What Is API Monitoring? A Guide To The Best Tools For Monitoring APIs

Danielle Richardson Ellis
Danielle Richardson Ellis

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The world of APIs can be complex to navigate, but having the right tools makes it more accessible. Imagine yourself driving on a long road trip: you wouldn't just start with no map and no plan; instead, you'd have an idea of your destination, an up-to-date roadmap showing all the roads in between, and some trusty navigational tools that indicate potential issues along the way.

Person on tablet studying API monitoring tools

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In much the same way, having reliable API monitoring tools helps guide us through managing our APIs more efficiently and safely. Today we'll cover what API monitoring is (and why it's important) and dive into some great options for free and paid versions of these essential resources. Let's hit the highway!

What is API Monitoring?

API monitoring is the practice of observing API performance, availability, and functionality to ensure that API operations are running smoothly. It involves tracking a variety of variables such as response times, errors, latency, and other metrics to check for potential issues or discrepancies. This allows developers to quickly identify and troubleshoot any emerging problems before they become major issues.

When done correctly, API monitoring can help developers rapidly diagnose and resolve technical issues to maintain a smooth user experience. It is also valuable for providing data that can be used to make well-informed decisions about optimizing an API's performance and scalability over time.

How does API Monitoring work?

API monitoring automatically checks API performance and availability at regular intervals to ensure that the API runs appropriately. This can be done in a few different ways, depending on the type of API being monitored.

For example, an API monitoring system might look for common errors, such as 500-level responses or timeouts, when making requests to the API. It also checks for latency issues or sudden spikes in traffic, which can indicate potential system issues. In addition, a monitoring system can be configured to track specific metrics such as total requests, response times, and other performance indicators over time.

Now let's look at some tools we can use for monitoring our APIs.

What Are the Best API Monitoring Tools?

Free Tools for Monitoring APIs

1. Postman

This popular tool allows developers to easily monitor, analyze, and debug their APIs. It provides real-time insights into API performance and offers a range of features such as automated alerts, detailed analytics, and comprehensive reporting capabilities.

2. Runscope

An easy-to-use cloud-based solution that can be used to build custom test suites and track the health of your entire API infrastructure in one central location. It also integrates with over 100+ services and applications (such as Slack, HipChat, etc.) to help you get the information you need quickly and easily.

3. Apigee

A cloud-hosted API monitoring tool that provides detailed API analytics about traffic and performance. It also integrates with your existing DevOps systems to provide insights into the entire API lifecycle, from design to deployment.

Paid Tools for Monitoring APIs

1. New Relic

One of the most well-known paid options, New Relic's API monitoring services are tailored to developers' needs and offer real-time and historical monitoring capabilities. It can easily be integrated with various DevOps tools, such as Jenkins and Travis CI, providing a comprehensive view of how your APIs perform over time.

2. Dynatrace

Dynatrace is another popular option that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect potential issues in your API's performance and alert you to any changes. This allows developers to identify and resolve issues before they become more significant problems quickly.

3. AppDynamics

This powerful tool provides detailed insights into how your web services perform by capturing data points such as response times, throughput, call stacking, and more. It also integrates with other DevOps tools for a comprehensive view of application performance.

Choosing an API Monitoring Tool

No matter which tool you choose for monitoring APIs, having the right tools in place can make all the difference in ensuring smooth operations and a great customer experience. Whether troubleshooting existing issues or optimizing performance over time, reliable API monitoring is essential for maintaining a healthy API infrastructure.

Using the right API monitoring tools, developers can easily monitor and analyze API performance to identify potential problems and proactively address them before they cause any downtime or other issues. Whether you're looking for a free or paid solution, many options are available to help you get the most out of your API monitoring.

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