Endoscopic stents have evolved dramatically over the past 20 years. With the introduction of uncovered self-expanding metal stents in the early 1990s, they are primarily used to palliate symptoms of malignant obstruction in patients with inoperable gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. At present, stents have emerged as an effective, safe, and less invasive alternative for the treatment of malignant GI obstruction. Clinical decisions about stent placement should be made based on the exact understanding of the patient's condition. These recommendations based on a critical review of the available data and expert consensus are made for the purpose of providing endoscopists with information about stent placement. These can be helpful for management of patients with inoperable cancer or various nonmalignant conditions in the upper GI tract.