Zuplo vs.AWS API Gateway

Zuplo is redefining what it means to be an API Management platform and is an alternative to AWS API Gateway. With Zuplo, you can easily build and share quality APIs with other developers. Compare features, pricing, deployment options, and customizability below.


As an alternative to Amazon API Gateway, developers choose Zuplo’s API management platform to bring a delightful developer experience to their consumers and ensure consistent and incredibly fast performance across the globe with edge-first deployments.

What is Amazon API Gateway?#

Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service for creating, publishing, maintaining, and securing RESTful and WebSocket APIs for containerized, serverless, and web applications. The platform has tools designed for API developers, like versioning, traffic throttling, observability, and a pay-as-you-go pricing structure based on every million API calls received.

What is Zuplo?#

Zuplo is a fully managed API management platform for craftspeople shipping public APIs. Developers and engineers effortlessly launch new API gateways to 300+ edge data centers worldwide, then enable policies like API key authentication and rate limiting in a single click. With an obsession for removing friction, Zuplo is GitOps-ready, OpenAPI-native, programmable, and automatically deploys Stripe-quality developer portals to win over your API consumers.

What are the key differences?#

Amazon API Gateway is fully integrated with AWS. For organizations already invested in that ecosystem, deploying API gateways through this gateway platform is tempting, particularly with the pay-as-you go billing structure that lets small-to-midsize teams deploy public APIs with a relatively small monthly bill from AWS.

The platform has been a leader in democratizing API management and giving developers more control over the API lifecycle, but much like Azure API Management, its features are stuck within an inflexible legacy environment that doesn’t support new paradigms for collaboration, like API-first and GitOps.

Zuplo picks up where Amazon API Gateway left off by helping API developers ship enterprise-grade APIs fast with familiar tools and workflows. Use them for just a few days and you’ll see the key differences between Zuplo vs. Amazon API Gateway appear in stark contrast:

  • Developer experience down to the application developer
  • Region-based vs. edge performance

Developer experience down to your API consumer#

Today, the battleground over the success of a public API comes down to two factors. First comes your time-to-first-call (TTFC), which quantifies how easily any consumer, like an app developer, can get started on your API. A close second is how well you nurture their educational journey, through rich documentation and self-serve features, to becoming an expert.

Unfortunately, Amazon API Gateway has no answer for this essential piece of the API lifecycle. They have an open source Serverless Developer Portal, but the last update was in January 2022, and, according to its GitHub repository, has fallen into “maintenance mode,” with only bug fixes and security updates to come. The other option is a complicated CI/CD pipeline integration that requires the following resources:

  • Amazon API Gateway
  • Amazon EventBridge
  • AWS Lambda
  • AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store
  • AWS Secrets Manager
  • Amazon CloudWatch
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service

… simple?

A big reason you should choose Zuplo over Amazon API Gateway is our obsession with the developer experience—for you, as a team lead or API developer, and the folks who’ll eventually consume and build off your work. With Zuplo, every API gateway and developer environment gets an automatically generated developer portal with Stripe-quality references and schemas based on your OpenAPI definition (go ahead, give it a try!).

Zuplo’s developer portals support your API consumers at every stage of their journey. Built-in and self-serve API key management helps your newest users make their first authenticated call quickly and intuitively—exactly the kind of nurturing first-touch experience you need to convince consumers to stick around and learn more. For the experts, our advanced customer usage analytics shows them exactly how they’re accessing your API to debug issues and optimize their usage.

Region-based vs. edge performance#

The other key factor in any successful public API is its performance. Every millisecond counts, but how much are you willing to pay to shed a few more from your API’s responsiveness?

Amazon API Gateway will definitely offer great performance exposing your AWS-hosted backend service, particularly if you host both in the same AWS region. But this technical architecture forces you to make a consequential business decision: Which users do you care about most?

Your API gateway operates out of a single AWS region, like us-east-1, which means your API is geographically close to only a portion—perhaps even a fraction—of what is likely a global consumer base. The further these folks are to your region of choice, the slower your API gets. The same performance degradation happens if your backend service is hosted outside of AWS, requiring many additional hops between disparate clouds, in different locations, to return the data your API consumer asked for.

You can mitigate some of this centralization with a caching platform like AWS Lambda Edge Cache, or configuring your multi-region API Gateway with CloudFront, Amazon Aurora, AWS Certificate Manager, Amazon Route 53… well, the solutions come at higher AWS bills and more operational complexity for your team.

For all tiers (including the generous free tier!), Zuplo deploys your production API gateways to the edge, in 300+ data centers worldwide, so it’s always running very close to your API consumers, no matter where they are. Our 0ms cold-start platform smooths out spikes and creates a consistent experience from the first to the billionth request. Want to see it for yourself?

