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Twitch API Concepts

This topic contains concepts that you should be familiar with when working with the Twitch API.

Breaking changes

In rare cases it may be necessary to introduce breaking changes to the Twitch API. Twitch will provide as much notification as possible prior to introducing a breaking change; however, there may be times when providing prior notification isn’t possible (for example, to address security or privacy issues).

Twitch uses the Announcement section of the Twitch Developer Forum to provide notification of a pending breaking change. To prevent disruption of your application or service, be sure to update your application as appropriate and in a timely fashion. The notification will identify all programming elements involved in the breaking change and will provide guidance on work-arounds if available.

Some of the reasons why Twitch may introduce a breaking change, include but are not limited to:

Non-breaking changes

Twitch may make the following non-breaking changes without prior notification:

To discover non-breaking changes, review the change log.

Taking dependencies

Your application should not take dependencies on:

Twitch Rate Limits

To protect Twitch services, and to make sure there are enough resources for all partners, Twitch limits the number of requests a client ID (app) may make. If your app exceeds the limit, the request returns HTTP status code 429 (Too Many Requests).

How it works

Twitch uses a token-bucket algorithm to ensure the limits are respected. Your app is given a bucket of points. Each endpoint is assigned a points value (the default points value per request for an endpoint is 1). When your app calls the endpoint, the endpoint’s points value is subtracted from the remaining points in your bucket. If your bucket runs out of points within 1 minute, the request returns status code 429.

Your app is given a bucket for app access requests and a bucket for user access requests. For requests that specify a user access token, the limits are applied per client ID per user per minute.

If an endpoint uses a non-default points value, or specifies different limit values, the endpoint’s documentation identifies the differences.

For details about the Extensions API rate limits, see Extension rate limits.

Keeping track of your usage

The API includes the following headers with each response to help you stay within your request limits.

If you receive HTTP status code 429, use the Ratelimit-Reset header to learn how long you must wait before making another request.

Pagination

The Twitch API supports cursor-based pagination for APIs that return lists of resources.

List APIs like Get Videos use the following query parameters to control paging:

The after and before parameters are mutually exclusive; you may specify only one of them in the request.

If the list API is able to return another page of results, the response includes the pagination field, which is a Pagination object that includes the cursor field.

    "pagination": {
      "cursor": "eyJiI..."
    }

Use the cursor’s value to set the after or before query parameter depending on the direction you want to page. See Forward pagination and Backward pagination.

The Pagination object is empty if there are no more pages to return in the direction you’re paging.

    "pagination": {}

Specifying the page size

List APIs return a default number of items per page. For example, the default page size for Get Streams is 20 items per page. To specify a different page size, include the first query parameter with each request.

curl -X GET 'https://api.twitch.tv/helix/streams?first=40' \ 
-H 'Authorization: Bearer <access token goes here>' \
-H 'Client-Id: <client id goes here>'

The API’s documentation specifies the minimum page size, maximum page size, and default page size. For example, the maximum page size for Get Streams is 100.

An API may return less than the number of items requested per page, which is often the case for the last page of results.

Forward pagination

To get the first page, don’t specify the after query parameter.

curl -X GET 'https://api.twitch.tv/helix/streams?first=40' \ 
-H 'Authorization: Bearer <access token goes here>' \
-H 'Client-Id: <client id goes here>'

To get the next page, and all subsequent pages, set the after query parameter to the value in the cursor field of the response’s Pagination object. The cursor marks the top of the next page of results.

curl -X GET 'https://api.twitch.tv/helix/streams?first=40&after=eyJiI...' \ 
-H 'Authorization: Bearer <access token goes here>' \
-H 'Client-Id: <client id goes here>'

You’ll know you’re at the end of the list when the response contains an empty Pagination object.

Backward pagination

Not all APIs support paging backward. Check the documentation to confirm whether the API supports backward pagination — the API supports backward pagination if the list of query parameters includes the before query parameter.

To page backward through a list, set the before query parameter to the value in the cursor field of the response’s Pagination object. The cursor marks the top of the previous page of results.

curl -X GET 'https://api.twitch.tv/helix/streams?first=40&before=eyJiI...' \ 
-H 'Authorization: Bearer <access token goes here>' \
-H 'Client-Id: <client id goes here>'

You’ll know you’re at the beginning of the list when the response contains an empty Pagination object. To page forward when you’re at the top of the list, don’t include a cursor parameter.

If you page forward to the end of the list, the Pagination object is empty. Because of this, you must keep a copy of the previous cursor to use to page backward.

Lists are dynamic

Because lists are dynamic views of the data, it’s possible that the cursor may return an empty page ("data":[]) when you’re near the end of the list.

It’s also possible that you might see the same data on multiple pages. For example, Get Streams orders the list of streamers by the number of viewers they have. If the streamer’s viewership changes between the time you get the cursor and the the time the user pages forward or backward, it’s possible that the streamer could have moved up or down in the list and the user would see them on both pages.

For the same reason, it’s also possible that if the user pages forward and then backward, the contents of the previous page may be partially or fully different depending on how volatile the data is.

Known issues

The following list contains known issues that you should consider when designing your app.

  1. The Get EventSub Subscriptions endpoint doesn’t let you specify the page size (the first query parameter is not supported).
  2. The Get Extension Live Channels endpoint doesn’t use the same Pagination object as the other endpoints that support paging. Instead, it contains a pagination field that contains either an empty string or a cursor value.

Query Parameters

Things to know about endpoint query parameters and fields.

IDs are opaque

All IDs are strings and should be considered opaque, meaning its value can be anything. All POST operations that add a resource will return the resource’s ID and all GET operations include the resource’s ID.

Required versus optional parameters

All required query parameters and fields are marked as required. You should consider all other fields optional.

Some endpoints such as Get Videos specify required query parameters that are mutually exclusive, meany you may specify only one of the required parameters that are marked as mutually excluisve. The description for these parameters clearly will indicate that they are mutually exclusive.

Specifying multiple query parameter values

Some endpoints use query parameters to filter the data. If a query parameter lets you specify a list of values, you must specify the query parameter for each value in the list; the list is not comma delimited. For example, to specify multiple login values, you’d specify them as &login=twitch&login=twitchdev&login=twitchgaming.

Enumeration values

If a query parameter lists a set of enumeration values, consider the list case sensitive unless stated otherwise.

Timestamps

All date and time query parameters and fields are in RFC 3999 format. For example, YYYY-MM-DDT00:00:00Z.

Pagination parameters

Some GET endpoints that return lists of resources support pagination. For details, see Pagination.

Twitch API Health

The Twitch API provides a public status page that contains aggregate information about service health and incidents. You can subscribe to this page to receive automated alerts.

If you receive an HTTP status code 503 (Service Unavailable) error, retry once. If the retry also returns 503, check the Twitch API’s status page for relevant updates. You may also report any issue that appears to be a bug via GitHub Issues.