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Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) is a mechanism that uses additional HTTP headers to tell a browser to let a web application running at one origin (domain) have permission to access selected resources from a server at a different origin. A web application makes a cross-origin HTTP request when it requests a resource that has a different origin (domain, protocol, and port) than its own origin.

An example of a cross-origin request: The frontend JavaScript code for a web application served from http://domain-a.com uses XMLHttpRequest to make a request for http://api.domain-b.com/data.json.

For security reasons, browsers restrict cross-origin HTTP requests initiated from within scripts. For example, XMLHttpRequest and the Fetch API follow the same-origin policy. This means that a web application using those APIs can only request HTTP resources from the same origin the application was loaded from, unless the response from the other origin includes the right CORS headers.

The CORS mechanism supports secure cross-origin requests and data transfers between browsers and web servers. Modern browsers use CORS in an API container such as XMLHttpRequest or Fetch to help mitigate the risks of cross-origin HTTP requests.

The Cross-Origin Resource Sharing standard works by adding new HTTP headers that allow servers to describe the set of origins that are permitted to read that information using a web browser. Additionally, for HTTP request methods that can cause side-effects on server’s data (in particular, for HTTP methods other than GET, or for POST usage with certain MIME types), the specification mandates that browsers “preflight” the request, soliciting supported methods from the server with an HTTP OPTIONS request method, and then, upon “approval” from the server, sending the actual request with the actual HTTP request method. Servers can also notify clients whether “credentials” (including Cookies and HTTP Authentication data) should be sent with requests.

CORS failures result in errors, but for security reasons, specifics about what went wrong are not available to JavaScript code. All the code knows is that an error occurred. The only way to determine what specifically went wrong is to look at the browser’s console for details.

(source: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/CORS)