Build vs Buy: Choosing the Right Approach for Your API Portal

Qi Zeng

Qi Zeng

August 18, 2023



What Is an API Portal?

API portal is a platform that serves as a central hub for managing and providing access to APIs. It is a dedicated space where developers, partners, and other stakeholders can discover, explore, understand, and consume APIs offered by an organization.

The purpose of an API portal is to serve as a bridge between developers and providers, facilitating seamless and efficient utilization of APIs by developers while enabling providers to maximize the value of their APIs and attract potential users.

Why Do We Need an API Portal?

As more and more companies embrace digital transformation, APIs have become a critical part of their technology stack. APIs enable different systems to communicate with each other, allowing businesses to integrate their services and data with their partners, customers, and developers. However, creating and managing APIs is not a trivial task. It requires careful planning, design, development, testing, documentation, security, and maintenance. One of the key components of a successful API program is an API portal, which provides developers with all the resources they need to discover, learn, and use your APIs.

From the developer's perspective, the API portal plays a crucial role in fostering collaboration and engagement with the developer community. It enables developers to provide feedback, ask questions, and access support from the API provider. Additionally, the API portal may include features that allow developers to manage their API usage, monitor analytics and usage statistics, and receive notifications or updates regarding API changes or new versions.

From the provider's perspective, the API portal serves as a centralized management platform for API governance and administration. It allows organizations to publish, version, secure, and monitor their APIs effectively. The portal may include features for managing access controls, defining usage policies, enforcing security measures, and generating reports on API usage and performance.

API portal acts as a gateway and collaboration platform, providing developers with the necessary tools and resources to discover, understand, and consume APIs while enabling API providers to manage and govern their APIs effectively.

Build or Buy Your API Portal

A good API portal typically includes the following features:

  • API documentation: Detailed information on how to use each API endpoint, including input parameters, output formats, error codes, and examples.
  • API testing: Tools for developers to test their API calls and responses, including mock servers, sandbox environments, and debugging tools.
  • API monetization: Tools and capabilities to enable providers to monetize their APIs, such as API usage tracking, billing integration, and subscription management.
  • Analytics: Insights and reporting features to track API usage, performance metrics, and user behavior, allowing providers to make data-driven decisions and optimize their APIs.
  • Access management: Authentication and authorization mechanisms to control access to APIs, including support for API keys, OAuth, and role-based access control (RBAC).
  • Developer community: Forums, blogs, tutorials, and other resources to help developers learn about your APIs, ask questions, share feedback, and collaborate with other developers.
  • Support and feedback: Channels for developers to contact your support team, report issues, suggest improvements, and provide feedback on your APIs and portal.

Now, the question is, should you build your API portal from scratch or buy a ready-to-use solution from a vendor? There are pros and cons to both approaches, and your choice will depend on several factors, such as your budget, timeline, resources, requirements, and goals.

Build Your Own API Portal

How to Build Your Own API Portal?

Building your own API portal involves several steps and considerations. Here's a general guide on how to build your own API portal:


Define Objectives and Gather Requirements

Clearly define the objectives and goals of your API portal. Determine the target audience, the purpose of the portal, and the specific features and functionalities you want to offer. Create a comprehensive plan and gather requirements for your API portal. Identify the necessary features, such as API documentation, interactive API exploration, authentication and authorization mechanisms, developer onboarding, and analytics.

Design the User Experience

Design the user interface and user experience of your API portal. Ensure that it is intuitive, visually appealing, and aligned with your brand identity. Consider the user journey, information architecture, and ease of navigation.

Develop and Implement

To start developing your API portal, begin by choosing the appropriate technology stack for both frontend and backend development. This will involve creating a user interface and building API management and integration components. Once the development stage is underway, it is important to integrate the portal with any existing systems or APIs.

