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Shopify API key: what it is & how to find it

Shopify API key: what it is & how to find it

If you’ve been on Shopify for more than a minute, then you have likely heard of API keys and how great they are. But unless you’re a tech enthusiast, chances are you have no idea what an API key is or how to use it. 

You won’t have to be in the dark for much longer. With this guide on API Keys for Shopify, we’ll cover everything there is to know about these keys, how to generate your own, and how to find them on your Shopify dashboard and Partner Dashboard. 

What is an API key?

API stands for an application programming interface. It refers to the interface that allows two pieces of software to communicate with each other. Essentially, it’s a bridge between one app and another. 

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But it needs an access code. Without it, it would be like leaving a door open for hackers. 

To gain safe access to this interface, Shopify generates a code-type key. The key is then used to integrate the software with your store.

API keys are most frequently used by developers. With these Shopify keys, developers can make changes to Shopify themes or create custom features when you submit a task. They can also change the features already on the platform and integrate them with other systems to complete a diverse range of tasks and services. 

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Types of API keys

There are two types of API keys: private and public. Both work similarly but the steps you have to take to generate these keys are different. We’ll cover how to get both in the tutorials below.  

Public API key

Public apps can be used by all stores and function the same way with everyone. They are available on the Shopify app store and use the Partner Dashboard and OAuth. 

Private API key

As the name suggests, private apps are made to be privately used. They are often bought to enhance the functionality of a store and a key will only work with one store and no other.

It won’t be found on the Shopify app store and integration uses HTTP authentication. 

Benefits of using API keys

Why go through all the trouble of generating an API key when you can just upload Shopify files or use software that only requires a normal account and log in? There are a few reasons. 

Deep integration

If you found software that promises to read and direct your Shopify store without the use of an API key, it likely isn’t going to know much about your store. API keys allow the software to integrate with your store and access your store information. 

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For example, if you have analytics tools that want to connect via an API key, the analytics tool will have real-time, in-depth access to your store data. It will be able to generate insights that are accurate and actionable. 

A tool that doesn’t use this method will likely not have any accurate data or require some form of manual input, which can be time-consuming. 

The deep integration of API keys allows for accurate data collection and for the software to have clear access to the issue it is trying to resolve, support, or manage. 

Integration is easy

After connecting the API key, the software will do the rest of the work. Without lifting a finger, the app will complete the complex tasks you wanted it to complete. You don’t need to know any of Shopify’s programming language because the app, after gaining access, will do everything.

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Automated tasks and services

API keys have made automating tasks a breeze. And with the unfettered access, the API key gives, you won’t have to babysit the software. Integration is streamlined to improve productivity and save time and money.

How to get your API key for Shopify public apps

In this tutorial, we’ll cover how to get the API keys for public apps. If you are unsure about handling the backend of your store, make a Shopify store backup for peace of mind. 

Step 1: Create a Partner Account

If you don’t already have one, now is the time to create a Shopify Partner Account. Once you have created an account, log in with your unique details and head to the admin dashboard. 

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Step 2: Create an app

  • On the Shopify Partner dashboard will be a sidebar to the left. On the sidebar, search for the Apps section and click on it. 
  • On the new page will be the option to Create an app. Click on the button. 
  • Next, you will have the option to choose between a Private app and a Public app. Choose the Public app. 
  • After choosing the Public app, you need to enter the App name. It can be whatever you want it to be or the name of the app you want to connect to. 
  • Next, you will enter the App URL. This is the URL of the app you are working with. 
  • After entering the App URL, check the box Allowed URL re-directions to enable Shopify redirection
  • When all that is done, click on the Create app button to save all the information. 

Step 3: Generate the API key

After you have created the app, scroll down until you come to the section labeled API keys. Under this section will be your API key and API secret key. To view the API secret key, just press on the little eye icon next to the dotted line. 

shopify api keys

Copy both of these keys and use them to give access to the app you are trying to integrate with.

How to get your API key for Shopify private apps

To access the private apps, you can follow two methods. You can use the method used in the above tutorial but change the Public app choice in step 2 to a Private or Custom app. It will still generate the tokens. 

Or you can use the below method, which uses the Shopify admin dashboard to generate the token. 

Step 1: Log in to Shopify

Log in to Shopify with your unique login details. 

Step 2: Go to develop apps for your store

  • On your Shopify admin, to the left of the page, will be a sidebar that lets you manage tasks like how to fix the SSL pending error or edit the Shopify sitemap. On this sidebar, navigate to the Apps tab and click on it. 
  • On the new page, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. There will be a section labeled Build customer apps for your unique needs. Under this will be a button that reads Develop custom apps for your store. Click on this button. 
shopify generate api key

Step 3: Create the app

  • A pop-up labeled Create an app will appear. On this pop-up, under the App name, type the name of the app you are going to create the API keys for. 
  • Next, click on Create app
  • On the next page, find the bar labeled API credentials and click on it. 
  • On the API credentials page will be a section called Access tokens. Under this, click on the button that reads Configure Admin API access
  • Next, you will see a bunch of check boxes that start with either the words Read or Write. Check all the boxes with Read or Write. If you don’t see any boxes, that’s fine. Just carry on to the next step. 
  • After you have checked all the necessary boxes, click on the Save app button. 
shopify get api key

Step 4: Generate the API keys

After you have created the app, click on the API credentials tab to view the API keys. Both the API key and API secret key will be available. To view the secret key, click on the eye icon next to the dotted line. You can now use the keys to connect to private apps. 

Conclusion

Even without the use of Shopify’s Liquide code, you can generate Shopify API keys for both public and private apps. The ease of integration offered by API keys is something few can live without and it is necessary for any merchants that want to improve their stores.

With API keys, you have access to applications that elevate your store and improve your experience as a business owner. From automated tasks to in-depth analysis, being able to access API keys is a must for any store that wants to grow in the future.

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