Using WebRequest and WebResponse classes

In this article, you'll see how to download and upload files through HTTP.  
Uploading and Downloading Files
The System.Net.WebClient class provides functionality to upload data to or download data from the Internet or intranet or a local file system. The WebClient class provides many ways to download and upload data. The following table describes WebClient class methods and properties briefly.
Member Type Description
BaseURI Property Current base URL address
Headers Property Headers in the form of name and value pair associated with the request.
QueryStrings Property Queries in the form of name and value pair associated with the request.
ResponseHeaders Property Headers in the form of name and value pair associated with the response.
DownloadData Method Download data from a URI and returns data as a byte array.
DownloadFile Method Download data from a URI and saves as a local file.
OpenRead Method Opens and reads a URI in stream form.
OpenWrite Method Opens a stream to write data to a URI.
UploadData Method Uploads data buffer to a URI.
UploadFile Method Uploads a local file to the given URI.
UploadValues Method Uploads name and value collection.

Using WebClient Class

Downloading Data
The WebClient provides three different methods to download data either from the Internet, intranet, or local file system.
WebClient constructor doesn't take any arguments. In the following code, URL is the file name you want to download such as You can download any type of files using these methods such as image files, html and so on.
  1. string URL = textBox1.Text;  
  2. WebClient client = new WebClient();   
The DownloadData method takes URI as a parameter, downloads data from a resource URI and returns a byte string.
  1. byte [] bytedata = client.DownloadData(URL);  
The DownloadFile method downloads data from a resource and saves it to the local file system. Hence it takes parameters, first is URI name and second is the file name stored as on the local system. The following code downloads a URL and saves it as temp.asp.
  1. client.DownloadFile(URL, "C:\\temp.asp");  
The OpenRead method downloads data from a resource and return data as a stream.
  1. Stream data = client.OpenRead(URL);   
Source Code
  1. // Address of URL  
  2. string URL = textBox1.Text;  
  3. try  
  4. {   
  5.   // Get HTML data   
  6.   WebClient client = new WebClient();  
  7.   Stream data = client.OpenRead(URL);  
  8.   StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(data);  
  9.   string str = "";  
  10.   str = reader.ReadLine();   
  11.   while( str != null)  
  12.   {  
  13.     Console.WriteLine(str);  
  14.     str = reader.ReadLine();  
  15.   }   
  16.   data.Close();  
  17. }  
  18. catch(WebException exp)  
  19. {  
  20.   MessageBox.Show(exp.Message, "Exception");  
  21. }  
Upload Data
The WebClient class provides four different ways to uploading data to a resource.
The OpenWrite method sends a data stream to the resource. It's reverse operation of OpenRead method. You pass URI as first parameter of OpenWrite.
  1. OpenWrite(string);  
The UploadData method sends a byte array to the resource and returns a byte array containing any response. It's a reverse operation of DownloadData method. It takes two arguments of string and array of bytes respectively.
  1. UploadData(stringbyte[]);  
  3. client.UploadData("", data);  
The UploadFile method sends a local file to the resource and returns a byte array containing any response. It's a reverse operation of DownloadFile. UploadFile also takes two parameters. First a URI name and second file to be uploaded.
  1. UploadFile(string string);  
  3. client.UploadFile("", @"c:\mcb.gif");   
  5. //Or:   
  7. client.UploadFile("", @"c:\test.htm");    
The UploadValues sends a NameValueCollection to the resource and returns a byte array containing any response.
  1. UploadValues(string, NameValueCollection);  

Using WebRequest and WebResponse Classes

Although you can use WebClient class to upload and download data but there are more things involved in uploading and downloading data. What if you don't have right to upload to the server you are uploading to? Did you see us passing userid and passwords for the server somewhere? We didn't think so. So if you don't have permission to write to the server, you get this error.
So what we do now? That's where boundary of the WebClient class ends. And that's where the WebRequest and WebResponse classes come in the existence.
The WebRequest Class
The WebRequest is an abstract base class. So you actually don't use it directly. You use it through it derived classes - HttpWebRequest and FileWebRequest.
You use Create method of WebRequest to create an instance of WebRequest. GetResponseStream returns data stream. The following sample example downloads data stream from a web page.
Sample Code 
  1. using System;  
  2. using System.Net;  
  3. using System.IO;   
  4. namespace WebRequestSamp  
  5. {  
  6. /// <summary>  
  7. /// Summary description for Class1.  
  8. /// </summary>  
  9. class Class1  
  10. {  
  11.     static void Main(string[] args)   
  12.     {  
  13.       WebRequest request = WebRequest.Create(;  
  14.       WebResponse response = request.GetResponse();   
  15.       StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(response.GetResponseStream());   
  16.       string str = reader.ReadLine();  
  17.       while(str != null)  
  18.       {  
  19.         Console.WriteLine(str);  
  20.         str = reader.ReadLine();  
  21.       }  
  22.     }  
  23.   }  
  24. }   
HttpWebRequest and HttpWebResponse classes works in same way too. Here is one sample example. 

Using HttpWebRequest and HttpWebResponse Classes

  1. HttpWebRequest request = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create ( );  
  2. HttpWebResponse response = (HttpWebResponse)request.GetResponse();  
  3. String ver = response.ProtocolVersion.ToString();  
  4. StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(response.GetResponseStream() );   
  5. string str = reader.ReadLine();  
  6. while(str != null)  
  7. {  
  8.   Console.WriteLine(str);  
  9.   str = reader.ReadLine();  
  10. }  
Well .. that's it for now. My next submission is Web Browser. It should be up on the site soon.

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