Uptime Monitoring & Response Time Monitoring for APIs: What, How, Why

20 March, 2019

Author: Max Rozen

Uptime Monitoring & Response Time Monitoring for APIs: What, How, Why

What is API Monitoring?

API Monitoring: the monitoring of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to gain a better understanding of performance, availability, and correctness. API Monitoring services help you understand the performance of your applications, and improve your poorly performing APIs. They break down how long each request took, how that compares to the average, and whether or not the data returned was correct.

What is Uptime Monitoring?

Uptime monitoring lets you know that your API is online, and available for your clients to reach (whether you're using your API to serve data to a frontend, or operating an API-first business such as Stripe or Twilio)

Good monitoring solutions let you know if there's an issue with accessibility in a much more understandable manner than others (Think, 'Your API server is unreachable!' vs 'Could not make a HTTP connection to ...'), and notify you via Slack, Text message, or PagerDuty notification.

Why should you care?

Having a Slack notification when your API becomes unreachable is much better than an email from a customer!

What is Performance & Response Time Monitoring?

You've figured out that your API is online. Great! Now let's figure out whether it's performing at its best.

Good monitoring tools give you the ability to monitor your most used API endpoints. You could then see your best and worst performing endpoints, and optimise them. You could also optionally trigger alerts if a query starts performing intolerably slow.

Why should you care?

Performance and Response time monitoring can help your team understand which APIs need more love, but also watching response times can help diagnose minor issues before they become full-blown outage incidents.

What is functional correctness?

So you've confirmed your API is accessible, your endpoints are performing as fast as ever, but is the data returned actually correct, and what you expect?

Good monitoring tools let you save the expected result of your API request and compare the results at certain intervals. You then get a notification if your API is returning incorrect data, or data you did not expect.

Why should you care?

If data changes shape in a way you didn't expect, you'd want to know about it. functional correctness testing also lets you monitor the "contract" between front-end and back-end, and if your back-end team changes the way it sends data, your front-end team will definitely want to know about it!

Enjoyed this post? Receive the next one in your inbox!