APIs or application programming interfaces allow interaction between two applications and software, enabling them to send and receive data. Thanks to their various benefits, they are becoming increasingly common in today’s fast-paced software development world. APIs speed up web development by enabling developers to leverage existing data and functionality. Hence, they facilitate the rapid development of innovative solutions without reinventing the wheel. In terms of API protocols and architecture, SOAP and REST are two popular choices. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol, while REST(REpresentational State Transfer) is an architectural style. Today, most popular APIs use REST due to its simplicity, ease of use, and support for multiple data formats, including JSON.
Today, there are thousands of different types of APIs, from weather and geolocation to financial and web scraping APIs. This article will explore the features of seven popular APIs that can be a game-changer for your next project. Some of the most popular APIs in our list are from APILayer Marketplace, the leading API marketplace for selling and finding a range of highly-secure REST APIs.
Table of Contents
How Do REST APIs Work?
A REST API uses multiple HTTP methods to perform different actions. Some of the most common HTTP requests include:
- GET: This HTTP method allows users to extract and retrieve data/resources from the server.
- POST: This method is used for resource allocation. It enables users to create new resources on the server where the API request is sent.
- PUT: This method is similar to POST. It allows users to create a new resource or update an existing one.
- DELETE: Web developers can use this HTTP method to delete or remove a resource.
Before you use a REST API, you need an API key, which is basically a token to authenticate and identify a user for security purposes. You can get your API key by signing up with the API provider. Once you have your unique API key, you can start making API requests using a simple URL. In REST APIs, a unique URL is used to identify a specific resource.
Here is how a REST API works:
- The user or receiving app makes an API request or call using an API endpoint to retrieve data. The request is sent to the Web server through the API’s URI. An API’s URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) consists of a request body, header parameters, and request verb.
- The API receives the user request and calls the web server of the other app or program.
- The server responds by providing the requested data or information.
- The REST API sends the data to the app or user that initiated the request.
What are the Most Popular APIs?
If you’re a developer building a software application that provides location based on a given IP address or you’re a business owner looking to find the location of your website visitors, ipstack can be an invaluable tool for you. Ipstack is the best IP-to-geolocation API known for its high accuracy, blazing-fast speed, and range of API endpoints and features. The API uses 256-bit SSL encryption (HTTPS) to secure all the data processed or sent to the API. From Samsung and Mircosoft to Airbnb and Hubspot, thousands of enterprises, SMBs, and developers use ipstack.
- Ipstack uses rock-solid data sources, including large ISPs (Internet Service Providers), and delivers highly accurate and consistent real-time IP to geolocation data.
- The API returns detailed location data, including geographical coordinates, continent, city, region, and country.
- The IP geolocation API covers more than 2 million unique locations worldwide in over 200,000 cities. It also supports IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, allowing users to request location data of almost any IP address from any part of the world.
- The API also offers a bulk lookup endpoint, allowing users to request location data of up to 50 IP addresses simultaneously.
- Connection Module provides helpful information about the ASN and hostname of the ISP associated with the requested IP address.
- Security Module enables users to examine risks and security threats originating from suspicious IP addresses.
- Ipstack also offers Currency and Time Zone modules that provide information regarding the current and time zone of the location returned against a given IP address.
Fixer has been around for more than six years, and it is one of the most popular APIs for currency conversion and retrieving foreign exchange rate data. The API is used by hundreds of developers, SMBs, and enterprises, including Samsung, Microsoft, and Instacart.
- The API delivers highly-accurate data sources from 15 trusted and reliable exchange rate data sources, including European Central Bank and several financial data providers and other banks.
- The API allows you to retrieve real-time foreign exchange rate dais updated every hour, 10 minutes, or 60 seconds, depending on your subscription plan.
- Fixer also supports historical data all the way back to 1999. There is a separate endpoint for Time-Series data as well, which returns historical exchange rates between two dates selected by the user.
- The API supports 170+ currencies worldwide and has an endpoint for single currency conversion.
- The API has extensive documentation that provides all the information about the API endpoints, parameters, methods, and capabilities. The API documentation also has various coding examples.
