What is API health and how do I monitor it?

Published on 2022-01-11

APIs are a great way to provide programmatic access to a company’s data. However, as your API usage grows you need to monitor your API health and performance. This is why the management of APIs is critical – it’s not just a matter of providing the right access, but monitoring allows properly to understand your APIs health and performance.

What is API health?

API health is the availability, performance and function of your API endpoints and the business transactions that APIs support. Understanding how your APIs are behaving, and identify degradation of availability, speed, performance and functionality.

Why is it important?

Many organizations rely on APIs to run critical parts of their business, be it a third-party API or developed in-house APIs are everywhere. Having a reliable API allows teams to build software quickly, as they don’t need to build everything from scratch.

APIs are crucial to so much of the web, that having an API perform poorly or even go down completely, for any reason, can majorly disrupt businesses.

What should I be monitoring?

When it comes to monitoring API health how do you know what your should be monitoring, and what you doesn’t need monitoring. While what you should be monitoring varies from API to API, we have listed below what we think you should be monitoring to understand any degradation in your APIs:

  • HTTP Status Code: Identifying if one or more of your API endpoints seeing a high level of 404 or 500 http status allows your identify problems or moments of degraded service.
  • Response times: Analyze the response times of your API to identify bottlenecks, and potential optimizations.

How do I monitor API health?

You can monitor your API health by using a dedicated API monitoring tool, such as Callcounter, to measure and record response times and status codes, while giving you historic and trend data to fully understand your API health. Being able to share this information, in a simple and intuitive way, with all of your team is important when communicating issues to customers.

Best Practices for API health

Understanding your API health is essential, here are some best practices to help you monitor and understand your API health:

Response Times are important

Are any of your endpoints taking over 30 seconds to respond? Has your response time increased during peak traffic, or after a recent deploy. You may have identified a potential bottleneck in your API.

Response Status Code

Having your API return the correct status code, and being able to monitor them in an API monitoring tool allows you to monitor issues with your API, highlight problem user agents and identify API degradation.

Automate API health monitoring

Measuring your API health should be automatic. Use a dedicated API monitoring solution to maintain visibility to your API during downtime and incidents.

Check API health often

Checking often allows you to understand trends and changes in your API health. Being able to identify peak usage, and how recent code changes have affected your API health.

Monitoring your API health is a great way to get a better understanding of the users who interact with your APIs. Tracking response times and status codes allows you to pinpoint problem areas, and can even help you predict the growth of your API.