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What are API Rate Limits?

by Iwan Price-Evans on Security • June 9, 2022

API rate limiting is a way to prevent abuse of services that provide APIs (application programming interfaces). API rate limits work by setting a cap on how many times a user can make a request within a certain period of time. This prevents people from making too many requests against a particular API at once.

Why Should I Care About API Rate Limits?

If you're building a web app or mobile app, then you need to think about how much data you'll be sending back and forth with APIs. You might not realize it, but every API call you make counts towards your quota.

API providers use rate-limiting to limit the rate at which users or other applications and services can make API calls. If you are an API provider, you should be using rate-limiting to prevent abuse and ensure availability and performance for all your API users.

Benefits Of API Rate Limits

For API providers, there are several benefits to using API rate limits. They help protect against abuse, ensure consistent performance for meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and enable better customer support.

How Can I Set API Rate Limits?

You can use an API gateway to set rate limits on your APIs, along with providing access control, user authentication, API security, and Quality of Service (QoS).

What Kinds of API Rate Limits Exist?

API providers often offer different kinds of rate limits. These limits are usually based on how much data is being requested, how frequently the request is made, and/or how many concurrent users are making requests.