Applications and websites which use Twitter are built using the Twitter API. When using an application built on the Twitter API, you may run into a situation where you are told you have been rate limited. What this means is the application you are using has tried to get information from Twitter too many times in the last hour.
This policy affects the Twitter APIs in different ways. To know what action to take you need to know what each API does:
- The REST API is used by many applications to do things like post Tweets, follow someone, create lists and more.
- The Search API is for performing searches, just as you would on Twitter.com.
- The Streaming API is for application developers who want to receive a real-time stream of the public Tweets on Twitter.
Using the REST API?
Applications are allowed to make 150 logged out (unauthenticated) requests to the REST API per hour, or 350 if you have allowed the application to act on your behalf (authenticated). Requests which count towards the rate limit are those which get information from Twitter for you to read. Requests which perform actions like tweeting, following and favoriting do not count toward this limit.
If an application using the REST API says you have been rate limited you will find that some parts of Twitter will not update anymore. We reset the rate limit counter regularly and the temporary freeze of your experience will normally be over within an hour. During this time you can still use Twitter.com or our mobile site. SMS and Push alerts will also continue to work.
Remember that REST API rate limits do not apply to actions like tweeting or following. Instead, these actions are controlled by separate limits that the API cannot change.
Using the Search API?
Access to the Search API is measured by the IP address the request is coming from. In large offices and at events or conferences, it is common for many people to share the same IP address and in some of these cases, our rate limiting may be too strict.
As users, the best thing for you to do is perform your search from twitter.com/search. If you continue to have problems searching Twitter at an event, follow the instructions on this page to help us improve the service.
Using the Streaming API?
Every Twitter account can connect to a small sampling of the Streaming API. Accounts that need increased access for data gathering or analytical reasons should check out our Certified Products Program page.
If an application that you use is regularly saying it is rate-limited we recommend you let the developers of that application know. You can point them to this page or our developer site for information about operating within the Twitter Rate Limits.
If you’re a developer and running into rate limiting issues, check out the Rate Limiting page on our developer site for helpful tips.
Need more data?
If your application is regularly hitting rate limits and needs access to more Tweets, Gnip can provide you with access to more data.