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What is AWS API Gateway?

Alekh Verma | March 14, 2023
AWS API Gateway

To construct, publish, maintain, monitor, and protect APIs at any size, developers can use the fully managed service known asAmazon API Gateway. Applications use APIs as their "front door" to data, business logic, or functionality in your backend services.

You can build WebSocket and RESTful APIs with API Gateway to enable apps with real-time two-way communication. Web apps, serverless workloads, and containerized workloads are all supported by API Gateway.

Traffic management, CORS support, permission and access control, throttling, monitoring, and API version management are all duties that API Gateway takes care of while accepting and processing up to hundreds of thousands of API calls concurrently. There are no setup fees or minimum charges for API Gateway. Using the API Gateway tiered pricing approach, you may lower your cost as your API usage increases. You pay for the API calls you make and the data that is sent out.

What Are Different Types of AWS API Gateway? 

1.   RESTful APIs 

Both HTTP APIs and REST APIs are examples of RESTful APIs. REST APIs support more functionalities than HTTP APIs, however, HTTP APIs were created with fewer features in order to be sold for less money.

If you require functions like API keys, per-client throttling, request validation, AWS WAF integration, or private API endpoints, pick REST APIs. If you don't require the functionalities offered by REST APIs, pick HTTP APIs.

2.   WebSocket APIs 

You can construct a WebSocket API in API Gateway as a stateful frontend for an HTTP endpoint or an AWS service (like Lambda or DynamoDB). Based on the messages that it gets from client apps, the WebSocket API calls your backend. A WebSocket API allows for two-way communication between client apps and your backend as opposed to a REST API, which only accepts and answers queries. To connect clients, the backend can deliver callback messages.

Incoming JSON messages are routed to backend integrations in your WebSocket API based on the routes you have up. (Messages that are not JSON are sent to a $default route that you choose.)

A route includes a route key, which represents the outcome of the evaluation of a route selection expression. An attribute defined at the API level is routeSelectionExpression. A JSON property that should be present in the message payload is specified.

Different Features of Amazon API Gateway 

·      Private AWS ELB and Amazon Cloud Map integrations

You can direct queries to personal resources in your VPC using API Gateway. You can create HTTP APIs for services that are protected by private ALBs, private NLBs, and IP-based services listed on the AWS Cloud Map, including ECS tasks.

·      Resiliency 

By enabling you to create throttling rules depending on the number of requests per second for each HTTP method in your APIs, API Gateway aids you in managing traffic to your backend services. Any volume of traffic received by an API is handled by API Gateway, freeing you to concentrate on your business services and logic rather than on infrastructure upkeep.

To prevent hitting your backend services with every request, if you're utilizing REST APIs, you may also set up a cache for your API data with programmable keys and a time-to-live in seconds.

·      Simple API Development and Distribution

You can quickly and easily develop a custom API using API Gateway to call the Lambda code that is currently running on AWS. AMAZON Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon EC2, or other web services with publicly accessible HTTP endpoints can all be accessed using API Gateway, as well as state machines launched with AWS Step Functions.

You may define your REST API and the resources and methods that go with it using the API Gateway console. You can also control your API lifecycle, create client SDKs, and see API metrics.

·      Operation Monitoring for APIs

API Gateway gives you a dashboard to visually track calls to the services when an API is deployed and in use. You can view backend performance metrics such as API calls, latency, and error rates because the API Gateway dashboard is connected to Amazon CloudWatch.

Because API Gateway records monitoring data using CloudWatch, you can configure unique alarms on API Gateway. In order to facilitate debugging, it can additionally record API execution problems to CloudWatch Logs.

·      AWS Authorization

You can use signature version 4 for REST APIs and WebSocket APIs with API Gateway to approve and validate API calls to AWS services. You may approve access to your APIs and all of your other Amazon services using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and access policies when using signature version 4 authentication. Bearer tokens like JWT tokens or SAML assertions can also be verified and authorized using Amazon Lambda services.

·      API Keys for Third-Party Developers 

If you use REST APIs, API Gateway can assist you in controlling the ecosystem of outside developers who use your APIs. To allow third-party developers access to your APIs, you can generate API keys on API Gateway, assign granular access permissions to each API key, and distribute them to them. Plans that specify throttling and request quota restrictions for each individual API key can also be created. The use of API keys is entirely optional and needs to be enabled for each individual call.

