How to Design Highly Scalable APIs: 6 Tips and Tricks

As a company grows, its API should evolve with it. This elasticity is called scalability. The last thing you want is for a non-scaling API to hold you back from your full potential. Here are six tips and tricks to building highly scalable APIs.

Utilize serverless computing

Using your own servers can be a stopgap in your growth. In serverless computing, a vendor manages the servers and backend so that you don’t have to. Serverless computing helps grow highly scalable APIs because it eliminates two huge considerations of traditional server solutions. 

First, serverless computing businesses do not need server management, which reduces overhead and employee expenses. The second advantage comes from using the backend service as they need it, in a pay-as-you-go plan. Companies like Lightbend offer serverless computing with scalable microservice architectures to keep your API growing as it should.

Create a design that you can repeat

Product launches are high-stress events, so creating a service that you can repeatedly relaunch without making significant structural changes reduces stress and generates a highly scalable API. Each time you overhaul service at launch, you add unnecessary expenses and reduce your business’s scalability. 

When you create a repeatable design, your API is always ready to launch. Repeatable designs are also more elastic, meaning that you can adjust to increased traffic as you go.

Plan for your business’s success

When building your scalable API, plan for success. Scaling is impossible if your API can’t handle a surge in traffic. You can set your API up for success by expecting the unexpected when it comes to traffic capacity.

System crashes can turn your success into sour grapes if you don’t prepare to perform well. Instead, build your API with the idea that it can reroute traffic to the appropriate architecture during high-volume times.

Build your system to be extensible

A highly scalable API needs to be extensible, meaning that it can be updated without removing existing users. A repeatable, extensible API is an excellent design strategy because developers can incorporate consumer feedback without compromising access and functionality

Don’t forget security

Anytime you open an API, you open yourself up to the world. As you scale your API, incorporate security that protects your business and your customers. Hackers are a constant threat, so you should prepare a sophisticated defense.

Your security system should include regenerative authentication credentials with a second access token. Run your system through several tests and train your engineers on internal security. Go the extra mile by teaching all of your employees to live by a security-first culture. 

Remember that efficiency rules the day

A scalable API needs to have efficient systems to manage fluctuating traffic. These systems should value quality over quantity. If you can simplify your API architecture, you gain more efficiency and ease the growth path.

Wrap up

Success should be a celebration, not a problem to solve. Don’t let your growth outpace your API. Follow these tips to take your API with you to ever newer heights.