Zuplo vs. Tyk API Management

Zuplo is redefining what it means to be an API Management platform and is an alternative to Tyk API Management. 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 Tyk, developers use Zuplo’s API management platform for its complexity-free architecture, seamless integration with the tools and workflows they know best, and developer portals with automatic Stripe-quality documentation.

What is Tyk?#

Tyk is an “API experience platform” that helps organizations create, secure, and manage their APIs. Tyk offers three API management solutions: the open source Tyk API Gateway project, the Self-Managed platform for champions of self-hosting, and the Cloud PaaS for a fully-managed platform. Platform engineers use Tyk to enforce an API platform strategy, while developers manage the full API lifecycle for both new and legacy APIs.

What is Zuplo?#

Zuplo is a fully-managed API management platform that helps businesses become API-first. Developers use Zuplo to build new APIs, layering in security, custom policy, and API key authentication in minutes using familiar GitOps patterns and unlimited environments. Once deployed to 300+ edge data centers around the world, Zuplo helps support the user’s journey with autogenerated Stripe-quality documentation.

What are the key differences?#

Since its founding in 2014, Tyk has pioneered how engineering teams at large organizations enable features like rate-limiting and employ an API-first approach through OpenAPI support—we have a ton of respect for the work they’ve done. At Zuplo, we’ve taken a different approach, by focusing entirely on the developer experience around API management, to help them work in familiar tools and without adding extra complexity to their API lifecycle.

These unique visions create different practical experiences in using Tyk vs. Zuplo:

  • Product decisions and architectural complexity
  • Working with developers and their favorite workflows
  • Automatic and comprehensive developer portal

Product decisions and architectural complexity#

Before you even begin to use Tyk as your API gateway, you’re forced to make a significant decision: Which of the three products will you use? Your decision anxiety in this moment inevitably cascades into architectural complexity.

You can go it fully alone with the open source edition, license the self-managed edition to run on your own infrastructure, or use the cloud-based SaaS platform. If you pick the self-managed edition, you’re responsible for deploying the Kubernetes infrastructure required to run the Tyk API management platform, which is a non-trivial task. The onus falls on you to enable features like multi-cloud support, establish solid security practices, and scale the Tyk microservice as your API grows.

Choosing the Cloud edition isn’t without its taxing—and irreversible—upfront decisions. When you sign up, you’re immediately asked to pick a “Home Region” with the following five choices: Singapore; Frankfurt, Germany; London, UK; Virginia, USA; or Oregon, USA. Once you choose a Home Region, your data will forever be stored there—you can’t change it after the fact.

If you have customers all over the world, why do you have to play favorites?

Zuplo is a single managed API platform for your entire lifecycle. Your developers use Zuplo to deploy globally to 300+ data centers on the edge, which means that wherever your customers ping your API, they’re benefiting from incredibly fast caching performance. Zuplo comes with none of the architectural complexity, allowing for multi-cloud out of the box and scaling easily to more than 3 billion API calls/month on a rock-solid serverless architecture.

Working with developers and their favorite workflows#

To start developing on Tyk’s plugin API, you need to install a handful of dependencies like Make, Docker, and Docker Compose, then find and download a “special” Docker image based on the commit hash for the Tyk Gateway version you use.

On the API gateway side, you need to set up a new Control Plane using your AWS S3 credentials—after configuring a valid and secure IAM policy—for storing your new plugins. When you’re ready to upload your plugin bundle, install and configure the mserv tool for interacting with S3, and then wade through the Tyk UI’s advanced settings to enable your new plugin—hope you copied the Plugin Bundle ID, as returned by mservctl, to your clipboard!

In contrast, Zuplo syncs every stage of API lifecycle management with the ways developers already love to work. Everything is a text file—your routes are stored as JSON, your custom policies in TypeScript, your internal documentation in Markdown—so that your entire API gateway’s logic and operations are source controlled and versioned using your favorite Git provider. No need for any additional tooling, processes, or credential management.

If you’re using GitOps workflows, you’ll love that your Zuplo-based API gateway is entirely declarative, automated, repeatable, and syncs perfectly with your existing CI/CD pipeline.

But Zuplo takes programmability and developer experience one step further. Every new Git branch you create for your API gateway, whether for testing or merging a new feature to production, becomes a fully-fledged developer environment in less than 20 seconds. With unlimited production edge environments included in all plans, Zuplo lets developers collaborate and build the ways they know best.

