Twitter Drastically Cuts API Rate Limits To Aid Capacity Issues

Twitter Fail Whale

The microblogging site Twitter has slashed the API rate limit from 350 to 175, although our testing has seen the limit go as low as 75 calls per hour.

Why has the company been forced to do this?

The service has been hit hard by World Cup traffic and the capacity of the network has been running on max for a while now.

Twitter’s uptime has been at it’s worst this month resulting in the all too familiar “Fail Whale” message informing customers that the service’s capacity has been exceeded.

What is the API Rate Limit?

Every time a 3rd -party application makes a request to Twitter, it uses a call to the Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) to send or receive data.

Sending data using the API is not limited at present but reading it is.

The API can only be called a set number of times per hour and once the maximum has been reached, the calls will no longer return any Twitter data until the hour is up.

By reducing the number of API calls per hour, Twitter hopes to reduce the capacity load of its network.


Such a drastic cut in the rate limit, however, means a huge headache for those services who’s products rely on getting information from the Twitterverse.

Unhappy customers are complaining of extremely slow response times and error messages from their Twitter clients.

Is Twitter a victim of its own huge success?

With their infrastructure upgrade underway, we hope service will be back to normal very soon.

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Wil is a dad, WordPress consultant, WordPress developer, business coach and mentor. He co-organizes the WordPress Sydney meetup group and has been on the organising committee for WordCamp Sydney since 2014. He speaks at many special events and contributes to the WordPress open source project. His likes are chillies, craft beer and electrogravitics.