Throttling your API is one of the best practices for any online business. However, for a lot of entrepreneurs struggling to play catch-up with the digitalization brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, certain questions might arise, like “Why is throttling so important?,” What is throttling?,” and “What is an API?”
API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is needed for applications to communicate with each other. Basically, if any message is sent to your smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet, an API is needed. DMs and posts on social media also use APIs.
API throttling is the management of the number of API requests, API calls, incoming requests, and concurrent requests at the gateway of a system to minimize the queue. A throttle limit establishes a maximum number of requests that are allowed to pass through the throttling threshold within a given period of time.
Three Benefits of Throttling
Depending on the type of online business you operate, there can be many benefits from including throttling in your API strategies. Three benefits that come to mind are security, monetization, and speed.
The problem with a high volume of requests in the queue is that there can be a lot of important data and sensitive information at the endpoint of the API system. Mixed in with these API requests and API calls can be malware, phishing attacks, and denial of service (DOS) attacks.
By setting a rate limit for the number of requests in the queue, the API system administrator can establish a throttling threshold at the gateway. This throttling threshold will allow time for important security-related tasks like authentication and verification.
Rate-limit throttling is also key for the pursuit of profit in any online business. The sales pipeline of every online business has a call to action at the endpoint of its API system. However, if there are a high volume of requests and an overwhelming number of calls in the queue of the API system, there can be a clog in the queue.
The problem is that if there is a clog in the queue, it can slow down the transaction and have a negative effect on CRM. The customer journey needs to be as smooth as possible, and any pitfall at any stage of the journey can cancel the sale, or even worse, jeopardize the relationship.
If you don’t want your web service slowed down by a flood of concurrent requests, subsequent requests, and new requests, then a throttling threshold included among your API strategies might be a good idea. Establishing a rate limit on the number of API requests that can pass through your API system gateway within a certain time frame can greatly enhance the speed of your web service.
It is also important to note that there is more than one way to establish a rate limit. You can establish a rate limit on a user-level basis so that the less lucrative users have a quota on their API requests within a given time window, and you can establish a window algorithm to enforce that quota. You can also assign a rate limit based on servers and reroute a high number of calls and API requests to different servers to free up the backlog and speed up the traffic on your web service. Finally, you can establish rate limits based on geography. Since different users in different parts of the world are active at different times of the day due to time zones, you can reroute a number of calls and API requests to servers in other parts of the world that are basically asleep.
The key takeaway is that security, monetization, and speed are all crucial for your online business. If throttling will help get you there, why not pursue it?