The term postback has two meanings, depending on the context: one in relation to eCommerce as a web service , and another in relation to web development .

In eCommerce

In the context of eCommerce, the term is used to describe a transaction in the merchant’s affiliate system. More specifically, it is a web service written for an affiliate sales tracking software system for a third-party merchant system to send or “POST” the data to. The term “Postback” is used here to describe the payment processor with the transaction receipt, which is to “Post Back” to the merchant’s affiliate program, notifying it of a successful transaction, so that it can then credit affiliates with their earnings . [1]

In web development

In the context of web development, a postback is an HTTP POST to the same page that the form is on. In other words, the contents of the form are POST ed back to the same URL as the form. [2]

Postbacks are commonly seen in edit forms, where the user introduces information in a form and hits “save” or “submit”, causing a postback. The server then refreshes the same page using the information it has just received.

Postbacks are most commonly discussed in JSF and ASP or ASP.NET .

In ASP, a form and its POST action has resulted in a few separate pages, resulting in a need for a postback. This problem is addressed in ASP.NET with the __doPostBack()application and application model that allows a page to be validated and processed on its own data.

In JSF, postbacks trigger the full JSF life-cycle, which just like ASP.NET performs conversion and validation of the data that was included in the postback. Various utility methods are present in the JSF API to programmatically check if a given request is a postback or not.


  1. Jump up^ EBusiness Postback
  2. Jump up^ How to postback works in ASP.NET