Developer portal#

Every business should have a Stripe-quality documentation experience for both internal and external customers. Accurate and up-to-date documentation is essential for educating your users, maximizing their productivity, and minimizing the burden on your support staff.

Tyk’s developer portal is a fully-fledged CMS, where you write descriptions for your API in Markdown and copy-paste Swagger-generated API documentation into the code editor. You must choose which APIs, routes, and policies to expose to the developer portal, and are responsible for manually updating your API documentation every time you push an update to production.

Tyk’s Enterprise developer portal comes with an even more complex CMS—and is only available for those who get explicit approval from Tyk.

Zuplo’s developer portal is entirely automated and self-documenting based on the routes you created in Zuplo or an existing OpenAPI spec. It even supports self-serve API key authentication, letting your customers create new keys, roll existing keys, and use code samples that include their credentials. Developer portals are tied to deployments, which means you’ll have documentation for every test and feature branch you create.

If you’re curious about how Zuplo’s automated developer portal looks and functions—how about our own Zuplo API?

Detailed API management platform comparison: Zuplo vs. Tyk#

Cost- Free: for up to 100K requests/month
- $25/month to add a custom domain
- $500/month for up to 1M requests/month 99% SLA
- Enterprise package for 99.9% SLA
- Open source: free
- Self-managed: Talk to sales for a price
- Cloud: $600-$6,800+/month
Deployment optionsFully-managed and auto-scaled, with deployments to 300+ edge data centers for 50ms response times around the world.- Open source for full customization
- Self-managed to deploy in any existing Kubernetes cluster
- Cloud for a fully-managed experience.
SecuritySecure tunneling connection based on WireGuard technology to secure backend connections on private or public clouds.Support for using the self-managed edition in a virtual private cloud (VPC).
Rate limitingOne-click support for per API, per user, or per API key rate limits, or dynamic customizations with TypeScript.Per API and per key rate limiting.
GitOps supportGateway configurations are stored in version control-friendly files, and Git integrations sync desired state with existing CI/CD pipelines.Non-native GitOps support through Tyk Sync or Tyk Operator.
Customization & programmabilityTypeScript-based policy and business logic customizations that deploy and run natively on the API gateway.A Go-based plugin system that requires Make, Docker, Docker Compose, and a “special” Docker image just to get started with development.
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.Support for JWTs, API keys, HMAC, external identity providers, and more.
Developer environmentsUnlimited environments for previews, testing, and production created in seconds by creating a new Git branch.Maximum of 3 environments for Cloud plans starting at $3,800 /month.
OpenAPI supportSupport for importing OpenAPI definition for API-first workflows. Additional policies support OpenAPI compliance with request/response inspection.- Support for importing OpenAPI definition using curl and a custom syntax.
Stripe-like developer portalAutomatic builds and deployments using an OpenAPI definition, with built-in API key authentication, for beautiful documentation.- Slow and outdated-looking portal.
- Pay extra for the Enterprise edition of the developer portal with a CMS.
Multi-cloudRoute to multiple backends with unified API policies for consistent authentication, logging, metrics, and more.Tyk Cloud is AWS-only, and self-hosting on more cloud providers comes with added cost.
High availabilityBuilt-in and included in all tiers.When using self-managed, you pay additional fees for each additional failover environment.
Integrated Web Application Firewall (WAF)Built-in for all edge deployments, in partnership with Cloudflare.No built-in WAF.

What’s next?#

Tyk has been among the leaders in API management platforms for years, but in an API-first era, priorities are shifting toward a positive, productive developer experience. Tyk’s challenging Lua-based plugin architecture and less-than-compelling developer portal create unnecessary workload in your API lifecycle.

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

Build your first enterprise-grade API with Zuplo#

  1. Import an OpenAPI spec or create new routes using Zuplo’s UI. Zuplo automatically deploys your gateway and routes traffic to proxy traffic to your backend services.
  2. Add sophisticated policies and features, like rate limiting or API key authentication, with a single click. Customize and program new logic with TypeScript and a GitOps-friendly workflow.
  3. Share the automatically generated developer portal with end users to help them self-serve API keys and learn about your API with always-accurate documentation.

Designed for Developers, Made for the Edge