Building modern, scalable applications often involves connecting different services and data sources. This is where Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, come in.

APIs provide a structured way for applications to interact and share data. Amazon API Gateway can be a valuable tool to simplify this process, even for AWS API Gateway on-premise integration.

Amazon API Gateway is a powerful service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It aims to simplify the process of designing, publishing, and managing APIs.  

AWS API Gateway acts as a single entry point for your APIs. Clients (applications or users) interact with your API through a publicly accessible URL. API Gateway routes incoming requests to the appropriate backend service, retrieves data, and returns AWS API gateway integration response.

Here are some key benefits of AWS API gateway integration:

  • Reduced Development Time
  • Improved Scalability
  • AWS API Gateway Integration Timeout Management
  • Enhanced Security
  • Centralized Management
  • Cost-Effectiveness

By leveraging API Gateway, developers can create and deploy APIs faster, leading to quicker application delivery.

Understanding the Basics of AWS API Gateway Integration

Amazon API Gateway Integration: Architecture

Now, let’s explore how API Gateway interacts with backend services:

Core Components of AWS API Gateway

Here is a list of the core components that are involved in an AWS API Gateway:

  1. API Endpoint: The publicly accessible URL for client interaction with your API.
  2. API Methods: Define specific actions available through your API (e.g., GET, POST, PUT, DELETE).
AWS API Gateway Integration: API Methods
API Methods

3. Integration Types: Determine how API Gateway interacts with backend services to process requests. Here are some standard options:

  • AWS Service Proxy: Integrates with various AWS services like Lambda functions, DynamoDB databases, and S3 buckets.
  • HTTP Proxy: Integrates with any HTTP endpoint, including services outside of AWS.
  • AWS PrivateLink: Enables secure communication between your API and AWS API gateway on-premise integration within your VPC.

Setting Up AWS API Gateway

Here’s a walkthrough using the AWS API Gateway integration Terraform or the AWS Management Console:

  1. Navigate to API Gateway service: Log in to the AWS Management Console and search for “API Gateway.”
  2. Create a new REST API: Click on “Create API” and choose “Build” for a new REST API.
  3. Define API name and description: Provide a descriptive name for your API and optionally add a brief description. Create a file name “” using the code below: resource “aws_api_gateway_rest_api” “my_api” { name = “my-api” description = “My API Gateway” endpoint_configuration { types = [“REGIONAL”] } } resource “aws_api_gateway_resource” “root” { rest_api_id = parent_id = aws_api_gateway_rest_api.my_api.root_resource_id path_part = “mypath” }
  4. Create API: Click on “Create API” to initiate the API creation process.

Once your API is created, you can access various settings to customize its behavior:

  • Stages: Stages allow you to manage different environments for your API (e.g., dev, test, prod).
  • CORS: Configure Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) to enable secure communication between applications on different domains.
AWS API Gateway Integration: CORS
  • Caching: Define caching behavior for API responses to improve performance.
  • Monitoring: Set up CloudWatch metrics for monitoring API usage and performance.
  • Throttling: Establish limits on API requests to prevent abuse and ensure smooth operation.

Build an API Gateway REST API with HTTP

You can also build an API Gateway with HTTP integration (with proxy or custom integration). For this, we will assume that you have an existing backend service (e.g., Lambda function) to expose through the API.


  • An AWS account with access to the API Gateway service.
  • A backend service ready to receive API requests (e.g., Lambda function with appropriate permissions).

Steps to build an API Gateway REST API with HTTP

1. Log in to the AWS Management Console and navigate to API Gateway. Click on the “Create API” option and choose “Build” to create a new REST API.

AWS API Gateway Integration: Step 1
Step 1

2. Provide a descriptive name for your API and optionally add a brief description. Click on “Create API” to initiate the API creation process.

AWS API Gateway Integration: Step 2
Step 2

3. Use the API Gateway console to define resources within your API. Resources represent entities (e.g., /products, /products/{productID}).

AWS API Gateway Integration: Creating the Resource for REST API
Creating the Resource for REST API

4. For each resource, specify the allowed HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) for your API. These methods define the actions your API can perform on the designated resources.

AWS API Gateway Integration: Creating the Child resource for existing resource
Creating the Child resource for existing resource

5. Now, we need to configure HTTP for the integration. For this, select “HTTP” under the “Integration Type” section for your method.

6. Define the endpoint URL of your backend service (e.g., the Lambda function invocation URL).

7. Configure how API Gateway maps request data to your backend service. You can map path parameters, query strings, headers, and the request body.

8. Define how the request body is sent to your backend service (pass through directly or transform using a template language).

9. Configure how API Gateway maps the response from your backend service back to the client. Define the response body and headers based on your desired output format.

