Webhooks - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Adam DuVander
Reviewed by Adam DuVander
Last updated August 27, 2018

You might have seen webhooks mentioned in your apps' settings and wondered if they're something you should use. The answer, in a nutshell, is probably yes.

Webhooks are one way that apps can send automated messages or information to other apps. It's how PayPal tells your accounting app when your clients pay you, how Twilio routes phone calls to your number, and how WooCommerce can notify you about new orders in Slack.

They're a simple way your online accounts can "speak" to each other and get notified automatically when something new happens. In many cases, you'll need to know how to use webhooks if you want to automatically push data from one app to another.

Let's break it down, learn how to speak webhook, and get your favorite apps to talk to each other.

What Are Webhooks?

There are two ways your apps can communicate with each other to share information: polling and webhooks. As one of our customer champion's friends has explained it: Polling is like knocking on your friend’s door and asking if they have any sugar. Webhooks are like someone tossing a bag of sugar at your house whenever they buy some.

Webhooks are automated messages sent from apps when something happens. They have a message—or payload—and are sent to a unique URL—essentially the app's phone number or address.

They're much like SMS notifications. Say your bank sends you an SMS when you make a new purchase. You already told the bank your phone number, so they knew where to send the message. They type out "You just spent $10 at NewStore" and send it to your phone number +1-234-567-8900. Something happened at your bank, and you got a message about it. All is well.

Webhooks work the same way.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Webhooks Integration Details

Launched on Zapier November 8, 2011

Zapier combines Triggers (like "Retrieve Poll") and Actions (like "PUT") to complete an action in one app when a trigger occurs in another app. These combos—called "Zaps"—complete your tasks automatically.

The following Webhooks Triggers, Searches, and Actions are supported by Zapier:

PUT

Fire off a single PUT request as a form or JSON.

POST

Fire off a single POST request as a form or JSON.

Custom Request

Fire off a custom request by providing raw details. Very flexible but unforgiving.

GET

Fire off a single GET request with optional querystrings.

Retrieve Poll

Poll a URL and look for new entries.

Catch Hook

Wait for a new POST, PUT, or GET to a Zapier URL.

Catch Raw Hook

Wait for a new POST, PUT, or GET to a Zapier URL. Gives the request body unparsed (max 2 MB) and also includes headers.

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About Webhooks by Zapier

Built-In

Webhooks simply POST data (or JSON) to a specific URL every time we see something new. Webhooks can also accept data (or JSON) to kick off a workflow in Zapier.