March 9, 2021

What is API Monitoring? Keeping the Steady Heartbeat of Healthy APIs

API Testing

If it is not already, API monitoring should play a significant role in your test automation efforts. This blog will give an overview of API monitoring, including the most important KPIs to look for and why you should get started.

Table of Contents:

What is API Monitoring?

API monitoring refers to an automated series of tests that run in the background. These tests continuously check to ensure your APIs are performing as expected once they are in production, based on the criteria and assertions you specify.

3 API Monitoring KPIs

Here are the 3 fundamental areas that API monitors perform a “health check” for:

Uptime

Is the API available and responding? If so, great! If the API is unavailable, your customers could be severely impacted by this error in real time.

To fully monitor API uptime, it is possible to integrate with open-source and third-party solutions such as Jenkins, PagerDuty, and Slack. Not only will you be first to know if your API is down, but you can also notify the right team at the right time when API issues arise.

Performance

If the API does respond, how quickly does it respond? Is it responding quickly enough to support the use cases of your business?

To further monitor API performance, it is recommended to combine API monitoring with your performance and load testing. This combination of testing will help stress test your APIs effectively and create a complete feedback loop for your API development team.

Correctness

Is the API returning the correct data, and is the data structured properly?

It is essential to verify that your API is returning the correct data with powerful and flexible assertions. You can define the parameters of a successful API by checking for specific status codes, HTTP headers, and JSON or XML properties. 

Constantly monitoring these three areas helps to ensure that your APIs are healthy and in good condition to serve your customers accordingly as they utilize your application.

Why Do I Need to Monitor My APIs?

1. Ensure Customer Satisfaction

When your customers are faced with downtime and API errors, you’ll be faced with a rise in support tickets, complaints, high bounce rates and app abandonment. These problems can most certainly lead to long-term effects as well. Strive to deliver a customer experience that you would want to receive yourself!

2. Cover Your Testing Bases

While it is imperative to “shift left” and test early and often, it is equally as important to test and validate your API responses and data structures after production. API monitoring typically occurs after an application has already been deployed, although it can be performed in staging or even development as well. By ensuring that you’re continuously testing even after deployment, you can discover and more readily fix any API issues before your customers notice.

3. Identify the Culprit

Without proper visibility into the traffic running through your apps and infrastructure, diagnosing and solving the problem means using up valuable time and resources. API monitoring surfaces issues directly from the internal and third-party APIs that power your apps and infrastructure, and gives you visibility into these problems so you can prevent, identify and solve them quickly.

I like to think of API monitors as built-in doctors who identify and diagnose problems, and notify you when you need to take action. API monitoring gives you peace of mind that your APIs are working quickly, efficiently and correctly, and that your customers are getting an excellent end-to-end experience.

Other Ways to Do API Monitoring

There are two other popular ways to do API monitoring: RUM (real-user monitoring) and synthetic API monitoring.

RUM monitors an application’s usability and performance by observing actual end user experiences. It helps developers visually map out the entire customer journey by capturing every aspect of a user’s engagement with the application. This close monitoring capability helps eliminate blindspots and enables teams to resolve issues quickly with real-time data.

Alternatively, synthetic monitoring gives insights into how your application is performing by emulating how users might engage with an application. This application performance monitoring practices helps keep eyes on application uptime, as well as share insights into how your application responds to standard user behavior. Standard user behaviors that synthetic monitoring can simulate span different geographic locations, device types, and scenarios. 

Try out BlazeMeter API Monitoring today.

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