An API Endpoint is a specific “point of entry” in an API and is the most crucial part of an API’s documentation.
Endpoints are the main thing you’ll be using to make requests. So if an API’s endpoints aren’t listed clearly in the documentation, the API is essentially unusable.
To make an API request (or call), you’ll need to create an API URL path. This is usually done by appending an endpoint to your chosen API’s base URL.
Just think of APIs like websites.
To get to a website, you need its base URL.
But to get anywhere besides the Homepage — like the Support or About page — you need to add certain keywords to the base URL.
In the context of APIs, the
/about pages of a website are like an API’s endpoints. They are different “points of entry”.
You know very well that the Support page is going to show you different information than you’d see on the About page. And that’s because they both offer different sets of data.
This concept holds true even in the context of APIs.
If you access an API through its different endpoints, you can expect different sets of responses for each one.
The best way to understand API endpoints is by seeing them in action.
To do that, let’s use the Cat Facts API as an example.
According to the Cat Facts API documentation, there are 2 available endpoints:
/facts– Get a list of cat facts
/breeds– Returns a list of breeds
Let’s try out the
/facts endpoint. I could really use some cat facts.
To make a request, we need to append our chosen endpoint (
/facts) to the base URL (
This gives us the following API URL path
If we use this resulting API URL path to run a request, we get this:
A list of cat facts — made possible by the
Obviously, accessing the
/users endpoint wouldn’t have given us this list of cat facts. That’s another endpoint for retrieving another set of data.
But case in point, using API endpoints is just that simple — if you want a specific set of data, just access an endpoint that gives you exactly that.
Note: API data usually comes out more cluttered since it often comes in JSON format. But for the example above, I used Apipheny to import (and convert) the JSON data directly into Google Sheets. This way, it comes out in a nice, clean, manageable list.
To find the different endpoints of any API, all you have to do is look inside that API’s documentation.
Sometimes, the endpoints come in a simple list, each one with a short description next to it.
But for more complex APIs, the documentation might not be so simple.
In those cases, it’s usually in your best interest to invest time into understanding the functionality of each endpoint — that way, you can steer clear of errors and be more efficient in your work.
Hopefully, I helped you understand API endpoints a little more.
This by no means covers everything about API endpoints, and there is much more to learn from a technical standpoint.
But because you’ve taken the time to read this, you are now more ready to use APIs than you’ve ever been before.
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