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API Standards

GSA has developed API Standards that capture GSA’s recommended best practices, conventions, and standards for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

API Security is governed by the GSA IT Security Procedural Guide: API Security CIO-IT Security-19-93. Reference that guide for security-related topics such as HTTPS encryption, authentication, and authorization.

The API standards include these required items:

  1. Add Your API To The GSA API Directory - The GSA API Directory is available at
  2. Use The Service - The service is an API management service for federal agencies. GSA APIs should use the base domain with this service.
  3. Provide Support For Versioning - Versioning APIs makes the process of adding new functionality smoother and less disruptive to existing API consumers.
  4. Provide Public Documentation - The developer’s entry point to an API is its documentation. Clear and functional documentation improves the on-boarding process.
  5. Provide A Feedback Mechanism That Is Clear and Monitored - Having an obvious mechanism for clients to report issues and ask questions about the API demonstrates that the API can be counted on for production usage.
  6. Provide An OpenAPI Specification File - Providing this allows consumers to understand the details and can be used by development or testing tools accessing your API.
  7. Follow The Standard API Endpoint Design - This allows for a standardization of all Public APIs released for easier consumption. Exceptions: Not required for SOAP APIs. Not required for APIs that were in progress or production prior to December 2018. / Office of the CTO

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