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New Update Opens Up Our API

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The SiteHost API is now easier to access, better documented, and ready for you to build great things.

Version 1.1 of the SiteHost API is a suitably important release to finish off 2020. We’ve made a big change in how you can access the API, and we’ve made it easier than ever to get started, too.

For many of you this will be your first time hearing about our API, and that’s no coincidence. In the past our API was mainly used behind the scenes, with a small number of customers, and you likely wouldn’t have found it unless you were specifically looking for it. However, after improving the API documentation and releasing a new version, we have decided to make our API a first class citizen and bring it front and centre for anyone who’s interested to use it!

Using the API you can programmatically do anything you would normally do through the Control Panel, allowing developers to automate and better integrate SiteHost services with your own. That includes provisioning servers, renewing domains, and much, much more.

The new API module

Most services you interact with use a username/password system for authentication however APIs are a little different; you need an API key. This key acts as both a username and password (letting us know who you are and authenticating you at the same time) meaning you need to keep it safe and secret.

Previously you needed to contact our support team and have them manually set up your key, but as part of this feature release we have streamlined this process with a new Control Panel module at the bottom of the module list. Using the API module you can sign up for an API key automatically, and manage its permissions all through the Control Panel.

You will, however, have to activate two-factor Authentication (2FA) before you can create and manage API keys, if you haven’t already. We require this because an API key is a powerful tool that allows access to server provisions, upgrades, and any other subscription services. You can see why we want to ensure your account is well secured before creating an API key. Even if you don’t intend to work with the API right now, we still recommend securing your SiteHost access with 2FA.

Improved documentation, with code snippets

Once you have a key you’re ready to get developing with the help of our newly improved API documentation. We’ve even included helpful code snippets for JavaScript, PHP, Rails, and Python to get you started.

There are some things you should know about our API, though, before you dive in: to put it bluntly, our API is old. It was first released way back in 2008, when the world of APIs was very different, and RESTful practices weren’t standard. Needless to say, this means it has a few peculiarities compared to what you might expect from a modern API. We try to be as transparent about these quirks as possible, and have catalogued them in the Developer Notes section of our API documentation, and we are always looking for ways to improve these as time goes on.

As part of releasing version 1.1, we have “feature frozen” version 1.0 of the API, meaning it won’t receive any new features, but will be maintained so it functions as expected for years to come. We have also created a versioning strategy where we will ensure our changes are backwards compatible where possible, so when you implement something it continues to work. Any new features that change backwards compatibility will be added to a new version of the API so you can upgrade when it suits you. Our API changelog shows you what has changed with every API update.

Now that our API is in your hands, we’ll keep improving it and adding features over time. As we see how you integrate it with your systems and what amazing things you create with it, we’ll learn what new changes would be most valuable. For now, though, you only have a few days left to make 2020 the year that you get started with version 1.1.