Monitoring and API logging is no longer a nice-to-have – for many API providers, it has become a key part of ensuring growth and success in the ever-evolving API landscape. There are as many API monitoring tool providers as there are approaches to this topic, but we’ve gathered together a list of the top 11 in the market today.
1 - Moesif
Moesif is a powerful, feature-rich solution for API monitoring and tracking. Rather than synthetic monitoring, Moesif provides real user monitoring, giving businesses the ability to dive into their API performance and API call data. By combining real-time event logging with product analytics (including API endpoint analysis, API testing, and API gateway integration), monetization systems (including quotas, governance, and metered billing), and alerts (both real-time and behavioral, as well as API security), Moesif promises to unlock better revenue performance, improve user retention, and generate unprecedented insight and awareness across your API.
- Provides powerful context and deep introspection through unlocked application-layer visibility
- Easy to set up across a variety of systems and implementations
- Governance Rules only available on enterprise tier
2 - Prometheus
Prometheus is a widely-adopted open source monitoring solution. It has generated quite a following due to its developer outreach backing, with ample documentation, blogs, video content, etc. That being said, Prometheus was designed to generate insights based on metrics, and thus is often considered more an “insights” solution than a “logging” one. Logs are stored locally and are then pointed to by Prometheus when an issue is detected per the metrics – for this reason, users typically use Prometheus in addition to an API logging solution for remote hosting, which makes Prometheus – at least for a subset of users – a half solution for monitoring API products.
- Well-documented and easy to implement
- Ample insights generated from small amounts of data
- Lack of native cloud logging support
- May not be a complete solve for many users
3 - Sematext
Sematext offers a very popular solution in Sematext Logs. Sematext positions their offering as a Log Management-as-a-Service model, supporting the exfiltration of API logs from containers, infrastructure, applications, etc. It facilitates this by supporting Syslog or the Elasticsearch API, which opens it to a wide range of implementations. Because it supports these solutions, you can use Sematext natively, bypassing more expensive options which require third party solutions for performance monitoring.
- Wide support for systems and applications
- Cheaper to use than many other solutions
- Requires using either Syslog or Elasticsearch, which can be limiting in some situations
- Requires buying into the “as-a-Service” dynamic
4 - Papertrail
Papertrail is a logging solution from SolarWinds Cloud, a Software-as-a-Service solution. Papertrail allows for a large amount of customizability, and because it’s part of what is typically a holistic solution, it offers substantial cross-service and cross-database API logging that is often much slower and more expensive in other solutions. The drawback, of course, is that Papertrail works best as part of the SolarWinds Cloud service – and if you’re not using that service, your experience may not be as good as it could be with other open-source or free software solutions. If you currently are a SolarWinds customer, the best solutiong for your API monitor may be Papertrail.
- Highly customizable
- Cross-service and cross-database
- Part of a suite of offerings that do better as part of SolarWinds Cloud
- Not robustly open-source
5 - Checkly
Checkly is a very new player in the logging software scene, but it brings a lot to the table. Beyond its powerful synthetic monitoring and API logging, it also allows for deep contextual inspection, diving into payload, responses, headers, and more. This amount of logging and API analytics provide a great amount of context and can improve your visibility quite significantly through application performance monitoring. Pricing is relatively simple and follows a freemium model – that being said, more complex environments might quickly run above the relatively modest 10,000 API calls in the free plan, and the custom plan may have higher costs compared to something that is self-hosted.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Provides high context
- Very new player, so not as proven
- Limited freemium offering
6 - Datadog
Datadog bills itself as an observability platform, offering a relatively feature-complete solution for logging, website monitoring, application monitoring, and reporting for REST API-based products and beyond. It allows users to set specific metric-based rules to generate alerts across channels like Slack, SMS, email, etc. Datadog is relatively cheap, which is a big reason it has seen good adoption across the board – that being said, it doesn’t provide as much detail as some other solutions in the marketplace, making it a good generalist middle-of-the-road API management solution.
- Feature-complete compared to others on this list
- Relatively cheap to deploy
- Limited detail compared to other solutions
7 - Sauce Labs
Sauce Labs used to be called API Fortress, and under that name, it generated a bit of a reputation as a cloud-based REST API monitoring solution. Sauce Labs continues this success by providing testing, monitoring, and reporting, but for those looking principally for API log tooling, Sauce Labs can seem a bit too feature-complete. Ultimately the use case for Sauce Labs is a bit of column A and column B – if you want to collect API logs for the purpose of generating reports and insights, Sauce Labs is a great solution. If you want to log to just log, this might be another in the column of “too good for what you need”.
- Very mature in the market
- Widely adopted giving a huge user community
- Perhaps too mature for those looking only for logging
- A bit too general for specific use cases
8 - Amazon CloudWatch
Amazon CloudWatch brings the proven logging and monitoring approaches on offer from Amazon. This solution is relatively robust, but the main selling point is in the pricing model – CloudWatch is very flexible, offering pay-as-you-go, which allows for easy scaling. That being said, the solution is tooled specifically for the AWS API gateway, which makes it a hard sell to anyone not utilizing AWS systems. Because of the usage based nature of CloudWatch’s payment structure understanding the performance metric that eat your budget can help guide the decision to use CloudWatch for uptime monitoring or synthetic API monitoring.
- Relatively efficient and feature rich
- Pay-as-you-go pricing makes it flexible
- Tooled for AWS specifically, which may exclude it from some stacks
9 - AppDynamics
AppDynamics is particularly powerful and is backed by the Cisco product offering. It offers real-time data visualization and analysis, and provides relatively robust solutions like resource waterfalls to show the impact of each element of the API service in the overall efficiency and user experience. That being said, this is another offering that is run by a corporate entity, and its quite expensive – for many developers, this might be a huge negative that is difficult to overcome no matter how beautiful the visualizations are in practice.
- Backed by Cisco and its mature product offering
- Real-time data visualization
- Not open source and corporate in nature
- Quite expensive
10 - Uptrends
Uptrends offers a robust multi-step logging and API monitoring tool, selling itself as a logging and alerting system first and foremost. Uptrends offers “Private Checkpoints”, a solution that unlocks testing behind private networks and firewalls. Uptrends is very clearly leaning on its solution as a “problem resolution” one, with one area of the site boasting “Yesterday we detected 332k errors. How’s your site doing?”. The main drawback here is that Uptrends is very clearly selling itself as an analysis tool rather than just an API log tool. For developers looking for logging – and just logging – Uptrends is too far down the monitoring path.
- Robust logging and monitoring
- Works on private systems and networks
Monitoring-heavy makes logging a second thought
Provides ample analysis which may just be a cost increase vs. a utility increase for some stacks
11 - Graphite
Graphite is an open source monitoring and logging system that utilizes a push-based design architecture. What this means is that Graphite allows services to push their API logs into a component called Graphite Carbon, which is then stored in a database for later deep introspection and transformation. Graphite’s main selling point is its easy deployment through its native Synthesize product, an automated installation and configuration system which promises to get users up and running with minimal headache.
- Open source and feature-rich
- Easy deployment
- Depends on its own solutions - may be stack limiting
We hope this list has helped you see the offerings in the current marketplace. Please note that this list is not exhaustive – nonetheless, it provides a good overview of the most common solutions available today! Feel free to let us know if there are more solutions you’d love included in this list.