issuing HTTP requests. However, offchain workers run in their own WebAssembly execution environment—a no-std environment—and, therefore, don't have access to the standard Rust libraries. Instead, Substrate provides its own libraries that you can use to issue HTTP requests.

The Substrate HTTP library supports the following methods:

  • GET
  • POST
  • PUT

Set a deadline and instantiate an HTTP request

In most cases, you want to limit the time allowed for an offchain worker to execute its operations. For this example, you can set a hard-coded deadline of two seconds to complete the external call. You can also wait indefinitely for the response. However, waiting indefinitely might result in a timeout from the external host machine.

  1. Create a deadline of 2 seconds.

    let deadline = sp_io::offchain::timestamp().add(Duration::from_millis(2_000));
  2. Initiate an external HTTP GET request.

    let request = http::Request::get("");
    let pending = request.deadline(deadline).send().map_err(|_| http::Error::IoError)?;
    let response = pending.try_wait(deadline).map_err(|_| http::Error::DeadlineReached)??;

Read and submit the response

  1. Check the response status code.

    // Let's check the status code before we proceed to reading the response.
    if response.code != 200 {
     log::warn!("Unexpected status code: {}", response.code);
     return Err(http::Error::Unknown)
  2. Read the response.

    let body = response.body().collect::<Vec<u8>>();
    // Create a str slice from the body.
    let body_str = sp_std::str::from_utf8(&body).map_err(|_| {
     log::warn!("No UTF8 body");
  3. Submit data to an API using a POST request.

    // Send a POST request
    let request_body = Vec::new();
    let request = http::Request::post("", vec![request_body.clone()])
     .add_header("x-api-key", "test_api_key")
     .add_header("content-type", "application/json");
    let pending = request
     .map_err(|_| http::Error::IoError)?;
    // Wait for response
    let response = pending
     .map_err(|_| http::Error::DeadlineReached)??;