AWS API Gateway Integration: Selecting the required HTTP setup
Selecting the required HTTP setup

Deploy & Test your API with HTTP

  1. Create a Stage: Stages allow you to manage different environments for your API (e.g., dev, test, prod). Create a new stage for your API.
  2. Deploy API to Stage: Deploy your API definition to the chosen stage. This makes your API publicly accessible through the API Gateway endpoint.
  3. Test: Once deployed, use tools like Postman or curl commands to send test requests to your API endpoint and verify its functionality. Ensure the API responds as expected for different HTTP methods and resource paths.
AWS API Gateway Integration: Calling the method
Calling the method

AWS API Gateway Integration with AWS Services

API Gateway integrates seamlessly with various AWS services to unlock powerful functionalities:

AWS API Gateway Integration with Lambda

Build serverless backends by AWS API gateway integration with lambda functions. These functions execute code without managing servers, allowing you to focus on the logic.

        Trace map for a formatted error with API Gateway.
Trace map for a formatted error with API Gateway.

It’s a perfect choice for backend logic within your API, as Lambda functions are highly scalable and cost-effective. It uses two integration approaches:

  • Lambda Proxy Integration: This is the simplest and most common approach. API Gateway passes the entire request event to the Lambda function, which returns its response directly to the client.
  • AWS Lambda Integration: This method offers more control over request and response transformation. You can map specific parts of the API Gateway request to the Lambda function’s input and customize the response format.

Integrating with AWS DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a NoSQL database service that provides fast and scalable data storage. You can leverage API Gateway to connect your API with DynamoDB, a NoSQL database service, to perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on your data.

You can use AWS service integration that allows direct interaction with DynamoDB using its native API calls. You can map API Gateway request parameters to DynamoDB operations and transform the response for your API clients.

Integrating with AWS S3

Amazon S3 is a scalable object storage service for various data types, including images, videos, and application data. API Gateway can be used to create APIs that upload, download, and manage objects stored in S3 buckets.

Similar to DynamoDB, this integration type allows you to interact with S3’s native API calls for object management.

Integrating with AWS SQS

Enable decoupled communication between your API and other backend services using SQS, a message queuing service. This allows asynchronous processing of API requests, improving performance.

Securing AWS API Gateway Integration

Till now, we have touched upon the importance of securing your API Gateway integration to protect sensitive data and control access. Let’s focus on the specific methods for achieving robust security:

Authentication and Authorization Methods 

Here are a few methods to authenticate and authorize AWS API gateway integration:


Generate unique API keys and distribute them to authorized users or applications. Requests must include a valid API key for successful access. This is a simple yet effective way to secure your API.

IAM Roles

Leverage AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to grant fine-grained permissions for specific users or services. This allows for more granular control compared to API keys. You can define IAM roles with specific permissions and associate them with users or applications accessing your API.

Amazon Cognito

Integrate with Amazon Cognito for user authentication and authorization based on user identity pools or social logins. This is ideal for scenarios where you want users to sign in with their existing credentials from social providers like Facebook or Google.

AWS IAM Authorizer

For complex authorization requirements, develop custom authorizers using AWS API gateway integration with lambda functions. These functions evaluate each request and determine if access should be granted based on your specific criteria, allowing for highly customized access control logic.

Implementing API Keys and Usage Plans

Here are the key factors to consider when implementing API keys and usage plans:

  • Creating API Keys: In the API Gateway console, navigate to “Resources” and select your API. Click “API Keys” to generate authorized user or application keys.
  • Defining Usage Plans: Use plans to limit API calls based on quotas or throttling. Associate API keys with specific usage plans to control access and prevent abuse. Usage plans allow you to define the following:
  • Throttling Limits: Set the maximum number of requests allowed per user or application within a specific timeframe (e.g., per hour, per day).
  • Quota Limits: Define the total number of requests allowed for an API key or usage plan over a specific period.

Setting Up Custom Authorizers

Take into account the following factors when setting up custom authorizers:

1. Develop a Lambda Function

Write your authorization logic in a Lambda function using a supported programming language like Python, Node.js, or Java. This function will receive the API request information and determine if access should be granted based on your custom criteria.

2. Configure API Gateway Authorizer

Create a custom authorizer in the API Gateway that references your Lambda function. Whenever a request arrives at your API Gateway endpoint, it will be routed to your Lambda function for authorization. The Lambda function will evaluate the request and return an “Allow” or “Deny” decision.

By implementing these security measures, you can ensure that only authorized users or applications can access your API, protecting your valuable data and functionalities from unauthorized access.

Monitoring and Logging with API Gateway

Effective monitoring and logging provide valuable insights into API usage patterns and help troubleshoot issues:

Monitoring API Gateway Performance Metrics

API Gateway exposes a rich set of metrics that provide insights into your API’s performance, including:

  • AWS API gateway integration Latency: this is the time it takes for theAPI Gateway to process a request and return a response.
  • Throughput: The number of API requests received per second.
  • Throttled Requests: The number of requests exceeding throttling limits.
  • Integration Latency: The time it takes for the backend service to process the request.
  • Error Rates: The percentage of requests that result in errors.

