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Google Maps API Changes & Costs

Search Engine Optimization

* This post was originally written for and posted on 9 Planets Design blog.

You may have seen alerts letting you know that “Google has introduced new pricing for displaying maps on your site. If you have moderate traffic levels, this may likely affect you with surprise and unexpected costs!”

What This Means

Recently Google Maps announced API changes that affect everyone using Google Maps. They’ve implemented new pay-as-you-go pricing plans for use of their API keys. On this plan, users get up to 28,000 map loads per day, free of charge. (Google’s tally varies depending on whether it’s a static or dynamic map load, or a static or dynamic street view load, among other criteria.)

The only thing required from existing users is to add a credit card to their Google Console account if they haven’t done so already. They give you a $200 credit each month that should cover the “free” map loads, but if you go over the map loads maximum that the $200 credit covers, you’ll get charged by Google.

These Google changes are mandatory, if you’re using Google to display maps. However, for you WordPress website users, the creators of WP Google Maps say they will be implementing an Open Street Maps integration for users who would like an alternative solution to Google Maps.

If your website’s map display has stopped working, contact either your web designer/developer or your plugin developer to find out which type of maps they use.

For more information on how to set up an account with Google Cloud Platform and how to set up API keys for your Google maps so that they will display properly again, see Sink Web Design’s article Set Up Google Maps API Account and Key. Some maps cost more than others, and there are two ways to limit your use if you do get an API key.

Ways to Protect Yourself from Excessive API Costs

  • Set up a budget alert to track how much you spend per month and to let you know when you’re close to going over the limit. Setting a budget does not cap API usage; it only alerts you when your spend amount gets near the specified limit.
  • Cap your daily API usage to manage your cost of billable API. By setting caps on map requests per day, you can limit your spending. Use a simple equation to determine your daily cap, depending on how much you want to spend.

For example: (Monthly spend / price per each)/30 = requests per day cap (for one API).

Remember that a $200 USD Google Maps Platform credit is available each month, so be sure to factor that into your calculation. Your implementation of Google maps may use multiple billable APIs (such as Google Street View, Google Maps Directions, Google Maps Geolocation, etc.), so adjust your equation as needed. The first option, setting a budget alert, just tells you you’re getting close so that you can check and keep an eye on your numbers. The second option, capping your daily API usage, is kind of like an “off switch” option to kill your API connection if you hit the limit. WARNING: There can be repercussions for killing the API key so if you’re going to use that option, make sure you understand what will happen.

Ready to get an API Key?

Step-by-step instructions are found here: Set up Google Maps API Account and Key

If you have any questions about this process or need assistance getting set up, please don’t hesitate to contact Sink Web Design for help.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Have you tried out the new Google Maps API process? How do you feel about this new pricing plan? Please share in the comments below. You never know who might read your words and benefit from your knowledge and experience.

And if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here in the blog, please let us know.

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