Per Second Request Limits Introduced

Yesterday we introduced per second request limits to our API to ensure consistent service for all customers, we've had to implement this due to two main situations that have arose recently.

  1. Our customers who are under a sustained denial of service attack tend to have bursts of extremely high requests per second to our API, often they are checking the same addresses over and over again in quick succession due to them not caching the queries they make to us.
  2. We've been receiving multiple denial of service attacks targeting us directly which are tuned to exhaust our CPU resources.

So to stop these situations from reducing our quality of service we have introduced a per customer per node per second request limit of 100. Now that is a lot of pers so I will explain in a little bit more detail how the limit is actually enforced.

First, we have a soft and hard limit

  1. The soft limit is between 101 and 125 requests per second. (Your request will succeed, with a warning message).
  2. The hard limit starts at 126 requests per second. (Your request will be denied).

Secondly, these limits are per-node

Currently there are 4 nodes in the cluster which means if you are able to distribute your requests across multiple IP Addresses you're more likely to evenly load the cluster which will raise your per second soft request limit from 100 to 400 and your hard limit from 125 to 500.

Thirdly, the limit is per customer

Each individual customer can make 100 requests per second to each of our nodes or 400 requests per second to the cluster as a whole.

Fourth, the limiter has a resolution of exactly one second

What this means is, if you go over the limit in the current second and you receive a warning or denied response from the API, by the next second your queries will be answered again and the allowance per second is reset. We're not recording how many queries you make over minutes or hours and then dividing that volume by seconds, this is a truly per-second limit and so you won't be penalised for a short burst of very high requests.

Fifth, these limits are per request, not per query

What this means is, you can still send multiple IP Addresses to be checked in a single request. The current limit is 10,000 addresses in a single request, if you did so that would count as one request in the second we receive it and not 10,000 requests.

Based on our research we believe these limits are some of the most liberal of any API of this type. We've seen services which have limits of less than 100 queries per minute and we're offering 100 per second (or 400 when evenly loading our cluster).

We believe our limits are very reasonable, if you took our largest pre-configured plan of 10.24 Million queries per day you would need to make 118 requests per second over a 24 hour period to utilise that full plan (when performing one query per request) and it's very likely you would evenly load our cluster during that time putting you well within the 400 requests per second soft limit, but even if all your traffic was always directed to a single node you would still be under the 126 requests per second hard limit.

Of course this is our first foray into request limiting and we may alter the limits in the future, rest assured we will fully detail any and all changes. And remember as we add more nodes to the cluster the overall cluster request limit will keep rising.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.