To ensure a smooth developer experience, it is crucial to create comprehensive and well-structured documentation for your APIs. This documentation should cover endpoints, request/response formats, authentication methods, sample code, and other relevant information. Additionally, you need to enrich your API portal by providing developer tools and resources to assist developers in understanding and integrating your APIs effectively.

Security measures should be implemented to protect your APIs and ensure secure access. This includes implementing authentication mechanisms, rate limiting, encryption, and monitoring for suspicious activities. It is advisable to follow industry best practices for API security. Thorough testing and debugging are essential to ensure the functionality, performance, and compatibility of your API portal across different devices and browsers. Conduct both manual and automated testing processes, addressing any bugs or issues that arise.

Once testing is complete, deploy your API portal to a production environment and monitor its performance and usage. Implement analytics tools to gather insights into API usage, user behavior, and performance metrics. Continuously monitor and optimize the portal to provide an improved user experience.

Provide Ongoing Maintenance and Support

Regularly maintain and update your API portal to address any issues, add new features, and keep up with technological advancements. Provide support channels for developers to seek assistance and provide feedback.

Remember that building an API portal is an iterative process, and it's important to gather feedback from users and developers to make improvements over time.


  • Customization: You have full control over the design, functionality, and user experience of your API portal. You can tailor it to your brand, audience, and use cases.
  • Integration: You can integrate your API portal with your existing systems, such as your CRM, CMS, analytics, and billing platforms, to provide a seamless experience for your users.
  • Scalability: You can scale your API portal according to your needs and growth, adding new features and functionalities as your API program evolves.
  • Ownership: You own the code, data, and infrastructure of your API portal, and you can modify, extend, or migrate it as you wish.


  • Cost: Building an API portal from scratch requires significant upfront investment in terms of time, money, and expertise. You need to hire developers, designers, testers, and other professionals to create and maintain your portal.
  • Complexity: Building an API portal is a complex project that involves multiple stages, such as requirements gathering, prototyping, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. You need to have a clear roadmap, project plan, and team structure to ensure success.
  • Time-to-market: Building an API portal can take several months or even years, depending on the scope and complexity of your project. You need to be prepared for a long development cycle and delays.

Buy a Ready-to-Use API Portal

While building your own API portal is an option, purchasing a ready-to-use solution from a vendor offers several advantages. These ready-to-use API portal solutions often provide a range of features and functionalities to help you manage and expose your APIs effectively.

Time-to-Market Efficiency

One of the significant advantages of buying a ready-to-use API portal is the accelerated time-to-market. Building an API portal from scratch can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring design, development, testing, and deployment. By purchasing a pre-built solution, you can skip these stages and quickly launch your API program. This faster time-to-market enables you to engage with developers and stakeholders sooner, gaining a competitive edge.

Cost Savings

Developing an API portal in-house requires allocating resources, including skilled developers, designers, and project managers. This investment may not be feasible for every organization, especially smaller teams or those with limited budgets. Buying a ready-to-use API portal can be a cost-effective alternative, eliminating the need for extensive development efforts. By paying a one-time or subscription fee, you can access a fully functional portal, saving money on the development, testing, and ongoing maintenance costs.

Feature-Rich Functionality

Ready-to-use API portals often come with a rich set of features and functionalities. Vendors invest significant time and effort in building comprehensive solutions that cater to the needs of API providers. These portals typically include essential features such as API documentation, interactive API exploration, developer onboarding, code samples, SDKs, and analytics. By purchasing a solution, you gain access to these features without the need to develop them individually, enhancing the developer experience and streamlining API consumption.

Vendor Support and Maintenance

When you buy an API portal from a vendor, you not only acquire the product but also gain access to ongoing support and maintenance services. Vendors typically offer technical support, updates, bug fixes, and security patches to ensure your API portal remains reliable and up-to-date. This eliminates the burden of maintaining and troubleshooting the portal internally, allowing your team to focus on core business objectives. Additionally, vendor support can provide valuable assistance in addressing any issues or customizing the portal to suit your specific requirements.

