Introduction to API Gateways

Wed Oct 13 2021

2 min read

When working with APIs, you will come across API Gateways sooner or later. It sends the incoming API traffic to the API management system that handles various other functions. Let’s take a look at it.

What is an API Gateway?

An API Gateway accepts API requests from a client, directs them to the appropriate services, and then combines the results into a synchronous experience. To put it simply, the API Gateway first takes all the requests from a client, understands these requests and determines which services are needed, and then combines them into a unified, seamless experience for the user.

The API Gateway is an API management tool that sits between client and server. API Gateways performs various functions, including authentication, routing, rate limiting, billing, monitoring, analytics, policies, alerts, security, etc.

API Gateway Usage

As briefly mentioned above, API Gateway has several usages. You can use it to implement authentication and rate-limiting to protect your APIs from overuse and abuse. This will act as a countermeasure in case there is a Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. It can also be used to add analytics and monitoring to understand how people are using your API. You can use it to connect to a billing system if you are monetizing your API.

Benefits of API Gateway

There are several benefits of using API Gateways. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • You can standardize and also centralize the delivery of services through APIs or microservices using API Gateway.
  • It provides flexibility because they are highly configurable. The developers can write the internal structure of an application in multiple ways to invoke multiple backend services using the API Gateway.
  • It allows enterprises that rely on legacy applications to work with those apps or extend their functionality.
  • It contributes towards monitoring and observability. The API Gateway logs can pinpoint an issue during a monitoring failure.