Introduction to API products

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The following sections introduce you to API products and related concepts such as quotas and API keys.

What is an API product?

As an API provider, you create API products to bundle your APIs and make them available to app developers for consumption. You can think of API products as your product line.

Specifically, an API product bundles together one or more operations. An operation specifies an API proxy and resource paths that can be accessed on that proxy. An operation can also limit access by HTTP methods and by quota.

API products are the central mechanism for access control to your APIs. By defining one or more API products in a developer app, you can restrict access to proxies with an API key. In Apigee, API keys are provisioned, not for APIs themselves, but for API products. In other words, API keys are provisioned for bundles of operations that define a product line or specific service plan.

Common use cases

You can create multiple API products that contain operations to address specific use cases. For example, you can create an API product that bundles a number of operations that contain mapping resources to enable developers to easily integrate maps into their applications.

In addition, you can use API products to define pricing levels based criteria such the as:

The number of requests:

  • Premium: Unlimited requests per day
  • Basic: Up to 1000 requests per day
  • Free: Up to 100 requests per day

Or level of access:

  • Premium: Read, write, update and delete
  • Basic: Read and update
  • Free: Read-only

Or any combination of the above:

  • Extra Premium: Read and write unlimited times per day
  • Premium: Read and write up to 1000 requests per day
  • Basic: Read and write access up to 100 times per day
  • Free: Read up to 1000 times per day
  • Free: Read-only access limited to 100 requests per day


An operation is a group of attributes that restrict access to one or more API proxies based on criteria such as resource path, HTTP method, and quota. An operation includes these attributes:

Attribute Required? Description
API proxy Required Each operation group must specify an API proxy. Only one proxy is allowed per operation group.
Remote Service Depends Required only if you install and plan to use Apigee Adapter for Envoy.
Resource path Required Each operation group must specify one or more resource paths. Resource paths in an operation restrict access specific resources on an API proxy. (A resource path is the part of an API proxy request URL that comes after the proxy basepath.)
HTTP method Optional You can also restrict access to a proxy by HTTP method. For example, if you specify GET and POST methods for an operation group, then only HTTP GET and POST requests can access the proxy for the specified resource path. If no method is specified, then all methods are allowed.
Quota Optional You can specify a quota for the operation group. The quota specified in an operation group takes precedence over an API product-level quota, if specified.
Custom attributes Optional Custom attributes are useful for metrics, monitoring, or cases where you want to store extra information with an API product that can be accessed or retrieved later. Custom attributes associated with an operation exist in addition to any API product-level custom attributes and can be accessed in the runtime as flow variables with the prefix apiproduct.operation.attributes.

API keys

When you register a developer's app in your organization, the app must be associated with at least one API product. As a result of pairing an app with one or more API products, Apigee assigns the app a unique consumer key. See also Controlling access to your APIs by registering apps.

The consumer key or access token act as request credentials. The app developer embeds the consumer key into the app, so that when the app makes a request to an API hosted by Apigee, the app passes the consumer key in the request in one of the following ways:

  • When the API uses API key verification, the app must pass the consumer key directly.
  • When the API uses OAuth Token verification, the app must pass a token which has been derived from the consumer key.

API key enforcement doesn't happen automatically. Whether using the consumer key or OAuth tokens as request credentials, the API proxy validates the request credentials in your API proxies by including a VerifyAPIKey policy or a VerifyAccessToken policy configuration (see OAuthv2 policy) in the appropriate flow. If you do not include a credential enforcement policy in your API Proxy, any caller can invoke your APIs.

To verify the credentials passed in the request, Apigee performs the following steps:

  1. Get the credentials that are passed with the request. In the case of OAuth token verification, Apigee verifies that the token is not expired, and then looks up the consumer key that was used to generate the token.
  2. Retrieve the list of API products to which the consumer key has been associated.
  3. Confirm that the current API Proxy is included in the API Product, if the current resource path (URL path) is enabled on the API Product and, if included in the product, that the request uses a specified HTTP verb.
  4. Verify that the quota, if specified has not been exceeded.
  5. Verify that the consumer key is not expired or revoked, check that the app is not revoked, and check that the app developer is active.

If all of the above checks pass, the credential verification succeeds.

Bottom line, Apigee automatically generates consumer keys, but API publishers have to enforce key checking in API proxies by using appropriate policies.

Key approval

By default, all requests to obtain a key to access an API product from an app are automatically approved. Alternatively, you can configure the API product so that you must approve keys manually. The setting for this is described in Managing API products. In this case, you will have to approve key requests from any app that adds the API product. For more information, see Controlling access to your APIs by registering apps.


Quotas can protect your backend servers from high traffic variances and differentiate your product line. For example, you can bundle resources with a high quota as a premium product, and use the same bundle with a lower quota as a basic product. Quotas can help protect your servers from being overwhelmed if a product is popular and receives a large amount of requests in a short period of time.

You can specify a quota that applies to all API proxies included with the API product, or specify operation-level quotas. A quota specified in an operation takes precedence over a quota set at the API product level.

Setting quota limits on an API product does not automatically enforce quota. It's simply a default limit that can be referenced in quota policies. Here are some advantages of setting a quota on the product for quota policies to reference:

  • Use a Quota policy to apply a uniform setting across all API proxies in an API product.
  • If you change the API product's quota settings at runtime, Quota policies automatically reference the updated quota settings.

For more information, see the following:

OAuth scopes

You can define OAuth scopes as a comma-separated list that must be present in access tokens associated with the product. For more information about using scopes with Apigee OAuth policies, see Working with OAuth2 scopes.

Access levels

When defining an API product, you can set the following access levels:

Access Level Description
Public API products that are available to all developers. You can add them to integrated or Drupal-based developer portals.
Private or Internal only API products that are designed for private or internal use.

For the integrated portal, you can add Private or Internal only API products and make them available to app developers, as required.

For Drupal-based developer portals, you can manage access to Private or Internal only API products on your developer portal, as described in the following sections:

  • For Drupal 9 developer portals, you can configure access to Private or Internal only API products on your developer portal, as described in Configure access permissions to API products.
  • For Drupal 7 developer portals, you cannot add Private or Internal only API products to your developer portal.

    To make Private or Internal only API products available to app developers, you must add them manually to a registered app from the Apigee UI or API, as described in Controlling access to your APIs by registering apps.

    Once added, the developer sees the API product associated with the app in your portal, as described in Managing the API products in an app. If the app developer disables access to an API product that is Private or Internal only, the API product is removed from the app and must be re-added manually by the portal administrator.