Zuplo vs.Apigee API Management

Zuplo is redefining what it means to be an API Management platform and is an alternative to Apigee 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 Apigee, developers use Zuplo’s API management platform for its contemporary developer experience that uses familiar and proven tools, a lower total cost of ownership no matter the scale, and Stripe-quality developer portals for the ultimate end user experience.

What is Apigee?#

Apigee was an independent API management platform provider before being acquired by Google in 2016. Now, Apigee technology operates as a wholly owned product of Google Cloud Platform, with options for hybrid environments or a fully-managed service for packaging serverless functions as REST 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, all in a free tier. Once deployed to 300+ edge data centers worldwide, Zuplo helps support your API’s user journey with autogenerated Stripe-quality documentation.

What are the key differences?#

Founded in 2004, Apigee is one of the oldest API management platforms, and for those already using Google Cloud Platform, it seems like an obvious choice. We have a ton of respect for what the team has built and how they’ve navigated multiple major transitions in how APIs are designed and deployed. At Zuplo, we’re fully invested in the API-first philosophy, focusing on helping API developers work in familiar tools and tested workflows to simplify their API management lifecycle.

These differences in this legacy vs. API-first philosophy results in practical differences when using Apigee vs. Zuplo:

  • Total cost of ownership
  • Programmability and developer experience
  • Developer portals and end user experience

Total cost of ownership#

Once Apigee became part of Google Cloud in 2016, it adopted all the pricing complexity of its new ownership. To determine your Apigee pricing, you’ll need to launch the GCP calculator, start deciding how many environments and regions you need, and estimate your monthly API calls.

For a fully managed Apigee deployment of two environments (production and testing), 100,000 calls/month, two gateway nodes per environment, and a single region, you’ll pay more than $3,000/month. Want to add a second region for your production environment? That’s an extra $1,500/month.

The sticker shock might convince you to pursue Apigee’s Hybrid deployment option, which allows you to self-host API gateways. But to scale up even the Base environment tier, which gives you a maximum of 5 environments per project, you’re still paying $365 per month per region. The hybrid model assumes your operations team can get through the extensive installation process—the video tutorial in Apigee’s documentation is a mere 80 minutes long.

With Zuplo, the cost of deploying a single enterprise-grade API, complete with features like API key authentication and rate limiting, is as low as free. Simple as that. Our serverless architecture, which deploys your APIs and custom gateway logic to more than 300+ data centers, already handles 3 billion requests/month for a single customer, with instant fail-over to the next-best edge location.

Zuplo is already saving customers 80% on the purchase cost of Apigee, not to mention lower ongoing operating costs that compound every month.

Programmability and developer experience#

Whether you use Apigee’s UI in the GCP Console or create policies in your favorite IDE and upload them manually to your API gateway, the experience of writing custom policies for your APIs comes down to an Apigee-specific ecosystem of XML syntax. Once you’ve created a policy, you’ll need to use the UI to make further changes, which forks into additional roadblocks for a good developer experience:

  • No source controls your API gateway’s logic, policies, artifacts, and management layers.
  • No code review on changes to rate limiting, for example, that might negatively impact the end user experience.
  • No repeatability for creating new API gateways or disaster recovery runbooks.

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 and end user experience#

In Apigee, you can create a developer portal through a Drupal-based CMS or a DIY solution that involves building a custom frontend that requests data through Apigee APIs, but we’ll focus on the feature most API developers will use: the integrated portal that comes with Apigee. As a developer, your experience with Apigee’s integrated developer portal is far from streamlined. You have to create each portal, upload your OpenAPI specification, reconfigure the defaults based on a document of best practices… you get the picture.

How you manage your developer portal happens entirely within the GCP Console, which is siloed from the IDEs and Git providers you use, and isn’t source controlled, easily reviewable, or repeatable.

In the end, you get an outdated API developer portal that forces the end user to hop through unnecessary steps to manually authorize their use and receive an API key.

As an Apigee competitor, Zuplo automatically creates development portals based on your existing OpenAPI specifications and current development workflows, giving you the best possible end user onboarding and educational experience—especially if you use time-to-first-call (TTFC) as a benchmark to gauge the success of your API lifecycle.

Zuplo generates and deploys a new developer portal for every API project based on your OpenAPI definition with beautiful references, examples, schemas, and more. Every time you build a new route or add a user-facing policy, Zuplo updates the developer portal in a few seconds. Zuplo also imposes no limits on the number of environment-specific portals you need, which is perfect for testing new features internally or letting certain end users access an experimental or custom version of your API.

Speaking of end user experience—the Zuplo developer portal has a beautiful modern design with preconfigured self-service API key management (try it by yourself). Your developer audience can also access analytics for how they use your API, like real-time call volume and status code mix, giving them valuable tools for debugging and understanding their usage.

Detailed API management platform comparison: Zuplo vs. Apigee#

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
Pay-as-you go options that begin at $1,500/month for 100K requests and a single deployed region.
Deployment optionsFully-managed and auto-scaled, with deployments to 300+ edge data centers for 50ms response times around the world.Managed deployments in Google Cloud Platform only. On-premises deployments and additional environments available through Apigee hybrid at additional cost.
Rate limitingOne-click support for per API, per user, or per API key rate limits, or dynamic customizations with TypeScript.Support for adding SpikeArrest or Quota policies using complicated XML.
GitOps supportGateway configurations are stored in version control-friendly files, and Git integrations sync desired state with existing CI/CD pipelines.None, as information about the API gateway is stored in abstracted databases and custom configuration requires scripting of API calls.
Customization & programmabilityTypeScript-based policy and business logic customizations that deploy and run natively on the API gateway.Offers custom policies that must be developed using the GCP Console and XML.
AuthenticationSupport for API key and JWT management, and external identity providers. Includes end-user self-service, rate limiting per API key, and open-source React integrations.Support for standard authentication with complex extension mechanisms.
Developer environmentsUnlimited environments for previews, testing, and production created in seconds by creating a new Git branch.Support for multiple environments, but you pay for each based on monthly API call volume.
OpenAPI supportSupport for importing OpenAPI definitions for API-first workflows. Additional policies support OpenAPI compliance with request/response inspection.Support for importing OpenAPI definitions to deploy API routes and developer portals.
Stripe-like developer portalAutomatic builds and deployments using an OpenAPI definition, with built-in API key authentication, for beautiful documentation.Integrated portal that looks outdated, with support for a DIY approach using Drupal.
Multi-cloudRoute to multiple backends with unified API policies for consistent authentication, logging, metrics, and more.GCP only 💔.
High availabilityBuilt-in and included in all tiers.Support for manual scale
Integrated Web Application Firewall (WAF)Built-in for all edge deployments, in partnership with Cloudflare.VPC connectivity to GCP only.

What’s next?#

Apigee remains a popular choice for organizations invested in the Google ecosystem, but remains a legacy-centric API management platform with only a few new features to support developers in an API-first era. Apigee’s total cost of ownership makes it incompatible with teams without massive operations teams and budgets, and its developer experience falls behind in supporting today’s local-first development workflows and Stripe-quality developer portals.

As an alternative to Apigee, Zuplo redefines the API lifecycle to help you build 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 redefine what it means to be an API Management Platform. Read Zuplo's story here.

Designed for Developers, Made for the Edge