What is CORS?


APIs are bridges useful for accessing otherwise siloed data from a variety of clients such as web sites and mobile apps. However one must be careful to not give up security in the quest for convenience. Imagine an Internet where any third-party domain could initiate cross-domain requests which interact with your APIs and embed images and other assets hosted on your web server into their own site. All sorts of issues would quickly arise, including data theft and the ability to masquerade as a trusted resource of your organization. In fact, the prospects of this ability are so dangerous that all modern browsers prevent script-driven cross-domain requests by implementing what's known as the "same-origin policy".

At the same time, it would be incredibly convenient if this safeguard couldn't be overridden! Imagine the trouble associated with managing your APIs and all client websites on a single domain. Indeed there is a way to loosen this restriction using something known as CORS, or cross-origin resource sharing. When enabled, CORS will inform the web server to add supplemental HTTP headers which tell the browser how and in what ways the same-origin policy can be loosened. The most important such header is Access-Control-Allow-Origin, which tells the browser what other domains are allowed to request resources from the destination server.

The DreamFactory platform includes point-and-click support for securing your APIs with CORS. Check out chapter 8 of our Getting Started with DreamFactory guide to learn more.

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