Server side API Failures

Why am I seeing this diagnostic?

When your webapp makes API calls, you expect to receive successful responses from the API servers. However, API failures can occur. If the failures happen on the API server when processing the request, they are indicated by HTTP 5xx status codes. These codes generally indicate server-side errors. Some common 5xx status codes include: 500 Internal Server Error, 502 Bad Gateway, 503 Service Unavailable, 504 Gateway Timeout etc.

When your APIs are failing with 5xx errors, it can have several implications for you as a webapp developer:

  1. Disrupted Functionality: API failures can disrupt the functionality of your webapp that relies on those APIs. It can result in incomplete or incorrect data, non-functional features, or even complete unavailability of specific services.

  2. Degraded User Experience: When API calls fail, your webapp may not be able to perform certain actions or retrieve necessary data, leading to a degraded user experience. Users may encounter errors, unexpected behavior, or inability to complete tasks.

  3. Performance Impact: Frequent API failures and increased server-side errors can impact the overall performance of your webapp. It may result in increased response times, decreased throughput, and increased server load due to retries or error handling logic.

How do I fix this?

To address API failures with 5xx errors, consider the following:

  1. Error Monitoring and Logging: Implement robust logging and error monitoring mechanisms to track API failures and diagnose their causes. This can help you identify patterns, troubleshoot issues, and work towards resolving them promptly.

  2. Retry Mechanisms: Implement retry logic in your webapp to automatically retry failed API requests. However, be mindful of retry strategies to avoid overwhelming the API servers or creating an endless retry loop.

  3. Error Handling and Graceful Degradation: Handle API failures gracefully in your webapp by displaying informative error messages to users and providing alternative functionalities or fallback options where possible.

  4. Communication with API Providers/Teams: Establish communication channels with the API providers or Backend Teams to report and inquire about the API failures. They might be able to provide insights, updates, or suggestions to resolve the issues.

Last updated