HTTP and HTTPS library for Mbed OS 5

Dependents:   MQTTGateway2 MQTTGatewayK64 http-example-wnc GuardRoom ... more

For the example program, see: sandbox/http-example.

This library is used to make HTTP and HTTPS calls from Mbed OS 5 applications.

HTTP Request API

NetworkInterface* network = /* obtain a NetworkInterface object */

const char body[] = "{\"hello\":\"world\"}";

HttpRequest* request = new HttpRequest(network, HTTP_POST, "");
request->set_header("Content-Type", "application/json");
HttpResponse* response = request->send(body, strlen(body));
// if response is NULL, check response->get_error()

printf("status is %d - %s\n", response->get_status_code(), response->get_status_message());
printf("body is:\n%s\n", response->get_body_as_string().c_str());

delete request; // also clears out the response


// pass in the root certificates that you trust, there is no central CA registry in Mbed OS
const char SSL_CA_PEM[] = "-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----\n"
    /* rest of the CA root certificates */;

NetworkInterface* network = /* obtain a NetworkInterface object */

const char body[] = "{\"hello\":\"world\"}";

HttpsRequest* request = new HttpsRequest(network, SSL_CA_PEM, HTTP_GET "");
HttpResponse* response = request->send();
// if response is NULL, check response->get_error()

printf("status is %d - %s\n", response->get_status_code(), response->get_status_message());
printf("body is:\n%s\n", response->get_body().c_str());

delete request;

Note: You can get the root CA for a domain easily from Firefox. Click on the green padlock, click More information > Security > View certificate > Details. Select the top entry in the 'Certificate Hierarchy' and click Export.... This gives you a PEM file. Add the content of the PEM file to your root CA list (here's an image).

Mbed TLS Entropy configuration

If your target does not have a built-in TRNG, or other entropy sources, add the following macros to your mbed_app.json file to disable entropy:

    "macros": [

Note that this is not secure, and you should not deploy this device into production with this configuration.

Memory usage

Small requests where the body of the response is cached by the library (like the one found in main-http.cpp), require 4K of RAM. When the request is finished they require 1.5K of RAM, depending on the size of the response. This applies both to HTTP and HTTPS. If you need to handle requests that return a large response body, see 'Dealing with large body'.

HTTPS requires additional memory: on FRDM-K64F about 50K of heap space (at its peak). This means that you cannot use HTTPS on devices with less than 128K of memory, asyou also need to reserve memory for the stack and network interface.

Dealing with large response body

By default the library will store the full request body on the heap. This works well for small responses, but you'll run out of memory when receiving a large response body. To mitigate this you can pass in a callback as the last argument to the request constructor. This callback will be called whenever a chunk of the body is received. You can set the request chunk size in the HTTP_RECEIVE_BUFFER_SIZE macro (see mbed_lib.json for the definition) although it also depends on the buffer size ofthe underlying network connection.

void body_callback(const char* data, uint32_t data_len) {
    // do something with the data

HttpRequest* req = new HttpRequest(network, HTTP_GET, "", &body_callback);
req->send(NULL, 0);

Dealing with a large request body

If you cannot load the full request into memory, you can pass a callback into the send function. Through this callback you can feed in chunks of the request body. This is very useful if you want to send files from a file system.

const void * get_chunk(uint32_t* out_size) {
    // set the value of out_size (via *out_size = 10) to the size of the buffer
    // return the buffer

    // if you don't have any more data, set *out_size to 0

HttpRequest* req = new HttpRequest(network, HTTP_POST, "");

Socket re-use

By default the library opens a new socket per request. This is wasteful, especially when dealing with TLS requests. You can re-use sockets like this:


TCPSocket* socket = new TCPSocket();

nsapi_error_t open_result = socket->open(network);
// check open_result

nsapi_error_t connect_result = socket->connect("", 80);
// check connect_result

// Pass in `socket`, instead of `network` as first argument
HttpRequest* req = new HttpRequest(socket, HTTP_GET, "");


