In this article, we'll cover what an API is, how to use an API key to grant access to your MailChimp account, and where to go for support with any additional questions that you may have about the MailChimp API.

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What is an API?

API stands for "application programming interface." This Wikipedia article covers APIs in more detail, but it can be helpful to think of the API as a way for different apps to talk to one another. For many users, the main interaction with the API will be through API keys, a way for other apps to access your account without you giving out your password.

Finding or generating your API key

API Key

If you, or your developer, are setting up an integration with your MailChimp account, chances are high that you'll need to generate an API key. Users with Manager permissions can generate and view their own API keys. Users with Admin permissions can also see API keys for other account users. To grab an existing API Key or to generate a new one, follow these steps:

  1. Click your profile name to expand the Account Panel and choose Account Settings.
    Account settings
  2. Click the Extras menu and choose API keys.
    Api keys
  3. Copy an existing API key or click the Create A Key button.
    Create a key
  4. Label your key to keep your keys organized.
    Label key

Disabling an API key

If you're worried that an API key has been compromised, or you're simply no longer using the integration that was accessing your account through a particular API key, MailChimp makes it possible to disable that API key. To disable the API key, follow these steps:

  1. Click your profile name to expand the Account Panel and choose Account Settings.
    Account settings
  2. Click the Extras menu and choose API keys.
    Api keys
  3. Find the API key you're interested in, and click Disable in the Status column.

API key security

API keys grant full access to your MailChimp account, and should be protected the same way you would protect your password. In particular, there are a few common scenarios to keep in mind when working with API keys:

  • Give each integration its own API key, and to assign labels to each key so you know which key goes with which app. If a specific API key is compromised, you can disable that key without disabling access to all of your other integrations.
  • Be careful not to expose the key to the public (such as in screenshots, videos, help documentation, etc). Remember that blurring your data isn't always enough. It's best to use "cut" functions in your graphics program to remove the data completely.
  • If a key needs to be shared, generate a new key and label it accordingly so it can be disabled, if needed. Make sure never to email the API key; if your email account becomes compromised, the emailed key would allow hackers access to your MailChimp account as well.

API support

MailChimp's support chimps aren't trained in in-depth API troubleshooting. If you're looking for a developer to help you configure something using the API, we suggest checking out our great Experts Directory, which lists third-party MailChimp experts who can be hired to help you out.

If you're a developer looking to build your own integration with MailChimp, the first place to check is our API documentation. Any questions not answered by the documentation are best handled by our dedicated API support group, which you can find here.


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