  1. Visit the Stripe-quality developer portal for our Rick and Morty demo API.
  2. Sign up for an API authentication key.
  3. Find an API route you’d like to request, like Get all characters, and click Test to bring up the API Playground.
  4. Click Test a few times to see response, taking note of the Time—that’s the speed of Zuplo’s edge-based API gateways.

With simple multi-cloud support and built-in caching, we deliver your APIs to 90 percent of the global population in less than 50ms.

Detailed API management platform comparison: Zuplo vs. Amazon API Gateway#

FeatureZuploAmazon API Gateway
Cost- Free: Up to 100K requests/month.
- $500/month for up to 1M requests, 99% SLA, and $25/month for an extra domain.
- Enterprise package with 99.9% SLA.
- Free tier allows 1M requests/month, but only for your first 12 months.
- Pay-as-you-go pricing per million API calls received.
Deployment optionsFully managed and auto-scaled, with deployments to 300+ edge data centers for 50ms response times around the world.Fully managed service that runs on AWS only—if your backend service runs in a different cloud, your response times will suffer.
SecuritySecure tunneling connection based on WireGuard technology to secure backend connections on private or public clouds.AWS WAF and mutual TLS supported on REST APIs.
Rate limitingOne-click support for per API, per user, or per API key rate limits, or dynamic customizations with TypeScript.Support for throttling and quotas per region, account, API, and client.
GitOps supportGateway configurations are stored in version control-friendly files, and Git integrations sync desired state with existing CI/CD pipelines.No support—configuration of API gateways happens through the AWS console.
Customization & programmabilityTypeScript-based policy and business logic customizations that deploy and run natively on the API gateway.Only via API calls to Lambda, which is slow and cumbersome.
AuthenticationSupport for API key and JWT management, and external identity providers. Includes unlimited keys, end-user self-service, rate limiting per API key, and open-source React integrations.No support for using API key authentication for public APIs. For JWTs, you must use Amazon Cognito or a Lambda authorizer.
Developer environmentsUnlimited environments for previews, testing, and production created in seconds by creating a new Git branch.Not supported. 💔
OpenAPI supportSupport for importing OpenAPI definition for API-first workflows. Additional policies support OpenAPI compliance with request/response inspection.Support for importing an OpenAPI definition to create an HTTP API with routes, integrations, and API models.
Stripe-like developer portalAutomatic builds and deployments using an OpenAPI definition, with built-in API key authentication, for beautiful documentation.No built-in developer portal.
Multi-cloudRoute to multiple backends with unified API policies for consistent authentication, logging, metrics, and more.Not supported.
High availabilityBuilt-in and included in all tiers.Built-in through AWS Regions and Availability Zones.
Integrated Web Application Firewall (WAF)Built-in for all edge deployments, in partnership with Cloudflare.Supported for REST APIs via AWS WAF.

Doesn’t AWS API Gateway have API keys?#

Yes, but according to their documentation, you cannot use API keys for authentication to control access to your APIs, as it allows them access to not just one, but all APIs in a given usage plan. Instead, AWS suggests you use a Lambda authorizer or an Amazon Cognito user pool. In addition, the developer portal deployed by Amazon API Gateway makes all APIs in a given usage plan subscribable, even if you haven’t made them publicly available.

Those limitations don’t jive well with API-first standards, like implementing security and optimizing time-to-first-call (TTFC), which is exactly where API key authentication excels for public APIs, and exactly why Zuplo helps you enable in a few clicks and no additional software to manage or infrastructure to deploy. Our Stripe-quality developer portal lets your API consumers self-serve their keys and gives you fine-grained control over what they can—and cannot—see about your API development lifecycle.

What’s next?#

Amazon API Gateway offers a great pay-as-you-go model for API developers working in organizations already invested in the AWS ecosystem, letting them connect to EC2 resources or serverless Lambda functions with relative ease. Despite those advantages, Amazon API Gateway only excels in a few stages of the API lifecycle, which leaves developers to cobble together complex integrations or rely on their DevOps peers to build infrastructure for them.

As an alternative to Amazon API Gateway, Zuplo redefines the API lifecycle to help you ship consistent, secure, and resilient APIs using the tools you already love.

Secret know-how#

Founded by a product leader who also founded Azure API Management at Microsoft in 2013, but felt the product was stuck in the dark ages and decided to build an API management platform for developers. Curious how it all went down? We’d love it if you read Zuplo's story.

Designed for Developers, Made for the Edge