Setting Up CloudWatch Alarms

Integrate CloudWatch, a monitoring and observability service, with API Gateway. You can leverage CloudWatch to configure alarms based on your API Gateway metrics. These alarms can notify you when specific thresholds are breached, allowing you to proactively address potential problems.

For example, you can set up alarms to trigger notifications:

  • If API latency exceeds a certain threshold, indicating potential performance degradation.
  • If the error rate increases significantly, suggesting errors in your API or backend service.
  • If throttled requests rise, it signifies the need to adjust throttling limits or optimize your backend service.

Logging API Gateway Data to CloudWatch Logs

CloudWatch Logs is a log aggregation service that allows you to capture and analyze detailed logs generated by your API Gateway. These logs typically include:

  • Request timestamps
  • Request methods and paths
  • Request headers and body
  • Response status codes
  • Integration latency
  • Error messages

By analyzing these logs, you can:

  • Troubleshoot specific API requests that encounter errors
  • Identify patterns in API usage for better capacity planning
  • Audit API access and identify potential security threats

Scaling and Performance Optimization

As your API usage grows, optimizing performance and scaling becomes crucial:

Horizontal Scaling Techniques

API Gateway automatically scales horizontally by adding more resources when traffic increases. This ensures your API can handle increased load without performance degradation.

Performance Optimization Strategies

Implement strategies like caching frequently accessed AWS API gateway integration responses to reduce the need for constant backend communication and improve AWS API gateway integration latency. Additionally, throttling should be considered to prevent overloading backend services and maintain API stability.

Load Testing API Gateway Endpoints

Use load-testing tools to simulate real-world traffic patterns and identify potential bottlenecks before they impact production environments.


This concludes our comprehensive guide on the intricacies of AWS API Gateway integration. You’ve learned the core concepts, explored integration options, and discovered best practices for security, monitoring, and logging.

To give you a quick recap, APIs play a pivotal role in building modern, scalable applications. Using API Gateway empowers developers to:

  • Offer secure and controlled access to data and functionality residing within various AWS services and applications.
  • Enable communication between loosely coupled applications, facilitating a microservices architecture.
  • Provide a foundation for building APIs that power mobile and web applications.

By leveraging the capabilities of AWS API Gateway, you can build robust and secure APIs that form the backbone of your modern applications. Now, it’s time to implement your knowledge and build robust serverless applications. While this guide provided a high-level overview, consider using AWS API Gateway integration Terraform for code-driven infrastructure provisioning and management.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. What is Amazon API Gateway?

Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that simplifies the process of creating, publishing, maintaining, securing, and monitoring APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

2. Why should I use Amazon API Gateway?

Amazon API Gateway helps you with several requirements, such as:

  • Effortless Development: Build APIs quickly without complex code.
  • Seamless Scaling: API Gateway scales automatically to handle millions of requests.
  • Enhanced Security: Built-in features safeguard your APIs.
  • Cost-Effective Solution: Pay only for the API calls you receive.

3. What API types are supported by Amazon API Gateway?

API Gateway supports several API types, including:

  • RESTful APIs: The most common API type, ideal for web and mobile applications. It uses HTTP verbs (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) to interact with resources.
  • WebSocket APIs: Enable real-time two-way communication between applications, often used for chat applications or live data feeds.
  • HTTP APIs: A more flexible option that allows customization beyond the limitations of RESTful APIs.

4. How does the AWS API gateway integrate with serverless architectures?

API Gateway acts as the bridge between your clients (mobile apps, web apps, etc.) and your serverless backend services. It handles incoming API requests, routes them to the appropriate backend service (like a Lambda function), and returns the response to the client. This eliminates the need to manage and provision servers for your API, making it a perfect fit for serverless architectures.

5. How do I get started with HTTP APIs in API Gateway?

To get started with HTTP APIs in API Gateway, you need to follow the steps below:

  • Ensure you have a backend service ready to handle API requests (e.g., a Lambda function with appropriate permissions).
  • Define your API name, description, and resources (entities within your API).
  • Specify the allowed HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) for each resource.
  • Choose “HTTP” as the integration type and define your backend service’s endpoint URL.
  • Create a stage and deploy your API definition to make it accessible.

6. How do I get started with REST APIs in API Gateway?

Building REST APIs in API Gateway follows a similar process as HTTP APIs:

  • Set up your backend service
  • Create an API in API Gateway
  • Create resources with a hierarchical structure using paths and sub-paths (e.g., /products/{productID}).
  • Specify allowed HTTP methods for each resource, defining actions your API can perform.
  • Configure the integration type as “HTTP” and provide your backend service’s endpoint URL.
  • Create a stage and deploy your API definition for public access.
Suraj Poddar
Principal Frontend Engineer, Hevo Data

Suraj has over a decade of experience in the tech industry, with a significant focus on architecting and developing scalable front-end solutions. As a Principal Frontend Engineer at Hevo, he has played a key role in building core frontend modules, driving innovation, and contributing to the open-source community. Suraj's expertise includes creating reusable UI libraries, collaborating across teams, and enhancing user experience and interface design.

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