- Fixer has a free plan offering 1000 API calls per month as well as various flexible pricing plans.
Next on the list of popular APIs is a leading weather API called weatherstack. The weather API is trusted by 75,000+ businesses across the globe, including Schneider, Ericsson, and Microsoft, to retrieve accurate weather data or build a weather app.
- The API provides global weather data, covering millions of towns and cities worldwide.
- Weatherstack supports 40 languages.
- The API provides highly accurate and detailed real-time data for any location of your choice.
- Weatherstack also supports historical weather data all the way back to 2008 and forecasts weather data for as many as 14 days into the future. The API also allows users to enable hourly updates to get hour-by-hour data or define 24, 12, 6, or 3-hour intervals.
- The API also returns astronomy and lunar data, such as sunset time, sunrise time, moon phase, moonrise time, moonset time, etc.
- The high-performance API can process millions of requests efficiently and has an uptime of almost 100%.
- The API offers a Bulk endpoint, allowing users to simultaneously access data from multiple locations.
Zenserp offers a popular SERP (Search Engine Results Page) API that enables users to scrape real-time Google SERP data. The API also supports data scrapping of Google shopping results, Google Trends, reverse image search, Youtube API endpoint, and more.
- The robust API can handle millions of search results without compromising performance.
- The API supports standard search, paid results and ads, image search, maps search, news search, and many more.
- Zenserp also supports Knowledge graphs, Answer box Results, and People also ask for results.
- The API returns detailed information, including title, destination, ranking of a post on Google, description, date the post was published, and URL.
- In addition to Google, the API also supports Bing, Youtube, Yandex, etc.
- The Zenserp API comes with detailed documentation that consists of all the details regarding the API endpoints, methods, parameters, and events. It also provides coding examples for various use cases.
Google Maps API
Another API worth mentioning in the list of popular APIs is the official Google Maps API, which enables developers to access the functionality of the Google Maps platform.
- The web-based API enables developers to create interactive and dynamic maps for their web applications.
- The API allows users to customize the map in every way they want, including points of interest, roads, geographical features, etc.
- Google Maps API also enables users to customize the UI controls displayed on the map.
- The API lets Developers display road, hybrid, satellite, and terrain maps.
- The API enables developers to localize text on the map in more than 40 languages automatically.
- You can also create custom overlays to display imagery, data, etc., and draw a range of shapes on the map.
Marketstack is a popular choice for many developers, investors, traders, and companies looking to get accurate and consistent stock market data, including Uber, Amazon, Accenture and Revolut.
- The highly scalable API can process millions of requests efficiently and has an uptime of nearly 100%.
- The API supports end-of-the-day, intraday and real-time stock data. You can get real-time data for any ticker down to the minute.
- Marketstack also enables users to access more than 30 years of highly-accurate historical stock market data.
- The API supports more than 70 global exchanges, including NYSE and Nasdaq.
- The API enables users to search over 170,000 worldwide stock tickers from various exchanges, including AAPL, MSFT, GOOG, AMZN, and many more.
- The free API offers 1000 requests/ month. You can also subscribe to a paid plan for more API requests.
- The API has extensive documentation, which makes integration quick and easy.
Tax Data API
If you’re looking for an API that supports instant VAT numbers and tax validation worldwide, Tax Data API is what you need.
- The efficient API validates VAT numbers instantly and supports 38 countries.
- The API is capable of returning tax rate information of one country or all supported countries based on the IP address or the country code.
- The API supports tax information from more than 130 countries worldwide.
- The Tax Data API can also convert prices based on the tax rates and product type.
- The API is secured via 256-bit HTTPS encryption.
- Tax Data API offers a free plan that supports 100 API requests per month and has several flexible pricing plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of a free public API?
An example of public API is REST countries API which provides information about countries, such as data on currencies, time zones, and languages.
What are some examples of APIs?
Examples include Twitter API, Youtube API, Spotify API, Wearstack weather data API, Fixer API, ipstack, and Paypal API.
Where can I find the most popular APIs?
APILayer marketplace has a range of highly secure and high-performance REST APIs in various categories, including finance, geo, and data scraping.