How to make API calls in Python?

Sun Feb 13 2022

4 min read

Python is one of today's most widely used programming languages with thousands of applications. It is not just limited to Machine Learning but also has several frameworks for web development. You can use Django to develop a full-stack web app or use Flask to develop your application’s backend with Python.

You cannot talk about web development without discussing the role of APIs. Before jumping into how you can use APIs in Python, let’s briefly look at it first.

Application Programming Interface (API)

The Application Programming Interface (API) is like a middle man, connecting two sides; a waiter takes your order and brings you food. It is a channel that applications utilize to talk with each other. You put some information at one end, and the API takes that information and gets back with a result.

We have extensively discussed APIs before, so if you are interested in looking at a few pieces, click here.

Consuming APIs in Python

Early we have discussed Python and APIs. Now let’s look at how you can make API calls in Python. We will do this in a bunch of steps to make it easier to follow along. So let’s jump in!

→ STEP #1: Finding an API

Instead of looking up APIs on the Internet, let’s go to RapidAPI Hub and create an account if you haven’t already.

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Once you have logged in, you will see thousands of APIs at your call. I have already found a freemium Random Facts API that you can use.

To use this API, you need to subscribe to it first. You can do this by clicking on Subscribe to Test button.

Once you click the button, you will be redirected to another page where different available subscription packages will be shown. Let’s go with the free one for now.

→ STEP #2: Virtual Environment

Make sure you have Python installed on your computer. Create a directory and open it in your preferred code editors. I am using VSCode.

You should create a virtual environment when working with Python so your packages are not installed globally. The virtual environment can be created using Python’s virtualenv package.

You can install this by opening your terminal and entering the following command there:

pip install virtualenv

This command will globally install virtualenv package on your computer. Now open your terminal again and type the following there:

virtualenv env

It will create an env directory with your virtual environment files. There is no need to change and open any files in the virtual environment.

There are different commands to activate the virtual environment on Linux and Windows. Choose the command from below that fits the bill for you:

# for linux
source env/Scripts/activate
# for windows
source env/bin/activate

Ensure you activate the virtual environment by running the command according to your operating system.

→ STEP #3: Installing Packages

Once your virtual environment is activated, install Python’s requests package by running the following command in the terminal:

pip install requests

It will install the requests package locally in your project.

→ STEP #4: Calling The API

Now create a file called in the root directory of your project. Open this file and import the requests package at the top:

import requests

On the Random Facts API page, you will find code snippets of how you can use this API with different languages. Since we are using Python, let’s choose the (Python) Requests from the dropdown.

Copy the code snippet and paste it into your file.

import requests
url = ""
headers = {
'x-rapidapi-host': "",
'x-rapidapi-key': "YOUR-RAPIDAPI-HUB-Key"
response = requests.request("GET", url, headers=headers)

Once you are done, run the code by opening the terminal and running the following:


You will see a random fact from the API printed on the terminal. Once you are done, you can deactivate the virtual environment by running the following command:


Wrap Up

This guide was an introduction to consuming APIs in Python. We hope that now you can start using APIs in your awesome Python projects.