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What Is an API Gateway and Why Is It Important?

What Is an API Gateway and Why Is It Important?

Today’s software architectures are being renewed and developed day by day. Architectures of almost every API provider, message queue, database, and many other applications currently serving are updated with new developments. We see that many software projects have started to be recorded in accordance with the design patterns, especially with the realization of the damage caused by spaghetti codes. With the increase in business needs and requirements, many software applications have transformed from monolithic to microservice architecture with multiple backend services. In microservice applications, developers primarily add API gateway to their architecture for many reasons.

Today, many monolithic applications also utilize the API gateway, not just limited to microservices architecture. It is a technology that provides great convenience to developers and businesses. In this article, we will take a closer look at the concept of API gateway, which we can often see in a popular API provider today. Then, we’ll go over what developers can do with an API gateway.

What is an API Gateway?

what is an api gateway

API gateway is an interface or gateway that receives and processes requests coming to a software system, and developers use it to forward these requests to related services among multiple services under appropriate conditions. Developers frequently use this gateway in microservice architectures. Microservices API gateways are suitable for routing requests to any backend service. It is usually the only external door of the application. Thus, the client can not access the microservices behind the API gateway.

API gateway has become a pattern due to its frequent use with microservice applications and its many advantages. Its name is API gateway pattern. With this pattern, the API gateway collects incoming API requests at a central point and directs them to the relevant microservices. As a result, the API gateway acts as a bridge between client and backend services.

Learn more about the API gateway pattern!

What Can Developers Do With an API Gateway?

In this section, we will talk about what developers can do with API gateway.

Authentication and Authorization

Developers can manage authentication and authorization security processes through an API gateway. The concept of authentication means providing access to the application by authenticating the user. Authorization, on the other hand, manages the access authorization by determining which services the user is authorized. The API gateway is the gateway to an application, so developers can perform authentication and authorization on the API gateway.


Detailed log records can be kept about requests directed from API gateways client requests to backend services. So, developers can obtain statistical information such as who accesses which service and with what intensity. For example, the ipstack API, today’s best IP geolocation API, shows users’ API usage on a dashboard page. When developers want to set up such a structure, they log the request of a user who makes an API request with an API key and increase the API usage value of the relevant key in the database.

Response Caching

With an API gateway, developers can permanently cache response data that will not change. In this way, developers can reduce the time and high cost of requests forwarded to the endpoint with a single control.


API Gateway simplifies traffic management by routing incoming requests to specific APIs. With features such as load balancing and autoscaling, it can balance traffic directed to APIs and add additional resources in high-demand situations. This makes it possible to increase performance and ensure scalability.

Rate Limiting

Thanks to API Gateway, developers can apply rate limits on incoming requests. Also, with it, extra measures they can take in case of too many requests. The management of information, such as how many requests can be sent in a certain time period, can be easily provided with the API gateway.

Load Balancing

In microservice architectures, developers can perform load balancing between the API gateway and instances of backend services. Load balancing distributes the loads on the backend services equally.

Version Control

API gateway simplifies version management of backend services. It directs requests to backend services with different versions, allowing old and new versions to run simultaneously. This makes it easier to manage versioning issues such as updates and backward compatibility.

Request Aggregation

The API gateway combines multiple client requests that call various microservices into a single client request using this feature. Developers use this approach often when the client intends to pull data from multiple microservices. For instance, the API gateway routes a single request from the client to multiple microservices, combines the incoming responses, and forwards them to the client application.

Compare the API gateway with the Service Mesh.


As a result, many applications are converting to microservice architecture due to the growth of the scope and responsibility of applications recently. Microservice architecture is one more complex to handle, manage, and develop. Developers prefer to use an API gateway to manage many important responsibilities in this architecture from one place. The API gateway is responsible for authentication and authorization, logging, caching, request aggeration, API gateway, routing, load balancing, and many more. The API gateway, which is the gateway to applications, has many benefits for businesses and developers, both in terms of time and cost.

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Q: Where Does an API Gateway Sit in a Software Architecture?

A: API gateways are often included as part of microservice architecture or delivery systems. It is located between the client and the microservices. As a result, API gateways act as an interface or gateway between microservices.

Q: What are the Differences Between API Gateway and API Management System?

A: The API gateway receives incoming requests, implements security measures, performs authorization and authentication, routes requests to relevant microservices and provides technical functions such as caching and load balancing. On the other hand, the API management system actively engages in the design, development, distribution, and management of APIs. It catalogs and documents APIs manages security measures, and provides performance and usage statistics. These two components work together to enable efficient management of APIs and to interact with users securely.

Q: Does the API Gateway Routing Multiple Requests into Backend Services?

A: Yes, it does. An API gateway can route multiple requests to backend services. API gateway has the ability to route incoming requests to different microservices or backend services. By employing this approach, the API gateway actively distributes various client requests to the relevant services. Additionally, it effectively brings together the services required to perform the functionalities.

Q: What are the Main Features of an API Gateway?

A: Some of the features of an API getaway are as follows:

  • Logging
  • Caching
  • Authentication and Authorization
  • Rate Limiting
  • Request Aggeration
About author

I am a software developer who loves coding, learning new technologies, improving myself and researching.
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