·      Support for RESTful APIs and WebSocket APIs 

Both HTTP and REST APIs can be used to develop RESTful APIs with API Gateway. The ideal way to create APIs without the need for API management features is to use HTTP APIs. In comparison to REST APIs from API Gateway, HTTP APIs are optimized for serverless workloads and HTTP backends, providing up to 71% cost savings and 60% latency reduction.

API Gateway provides REST APIs for workloads that need API proxy capabilities and API administration features in a single solution, like consumption plans and API keys. Use WebSocket APIs to create real-time, two-way communication applications like chat apps and streaming dashboards.

·      SDK Generation 

If you use REST APIs, AWS API Gateway can produce client SDKs for a variety of platforms, allowing you to quickly test new APIs from your applications and provide SDKs to outside developers.

The created SDKs manage API keys and use AWS credentials to sign regrets. For Java, JavaScript, Java for Android, Objective-C or Swift for iOS, and Ruby, API Gateway can produce client SDKs. By using the get-sdk command, you can create and download an SDK for an API for a supported platform using the Amazon CLI.

·      API Lifecycle Management 

If you're utilizing REST APIs, API Gateway enables you to run many iterations of the same API concurrently so that apps can still contact older iterations of the API even after the most recent iterations have been made public. Moreover, API Gateway aids in managing the alpha, beta, and production release stages for each API version.

Depending on how your API is built up, each API stage can be configured to communicate with various backend endpoints. An API's stages and versions can be controlled by API Gateway and linked to a unique domain name. It is simple to test new API versions that improve or add new features to prior API releases thanks to stage and version management, which also assures backward compatibility as user communities switch over to the most recent release.

Benefits of Using AWS API Gateway 

1.   Streamlined API Development. 

Using API Gateway, you can run numerous iterations of the same API simultaneously, allowing you to swiftly test, develop, and release new versions. There are no minimum fees or up-front obligations; you only pay for the calls made to your APIs and the data that is transferred out.

2.   Execution On Any Scale. 

Using API Gateway, you can run numerous iterations of the same API simultaneously, allowing you to swiftly test, develop, and release new versions. There are no minimum fees or up-front obligations; you only pay for the calls made to your APIs and the data that is transferred out.

3.   Scaled-Back Cost Reductions. 

For API requests, API Gateway offers a tiered cost structure. You can reduce your costs when your API usage per region increases across all of your AWS accounts thanks to an API Requests price as low as $0.90 per million requests at the highest tier.

4.   Simple Monitoring.

You can visually track calls to your services using Amazon CloudWatch by using the API Gateway dashboard to monitor performance metrics, data latency, and error rates.

5.   Adaptable Security Measures. 

Use Amazon Cognito and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to grant users access to your APIs. API Gateway provides native OIDC and OAuth2 functionality if you utilize OAuth tokens. You can run an AWS API Gateway Lambda authorizer from AWS Lambda to satisfy specific authorization needs.

6.   Options for RESTful API 

Use HTTP APIs or REST APIs to build RESTful APIs. For the majority of use cases, HTTP APIs are the ideal choice because they can be up to 71% less expensive to develop than REST APIs. You can use REST APIs if your use case calls for API proxy functionality and administration features in a single solution.

Disadvantages of Using Amazon API Gateway 

Even though Amazon API Gateway comes with a lot of benefits, it does have its fair share of disadvantages as well: 

  • There are some issues that are created due to third-party API systems. 
  • Little security. It can be quite challenging to incorporate security procedures into every API call. It makes it harder to monitor their performance.
  • It's challenging to regard API gateway as dependable.
  • With the integration of every microservice, maintaining frequent API gateway updates becomes quite challenging. So, it becomes extremely difficult to manage when a single application expands into the services of millions of microservices.
  • The routing rules are needed for the API gateway. Thus, there are more opportunities for failure from a single location.
  • All API rules are located in one place in API Gateway. Hence, there is a complexity risk.


In this article, we’ve covered every aspect related to AWS API Gateway such as what is Amazon API Gateway, some of its most astounding features, its many benefits, and a few cons that the developers can work on rectifying. AWS API Gateway is a great help to develop a streamlined approach for retrieving data. If you wish to learn more about AWS API Gateway, then you can contact ESL’s Amazon Account Management team

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