Purchasing a ready-to-use solution offers several compelling benefits. It streamlines the time-to-market, reduces costs, provides feature-rich functionality, and ensures ongoing support and maintenance.

Careful evaluation of available solutions and vendor expertise is essential to select the most suitable API portal that aligns with your organization's goals and requirements. By leveraging a ready-to-use API portal, you can establish a robust developer ecosystem, foster API adoption, and drive innovation in your organization.

API7 Portal goes beyond being a mere website or platform for API-related information. It acts as a dynamic bridge that connects API providers and developers, providing developers with a centralized hub to access extensive API documentation, specifications, code examples, and other crucial details. This streamlined approach enables developers to easily understand and utilize APIs, promoting efficiency and effectiveness in their development process.

API Portal With AI

With the aid of AI(Artificial intelligence) technology, API7 Portal provides personalized responses to individuals within the organization, offering tailored API support for each user. Whether they are developers, product managers, or high-level executives, they can directly pose questions to API7 Portal and receive customized answers that align with their specific roles, permissions, and hierarchical levels. This personalized approach significantly enhances user productivity by reducing the time and effort spent on searching and organizing relevant API information.


In the past, achieving personalized API support often required the establishment of intricate rules and processes, demanding significant time and effort from users to learn and understand them. However, API7 Portal eliminates these cumbersome steps by leveraging AI technology, providing users with a streamlined experience. There is no need to delve into complex API documentation and specifications or grasp intricate technical details. Users can simply ask questions to API7 Portal and receive concise and tailored responses based on their roles, permissions, and hierarchical levels. This convenience greatly reduces the learning curve for users, enabling you to quickly get started and effectively leverage APIs.

Analyze Insights Smartly

Analyzing insights intelligently is a key aspect of API7 Portal. By utilizing the comprehensive API call reports available, you can unlock valuable insights that drive informed decision-making. These reports provide a wealth of information, allowing you to identify the most popular APIs within your system and gain a deeper understanding of their usage patterns. Armed with this knowledge, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize your API strategy and prioritize future enhancements with precision.


One of the valuable aspects of API call reports is the ability to analyze error rates. By examining error data, you can pinpoint areas that require improvement and take proactive measures to address them. Identifying recurring errors or high error rates enables you to focus your resources and attention on resolving these issues, thereby enhancing the overall performance and reliability of your APIs.

Furthermore, the insights gained from the API call reports enable you to prioritize future API enhancements effectively. By analyzing usage patterns and identifying areas for improvement, you can align your development efforts and resources to address the most critical needs of your users. This targeted approach ensures that your API enhancements are aligned with the demands and expectations of your user base, maximizing the value and impact of your development efforts.

Integrate With Existing Solutions

Seamless integration with existing solutions is an important feature of API7 Portal. It is designed to effortlessly integrate with your current systems and solutions, eliminating the need to replace your API gateway or other essential components. This compatibility ensures a smooth transition and allows you to leverage the full potential of our cutting-edge API portal without disruption.


By integrating API7 Portal with your existing systems, you can streamline your API management processes. API7 Portal provides a centralized hub for managing and monitoring APIs, allowing you to efficiently organize, track, and control API access and usage. With a unified interface, you can simplify administrative tasks, reduce complexity, and enhance overall workflow efficiency.


Choosing whether to build or buy your API portal is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration of your goals, resources, and constraints. Compared to building your own API portal, purchasing a ready-made solution is more time-saving, efficient, and cost-effective. API7 Portal would be an excellent option for you.

API7 Portal is an advanced and intelligent API portal that incorporates AI capabilities to cater to specific user roles, permissions, and hierarchies, as well as reduce the learning curve. Its comprehensive analytics reports assist in better API management and optimization. Additionally, the API7 Portal seamlessly integrates with your existing systems, greatly simplifying workflows. Try API7 Portal, and navigate the world of API development with ease and confidence.

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