What's the point?Preflight requests arose as CORS made it possible to specify more headers and requests methods in a request than was previously possible to make cross origin. This meant that some servers were developed under the assumption that they would not receive these cross-origin requests and would thus be protected from them. A preflight request provides a way for the server to opt into receiving these requests, as the server must respond to the OPTIONS request with the types of methods, headers, and origins that it accepts. This protects the server (particularly older servers), without the need for the server to change as if it doesn't respond to the OPTIONS request with headers that match the request, then the subsequent request will not be made.
Note: not all HTTP requests will have a preflight request. If the request was possible cross-origin prior to CORS, then a preflight request will not be made as older servers should have handled any security around these requests themselves.
How to get the preflight request to succeed?Assuming that the server responds to the OPTIONS request successfully, the website should not need to make any further changes as the further requests will be handled by the browser. So if you are using a publicly exposed API and your request is failing on the OPTIONS request, you will need to confirm that the API is accepting your domain, headers and method you submitted the request with. You can do this by checking the OPTIONS response meets the following criteria:
- Access-Control-Allow-Headers header with comma-separated list of headers you made your request with
- Access-Control-Allow-Origin header with * or domain matching that which you are making the request from
- Access-Control-Allow-Methods header with comma-separated list of methods you can access the endpoint with
- Status is 200
If you want to enable your API to handle preflight requests, then you will need to be able to accept and OPTIONS request and respond to the requester with the above headers/status. The actually implementation of this will be down to the technologies you have developed your APIs using but there will commonly be APIs available to enable CORS. Note: your API that is available due cross-domain will also need to have GET/PUT/POST etc, with these headers.