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What is an API key?

Educative Answers Team

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. In short, API is the protocol for communication between different applications.

For example: A software developer might use a weather API like darksky to fetch weather information for his/her weather reporting app.

How do API keys work?

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In order to call an API, the “caller” has to send unique identifying information as an identifier to the API service provider. This identifier is called an API key.

There are two main functions of an API key:

Recognition: To allow the service provider to identify the calling user/application. This information allows the service provider to track calls by individual caller, monitor trends, and ensure the caller doesn’t “abuse” the resource.

Access control: To allow the service provider to grant access to the calling user/application.

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api key
databases
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Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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