MySAMi > API > What is an API key? What do they do?


17 March 2023

Written By:
Ainara Vergara

What is an API key? What do they do?


API – Application Programming Interface, is a set of functions that enables the transfer of data from one entity to another. This enables monetizing the data available and expanding financial capabilities for the company.

What is an API key?

An API key is a code that gives you access to a particular program or application. They’re usually generated by the provider of the program or app, and they’re used to authenticate your identity and give you the ability to use the program or app’s features.

Also Read: What is API Endpoint?

API keys are typically long strings of letters and numbers, and they’re usually case-sensitive. Once you have an API key, you’ll need to keep it secret – if someone else gets ahold of your API key, they could gain access to your account and misuse it.

Types of API keys

There are two types of keys: 

  1. Public API keys: They are provided to anyone who wants to use APIs. They are meant to be used in conjunction with API documentation.
  1. Private API keys: These keys are provided for specific users or applications. They are also meant to be used in conjunction with API documentation.

What do API keys do?

API keys are generated for a variety of reasons, but the most common use for them is to give developers access to an application so they can build tools and integrations for it. For example, if you’re a developer who wants to build a tool that works with a certain app, you’ll need to generate an API key from that app’s provider in order to access its API.

Also Read: Top 5 API risks and best practices to mitigate them

If you’re using an API key for authentication, you’ll typically need to include it in a header or as a parameter in a URL when making a request to the API. The process for doing this will vary depending on the API, but most providers will have detailed documentation on how to do it.

API keys are a convenient way to give developers access to an API, but they should be used with caution. Make sure you understand how an API key works before you generate one, and always keep your API keys secret.

The importance of API keys is ever-increasing as companies transfer data that need proper security and authentication. Though API keys are not the best available security measures for data, they are extremely necessary to ensure the safety and security of the assets of the company.

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