Understanding HTTP Interceptors in Angular

The Angular Interceptor helps us to modify the HTTP Request by intercepting it before the Request is sent to the back end. It can also modify the incoming Response from the back end. The Interceptor globally catches every outgoing and in coming request at a single place. We can use it to add custom headers to the outgoing request, log the incoming response, etc. This guide shows you how to make use of an Angular HTTP interceptor using a few examples.

What is angular Http interceptor

The Angular HTTP interceptors sit between our application and the backend. When the application makes a request, the interceptor catches the request (HttpRequest) before it is sent to the backend. By Intercepting requests, we will get access to request headers and the body. This enables us to transform the request before sending it to the Server. 

When the response (HttpResponse) arrives from the back end the Interceptors can transform it before passing it to our application.

One of the main benefits of the Http Interceptors is to add the Authorization Header to every request. We could do this manually, but that is a lot of work and error-prone. Another benefit is to catch the errors generated by the request and log them.

How to Create Http Interceptor

To Implement the Interceptor, you need to create an injectable service, which implements the HttpInterceptor interface.

This class must implement the method Intercept.

This class is then provided in the Root Module using the HTTP_INTERCEPTORS injection token:

HttpInterceptor Interface

At the heart of the Interceptor, logic is the HttpInterceptor Interface. we must Implement it in our Interceptor Service.

The interface contains a single method Intercept with the following signature

You can define more than one Interceptor. The Interceptors are called in the order they are defined in provider metadata.


The first argument is HttpRequest.

The HttpRequest is an outgoing HTTP request which is being intercepted. It contains URL, method, headers, body, and other request configuration. 

The HttpRequest is a immutable class. Which means that we can’t modify the original request. To make changes we need to clone the Original request using the HttpRequest.clone method


The second argument is httpHandler

The HttpHandler dispatches the HttpRequest to the next Handler using the method HttpHandler.handle. The next handler could be another Interceptor in the chain or the Http Backend.

Http Interceptor Example

Open the GitHubService app, which we created in the previous tutorial. You can download it from GitHub. The Final code is in the folder HttpInterceptors. The initial code in HttpGetParameters folder.

Create the Interceptor

Create AppHttpInterceptor.ts under the src/app folder and copy the following code

Now let us look at each code in detail

First, we have Imported the following module.

Create a class AppHttpInterceptor which implements HttpInterceptor Interface. 

Then create an Intercept method that takes HttpRequest and HttpHandler as the argument.

In the method body, you can modify the HttpRequest object. Once done, you can call the HttpHandler.handle method of the HttpHandler with the HttpRequest object. The HttpHandler.handle method invokes the next interceptor or sends the request to the backend server.


The Complete code from App Module.

First, we need to import the HttpClientModule & HTTP_INTERCEPTORS from @angular/common/http.

Next, register AppHttpInterceptor as the Provider for the HTTP_INTERCEPTORS.

Run the Application. Open the developer console and see the output of console.log(req).

Setting the new headers

We are able to Intercept the request and log it to the console in the above example. Now we will modify the HTTP Headers and Custom Headers.

Adding the Content-Type

To Modify the request we need to clone it. The HttpRequest.clone method allows us to modify the specific properties of the request while copying others. In the following example we are adding the new header content-type to the request.

The headers object is also immutable. Hence we need to clone it using the headers.set method. The header.set method clones the current header and adds/modifies the new header value and returns the cloned header.

You can also use the headers.append method as shown below. Note that the append method always appends the header even if the value is already present. 

You can also make use of the setHeaders shortcut as shown below

req = req.clone( {setHeaders: {‘Content-Type’: ‘application/json’}} );

You may want to check if the header already exists using headers.has() method.

Check the current value of the header.

And remove a header.

Adding the Authorisation token

Add authorization token.

Intercepting the Response

The response of the back-end server can be intercepted using the various Rxjs Operators. The map can be used to modify the response before sending it to the application. The do operator is useful for logging the events or time requests. The catch operator can be used to catch the error. The retry operator can be used to retry the failed operation.


The following example code shows the use of do operator. The do operator is invoked whenever certain events take place on an Observable.

In the above example, do is invoked twice. First time when the request is sent to the server (event={type: 0}). The second time when the response is received (event instanceof HttpResponse)

Modify Response

The following code shows the use of the map operator, which allows us to transform the response. The response can be modified using the method clone (the response object is immutable). Then return the cloned response. The example below replaces the entire response body with the new body and returns the response.

Catching the Error

The errors can be caught with the catch operator. The catch callback gets the HttpErrorResponse as its argument, which represents an error object. It contains information about headers, status, statusText  & URL, etc.  

Cancel the current Request

We can also cancel the current request by returning the EMPTY observable.

The following code snippet checks if the user is logged in. If not then it will not send the request to server.

Change the Requested URL

You can change the requested URL before it sent to the server. The HttpRequest contains the url property, which you can change before sending the request.

This is useful when you want to add the base URL of all the requests, change HTTP to HTTPS etc.



We learned how to intercept HTTP request & response using the new HttpClientModule.  The Interceptor can be useful for adding custom headers to the outgoing request, logging the incoming response, etc.  

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