APIs have become an essential part of many web and mobile apps. From Google and Facebook to Amazon (AWS,) many tech giants use APIs. In fact, most of us often use an API without knowing it. For instance, when we check weather data on a weather app, we essentially use an API. Similarly, every time we log in to Facebook or make a request, we use an API. An API (Application Programming Interface) enables two apps or software to talk to each other and exchange data. Hence, they speed up the app development process because developers don’t have to create data sets for their apps from scratch. Today, there are a variety of free APIs to use, such as marketing API, Spotify API, weather API, and Twitter API. However, not all free APIs offer the features that you need.
In this article, we’ll discuss how an API works and the features of the best free APIs. We’ll also show you the best API marketplace to get free APIs.
Table of Contents
What Is An API, And How Does It Work?
An API refers to a set of functions and protocols that enable two apps to interact and exchange data. It can access the functionality, data, and features of other apps, software, or systems. Today, thousands of apps use public APIs. For example, a weather app uses an API to fetch or retrieve real-time weather data and show it to users in a readable way.
Two key elements of an API include the API keys and API endpoints. An API key is a unique access token or key for each user. An API endpoint is essentially the location that the API uses to access the resources required to perform a specific function. Developers use endpoints to access the data they need for their apps. You can typically find information regarding access keys, API methods, endpoints, and events in the public API documentation.
How Does An API Work?
Here’s how an API works:
- First, receiving application initiates an API call to retrieve the required information or data. This is done by making a request to the web server using the API endpoint and URI (Uniform Resource Identifier). API calls are also known as API requests.
- When the API receives the request, it calls the other app’s web server. Next, the server returns the requested data.
- The API sends the information/data to the receiving application that initiated the request.
What Do Users Expect From Free APIs, And What’s the Reality?
Every developer wants highly-accurate and up-to-date data for their apps, whether they’re using a paid or free API. The accuracy of APIs depends on their data sources, and unfortunately, not all APIs provide accurate data. However, if you’re using free APIs from the APILayer marketplace, you’ll get highly accurate data.
Users naturally expect to get real-time data from APIs. For example, if you’re using a weather API for your app, you would want real-time and current weather data. Similarly, if you’re using a currency conversion API, you would want the most up-to-date currency data.
Users often want historical data to understand trends and patterns and make informed decisions accordingly. For example, users want historical weather data to understand weather patterns over the years. Similarly, users want historical data from a currency conversion API to understand trends and make the right decision. But not all APIs offer historical data. However, you can use a weather API like weatherstack and a currency API like currencylayer to get accurate real-time and historical data.
Users always want detailed information from an API. Take, for example, a weather API. Users expect parameters like current temperature, wind speed, humidity, pressure, UV index, precipitation, etc. However, most weather APIs only return temperature and humidity data. If you want detailed weather data, you can use weatherstack API by APILayer.
Users want data from an API in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand format. That’s why all free APIs on APILayer are REST APIs that return data in JSON format, which is lightweight and human-readable.
Efficient free API services return data quickly, usually within seconds, so that users don’t have to wait for long. For example, weatherstack API returns data in milliseconds and has an uptime of almost 100%, thanks to its efficient cloud infrastructure.
Ease of Use
Naturally, users expect APIs to integrate easily and have detailed documentation. However, many APIs are unstable and have poor documentation and design. That said, all the APIs on the APILayer marketplace come with extensive documentation consisting of coding examples in different programming languages and all the details regarding API events, endpoints, and methods.
Many APIs that claim to be free offer only a limited free trial period, after which users must subscribe to a paid pricing plan. However, all the APIs on the APILayer marketplace come with a completely free plan as well as paid plans with access to advanced features.
Where Can You Find The Best Free APIs?
If you’re looking for the best free APIs to use, the APILayer marketplace is definitely the right place. Here’s why you should choose APILayer’s APIs:
- APILayer offers 75+ secure and scalable APIs, such as weather API, IP Geolocation API, exchange rates API, SERP APIs, number verification API, and many more. Additionally, new efficient APIs are constantly added to the marketplace.
- All APIs are easy to use and have detailed documentation explaining all the API events, methods, and endpoints.
- All APIs use reliable data sources to provide high-accurate data.
- APIs like SERP APIs, weather APIs, currency APIs, etc., provide real-time as well as historical data. Weather API also provides weather forecast data.
- All APIs on APILayer are REST APIs that return data in an easy-to-read JSON format.
- All APIs have a free plan, and you don’t need to provide credit card details to use the free plan.
- APILayer reviews all the APIs in detail before making them available for public use. Hence, you can be sure all APIs are reliable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use an API for free?
If you want an API that offers a free plan, check out the APILayer marketplace, which consists of a wide range of free APIs.
What are the best free APIs?
Some of the best free-to-use APIs include weatherstack, ipstack, currencylayer, coinlayer, and positionstack. You can find all these APIs and more on the APILayer marketplace.
What are the examples of API marketplace?
APILayer, Saasify, RapidAPI, and Rakuten are the most popular API marketplaces.