What’s the Difference between Public and Private APIs?

Today, when people are talking about APIs, more often than not, they talk about the public or open APIs. That happens for a very good reason: they are everywhere around us, in almost every app or website we use every day. Their “openness” is definitely the main reason why so many developers use them when designing a new application. But whether you’re aware of it or not, private APIs are equally as important as public APIs. In order to help you understand the differences between the two, we’re going examine both types and go through some of the

The Basics of Private APIs

We’ve already mentioned that private APIs are more important and beneficial for most small businesses. That’s because private APIs can provide them with an open architecture. The developer just needs to plug the API he wants into the back-end system and instantly, he’ll be able to access the data he wants.  This makes the developer’s job much easier and less time-consuming. And while it may seem

The number of companies which are developing their own APIs is growing every day. According to most recent statistics, more than60% of companies use their own APIs exclusively. Developing an internal API for the company also has an economic element: it eliminates the need for the for back-end apps, server resources, and layers needed for web services. The company can customize their APIs so it can be used by other companies.

What Can You Do With Them?

  • They allow you to create your own data pool and services
  • Private APIs are highly customizable, so you can adapt them for your needs
  • They can be easily built around a micro-services model
  • Allow the company`s partners to use the private APIs and their data
  • Develop an APIs for customer use, which has internal assets

What Are They Good For?

  • They are enabling faster development of mobile apps
  • Improvement of business development, especially for integrating partners
  • They simplify the environment and makes a self-service style access to data
  • They also make the IT infrastructure way simpler
  • Allow more possibilities for corporate innovation and improvement

The Basics of Public APIs

Basically, public APIs present a set of directions and standards, which needs to be followed in order to access the information and services who are being shared. The developer getting access to the data can build a whole new application on top of that. All a developer needs to do is follow the API documentation example presented in the documentation, and they’ll be able to build a new app. Public APIs are beneficial for both the company that builds them and for the 3rd-party developers.

This is how it works from the company’s point of view: create an API, let the external developers use it, and they will build their own applications on them. By having numerous applications build on top of their APIs, the company can benefit tremendously. Since so many companies have come out with their own APIs in the past couple of years, we now have thousands of new apps build on top of public APIs. And from the look of things, that number is only going to grow in the future.  

What Can You Do With Them?

  • They are free and available for anyone to use
  • They open up possibilities of new integration and partnerships
  • Allow you to create a seamless data flow between different devices
  • Get more information about your site traffic and customer profiles

What Are They Good For?

  • You can promote your brand and increase your user base
  • Public APIs are beneficial to the API economy as a whole
  • Easy interacting with the back-end systems
  • Encouraging the developers to experiment with developing a new application


While public and private APIs have their similarities – they fundamentally help you achieve the same thing – they have their differences. If you want to build an API of your own, you should take some time thinking about what you want to use it for, and only then decide whether you want to make it private or public. But you need to decide this before the development process even starts.

There are also so-called partner APIs. This is a hybrid between the public and open models. They are usually implemented to support apps developed by people within a company that already has a business relationship with the API vendor. But that’s a story for another day. You now understand the fundamental differences between these two models and you can start learning more about the matter.

We hope that you found our article useful and that you enjoyed reading it. If you have any questions or something you would like to add to the conversation, feel free to write a comment down below. We will respond as soon as we can.


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