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Asif Rashid
Asif Rashid

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API Key use in REST APIs

What is API key?

An API key is a code passed in by a computer program to identify the calling program and provide access to its resources, such as retrieving or updating a particular resource in a REST API. It acts as a secret authentication token passed between the client and the server to identify the calling program and provide access to the resources it requests.

What is the relationship between API key and REST APIs?

API keys are used in REST APIs to authenticate and authorize access to resources. When a client requests a REST API, it passes the API key as a parameter in the request. The server then uses the API key to identify the calling client and determine what level of access it should be granted. For example, an API key might be used to control access to specific resources, limit the rate at which requests can be made, or track usage statistics. By using API keys, REST APIs can enforce security and access control policies and help prevent unauthorized access to resources.

How can client provide apikey to REST API?

The client can pass the API Key in the following ways in REST APIs:

  • As a query parameter: The API Key can be passed as a query parameter in the URL of the REST API request. For example:
  • In the request header: The API Key can be passed in the request header of the REST API request. This is typically the most secure method of passing an API Key as it is not visible in the URL.
  • In a cookie: The API Key can also be passed in a cookie, but this is less common in REST APIs.

It's important to note that the method of passing the API Key should be agreed upon between the client and the API provider, as this will affect how the API Key is validated and authorized.

What are the pros and cons of apikey?

Pros of using API key in REST APIs:

  • Easy to implement: API key is simple to implement and does not require much effort.
  • Scalability: API key can handle a large number of requests and can be easily scaled up as required.
  • Easy to manage: API keys can be easily managed and revoked in case of security breaches.

Cons of using API key in REST APIs:

  • Security: API keys can be easily shared or leaked and there is a potential security risk if the keys are not kept confidential.
  • Limited access control: API keys provide limited access control and it is not possible to restrict specific actions or endpoints.
  • No user context: API keys do not provide any user context, making it difficult to implement user-based access control.

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