Discover the API Management service


API Management provides the core functionality to ensure a successful API program through developer engagement, business insights, analytics, security, and protection. Each API consists of one or more operations, and each API can be added to one or more products. To use an API, developers subscribe to a product that contains that API, and then they can call the API's operation, subject to any usage policies that may be in effect.

The system is made up of the following components:

  • The API gateway is the endpoint that:

    • Accepts API calls and routes them to your backend(s).
    • Verifies API keys, JWT tokens, certificates, and other credentials.
    • Enforces usage quotas and rate limits.
    • Transforms your API on the fly without code modifications.
    • Caches backend responses where set up.
    • Logs call metadata for analytics purposes.
  • The Azure portal is the administrative interface where you set up your API program. Use it to:

    • Define or import API schema.
    • Package APIs into products.
    • Set up policies like quotas or transformations on the APIs.
    • Get insights from analytics.
    • Manage users.
  • The Developer portal serves as the main web presence for developers, where they can:

    • Read API documentation.
    • Try out an API via the interactive console.
    • Create an account and subscribe to get API keys.
    • Access analytics on their own usage.


Products are how APIs are surfaced to developers. Products in API Management have one or more APIs, and are configured with a title, description, and terms of use. Products can be Open or Protected. Protected products must be subscribed to before they can be used, while open products can be used without a subscription. Subscription approval is configured at the product level and can either require administrator approval, or be auto-approved.


Groups are used to manage the visibility of products to developers. API Management has the following immutable system groups:

  • Administrators - Azure subscription administrators are members of this group. Administrators manage API Management service instances, creating the APIs, operations, and products that are used by developers.
  • Developers - Authenticated developer portal users fall into this group. Developers are the customers that build applications using your APIs. Developers are granted access to the developer portal and build applications that call the operations of an API.
  • Guests - Unauthenticated developer portal users, such as prospective customers visiting the developer portal of an API Management instance fall into this group. They can be granted certain read-only access, such as the ability to view APIs but not call them.

In addition to these system groups, administrators can create custom groups or leverage external groups in associated Azure Active Directory tenants.


Developers represent the user accounts in an API Management service instance. Developers can be created or invited to join by administrators, or they can sign up from the Developer portal. Each developer is a member of one or more groups, and can subscribe to the products that grant visibility to those groups.


Policies are a powerful capability of API Management that allow the Azure portal to change the behavior of the API through configuration. Policies are a collection of statements that are executed sequentially on the request or response of an API. Popular statements include format conversion from XML to JSON and call rate limiting to restrict the number of incoming calls from a developer, and many other policies are available.

Developer portal

The developer portal is where developers can learn about your APIs, view and call operations, and subscribe to products. Prospective customers can visit the developer portal, view APIs and operations, and sign up. The URL for your developer portal is located on the dashboard in the Azure portal for your API Management service instance.