TLSSocket* socket = new TLSSocket();

nsapi_error_t r;
// make sure to check the return values for the calls below (should return NSAPI_ERROR_OK)
r = socket->open(network);
r = socket->set_root_ca_cert(SSL_CA_PEM);
r = socket->connect("", 443);

// Pass in `socket`, instead of `network` as first argument, and omit the `SSL_CA_PEM` argument
HttpsRequest* get_req = new HttpsRequest(socket, HTTP_GET, "");

Request logging

To make debugging easier you can log the raw request body that goes over the line. This also works with chunked encoding.

uint8_t *request_buffer = (uint8_t*)calloc(2048, 1);
req->set_request_log_buffer(request_buffer, 2048);

// after the request is done:
printf("\n----- Request buffer -----\n");
for (size_t ix = 0; ix < req->get_request_log_buffer_length(); ix++) {
    printf("%02x ", request_buffer[ix]);

Integration tests

Integration tests are located in the TESTS folder and are ran through Greentea. Instructions on how to run the tests are in http-example.

Mbed OS 5.10 or lower

If you want to use this library on Mbed OS 5.10 or lower, you need to add the TLSSocket library to your project. This library is included in Mbed OS 5.11 and up.

Tested on

  • K64F with Ethernet.
  • NUCLEO_F411RE with ESP8266.
  • ODIN-W2 with WiFi.
  • K64F with Atmel 6LoWPAN shield.
  • DISCO-L475VG-IOT01A with WiFi.
  • Mbed Simulator.
diff -r 000000000000 -r 910f5949759f LICENSE
--- /dev/null	Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 1970 +0000
+++ b/LICENSE	Thu Feb 16 11:35:56 2017 +0100
@@ -0,0 +1,191 @@
+Apache License
+Version 2.0, January 2004
+1. Definitions.
+"License" shall mean the terms and conditions for use, reproduction, and
+distribution as defined by Sections 1 through 9 of this document.
+"Licensor" shall mean the copyright owner or entity authorized by the copyright
+owner that is granting the License.
+"Legal Entity" shall mean the union of the acting entity and all other entities
+that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with that entity.
+For the purposes of this definition, "control" means (i) the power, direct or
+indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by
+contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the
+outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity.
+"You" (or "Your") shall mean an individual or Legal Entity exercising
+permissions granted by this License.
+"Source" form shall mean the preferred form for making modifications, including
+but not limited to software source code, documentation source, and configuration
+"Object" form shall mean any form resulting from mechanical transformation or
+translation of a Source form, including but not limited to compiled object code,
+generated documentation, and conversions to other media types.
+"Work" shall mean the work of authorship, whether in Source or Object form, made
+available under the License, as indicated by a copyright notice that is included
+in or attached to the work (an example is provided in the Appendix below).
+"Derivative Works" shall mean any work, whether in Source or Object form, that
+is based on (or derived from) the Work and for which the editorial revisions,
+annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an
+original work of authorship. For the purposes of this License, Derivative Works
+shall not include works that remain separable from, or merely link (or bind by
+name) to the interfaces of, the Work and Derivative Works thereof.
+"Contribution" shall mean any work of authorship, including the original version
+of the Work and any modifications or additions to that Work or Derivative Works
+thereof, that is intentionally submitted to Licensor for inclusion in the Work
+by the copyright owner or by an individual or Legal Entity authorized to submit
+on behalf of the copyright owner. For the purposes of this definition,
+"submitted" means any form of electronic, verbal, or written communication sent
+to the Licensor or its representatives, including but not limited to
+communication on electronic mailing lists, source code control systems, and
+issue tracking systems that are managed by, or on behalf of, the Licensor for
+the purpose of discussing and improving the Work, but excluding communication
+that is conspicuously marked or otherwise designated in writing by the copyright
+owner as "Not a Contribution."
+"Contributor" shall mean Licensor and any individual or Legal Entity on behalf
+of whom a Contribution has been received by Licensor and subsequently
+incorporated within the Work.
+2. Grant of Copyright License.
+Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby
+grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free,
+irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of,
+publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such
+Derivative Works in Source or Object form.
+3. Grant of Patent License.
+Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby
+grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free,
+irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have
+made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where
+such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor
+that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination
+of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was
+submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a
+cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a
+Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory
+patent infringement, then any patent licenses granted to You under this License
+for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.
+4. Redistribution.
+You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof
+in any medium, with or without modifications, and in Source or Object form,
+provided that You meet the following conditions:
+You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a copy of
+this License; and
+You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You
+changed the files; and
+You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute,
+all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form
+of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the
+Derivative Works; and
+If the Work includes a "NOTICE" text file as part of its distribution, then any
+Derivative Works that You distribute must include a readable copy of the
+attribution notices contained within such NOTICE file, excluding those notices
+that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works, in at least one of the
+following places: within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the
+Derivative Works; within the Source form or documentation, if provided along
+with the Derivative Works; or, within a display generated by the Derivative
+Works, if and wherever such third-party notices normally appear. The contents of
+the NOTICE file are for informational purposes only and do not modify the
+License. You may add Your own attribution notices within Derivative Works that
+You distribute, alongside or as an addendum to the NOTICE text from the Work,
+provided that such additional attribution notices cannot be construed as
+modifying the License.
+You may add Your own copyright statement to Your modifications and may provide
+additional or different license terms and conditions for use, reproduction, or
+distribution of Your modifications, or for any such Derivative Works as a whole,
+provided Your use, reproduction, and distribution of the Work otherwise complies
+with the conditions stated in this License.
+5. Submission of Contributions.
+Unless You explicitly state otherwise, any Contribution intentionally submitted
+for inclusion in the Work by You to the Licensor shall be under the terms and
+conditions of this License, without any additional terms or conditions.
+Notwithstanding the above, nothing herein shall supersede or modify the terms of
+any separate license agreement you may have executed with Licensor regarding
+such Contributions.
+6. Trademarks.
+This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks,
+service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for
+reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Work and
+reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.
+7. Disclaimer of Warranty.
+Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, Licensor provides the
+Work (and each Contributor provides its Contributions) on an "AS IS" BASIS,
+including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE,
+solely responsible for determining the appropriateness of using or
+redistributing the Work and assume any risks associated with Your exercise of
+permissions under this License.
+8. Limitation of Liability.
+In no event and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence),
+contract, or otherwise, unless required by applicable law (such as deliberate
+and grossly negligent acts) or agreed to in writing, shall any Contributor be
+liable to You for damages, including any direct, indirect, special, incidental,
+or consequential damages of any character arising as a result of this License or
+out of the use or inability to use the Work (including but not limited to
+damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or
+any and all other commercial damages or losses), even if such Contributor has
+been advised of the possibility of such damages.
+9. Accepting Warranty or Additional Liability.
+While redistributing the Work or Derivative Works thereof, You may choose to
+offer, and charge a fee for, acceptance of support, warranty, indemnity, or
+other liability obligations and/or rights consistent with this License. However,
+in accepting such obligations, You may act only on Your own behalf and on Your
+sole responsibility, not on behalf of any other Contributor, and only if You
+agree to indemnify, defend, and hold each Contributor harmless for any liability
+incurred by, or claims asserted against, such Contributor by reason of your
+accepting any such warranty or additional liability.
+http_parser.c is based on src/http/ngx_http_parse.c from NGINX copyright
+Igor Sysoev.
+Additional changes are licensed under the same terms as NGINX and
+copyright Joyent, Inc. and other Node contributors. All rights reserved.
+Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
+of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to
+deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the
+rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or
+sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is
+furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
+The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
+all copies or substantial portions of the Software.