Tools like Postman have been around for a while and, at least at first, they were great. But they have become bloated and complex, pushing features that aren't always useful and working hard at getting their users to upgrade to a paid plan or at least register their email address.
That's not to say that Postman is a bad tool. It's just that it's not the right tool for everyone.
If you just want something that's free, fast, doesn't take up a lot resources and doesn't get in your way, you should try Headrest.
If you are a developer, a tester or are somehow involved with REST APIs, it's likely you need to make HTTP requests that can be a little more involved than just pasting a link in a browser and seeing what comes out.
You might need to change the HTTP method, add headers, change the body, add query parameters, and so on.
You might also need to save the requests you make, so you can use them later without having to type it all again.
There are many tools that can do this, including curl that comes already installed on your Mac or Linux machine. Even on Windows, if you installed Git for Windows, you already have curl.
Curl is great, but it's not the easiest tool to use if you make similar requests regularly, if there are a lot of headers or large payloads to send.
Basic, but productive
Really what you need is a tool that's somewhere between curl and Postman. A tool that's easy to use, but goes a bit beyond the basics.
- Can save the requests you're making so you don't have to type it all in every time.
- Can organise the requests in some way, for example for different projects.
- Makes it easy to send, edit and read JSON payloads, with appropriate syntax highlighting.
- Can use variables and environments when needed, but in a way that's intuitive and doesn't require coding.
- It doesn't ask you for any personal information, doesn't track the way you use it and doesn't try to sell you anything.
In short, something that works for you now instead of trying to convince you to buy something either now or later on. A tool where you don't need to know there's a "hidden" button that lets you skip the sign up process.
How to find a simple REST client?
We offer Headrest as a free tool and we believe it's great.
But if you don't think it's right for you, no problem. However, before deciding, we recommend first trying to understand why some of the existing tools out there may prove to be the next Postman by taking the same path as them.
Most of the tools out there are free to use, but they are not free to develop and maintain. So they need to make money somehow in order to support their future development.
That's totally fine, but it's important to understand what kind of market are they targeting. If they are targeting large companies, they will need to offer features that are useful for the enterprise and if that's not what you need, you may be disappointed with the direction in which they will evolve and the features they will prioritise.
One the most popular REST clients out there is Insomnia.
It's free and has a nice UI that puts the request making aspect at the centre of the experience. But you can already see they are targeting large companies as they list some of their largest clients on their homepage.
I wonder if Kong (the developers of Insomnia) is not taking the same path as Postman?
Paid version, but not spammy
If there is a paid version, that's fine. A lot of cloud based features cost money to run and it's fair to ask for a fee to use them.
But if you only need the free version, you shouldn't be constantly reminded that there is a paid version and you should upgrade. You either need it or you don't and that's that!
A REST client that's right for you
In the end, you need to choose a REST client that's right for you and, to form an opinion, perhaps you should try a few of them and see if they are a good fit.
If you're interested in trying Headrest, it's free to download and use. No registration is required and we don't collect any personal information.