Getting Started Guide
A single guide for both Kong Gateway (OSS) and Kong Gateway (Enterprise)
This Getting Started Guide walks you through foundational API gateway concepts,
features, and capabilities.
In this guide, you will:
- Expose your services using Service and Route objects
- Set up rate limits and proxy caching
- Secure services with key authentication
- Load balance traffic
If you have a Kong Konnect subscription, you also have access
to Kong Gateway’s enterprise features. In addition to the basics above,
use this guide to:
- Manage teams by setting up role-based access control (RBAC)
- Enable the Kong Developer Portal to give your teams a central location to
publish, access, and consume services
Kong Gateway (OSS)
Kong Gateway (OSS) is an open-source, lightweight API gateway optimized
for microservices, delivering unparalleled latency, performance, and scalability.
If you just want the basics, this option will work for you.
Kong Gateway (Enterprise)
This guide also includes some features available with Kong Konnect.
They'll be called out in blue blocks like this, or in their own Kong Manager
Kong Konnect extends the Kong Gateway with enterprise
features and support. It provides advanced functionality using plugins for
security, collaboration, performance at scale, and use of advanced protocols.
Concepts and Features in this guide
Here’s the content covered in this guide, and how the pieces fit together:
||A Service object is the ID Kong Gateway uses to refer to the upstream APIs and microservices it manages.
||Routes specify how (and if) requests are sent to their Services after they reach the API gateway. A single Service can have many Routes.
||Consumers represent end users of your API. Consumer objects let you control who can access your APIs. They also let you report on traffic using logging plugins and Kong Vitals.
||Kong Manager is the visual browser-based tool for monitoring and managing Kong Gateway (Enterprise).
||Kong Gateway comes with an internal RESTful API for administration purposes. API commands can be run on any node in the cluster, and the configuration will apply consistently on all nodes.
||Plugins provide a modular system for modifying and controlling Kong Gateway’s capabilities. For example, to secure your API, you could require an access key, which you could set up using the key-auth plugin. Plugins provide a wide array of functionality, including access control, caching, rate limiting, logging, and more.
|Rate Limiting plugin
Rate Limiting Advanced plugin
|This plugin lets you limit the number of HTTP requests a client can make within a given period of time.
The advanced version of this plugin also provides sliding window support, and the ability to limit by header and service.
|Proxy Caching plugin
Proxy Caching Advanced plugin
|This plugin provides a reverse proxy cache implementation. It caches response entities based on response code, content type, and request method for a given period of time.
The advanced version of this plugin supports Redis and Redis Sentinel deployments.
|Key Auth plugin
Key Auth - Encrypted plugin
|This plugin lets you add key authentication (also known as an API key) to a Service or a Route.
The advanced version of this plugin stores the API keys in an encrypted format within the Kong Gateway data store.
||Kong Gateway provides two methods for load balancing: straightforward DNS-based or using a ring-balancer. In this guide, you’ll use a ring-balancer, which requires configuring upstream and target entities. With this method, the adding and removing of backend services is handled by Kong Gateway, and no DNS updates are necessary.
|User Authorization (RBAC)
||Kong Gateway handles user authorization through role-based access control (RBAC). Once enabled, RBAC lets you create teams and admins and assign them granular permissions either within a workspace, or across workspaces.
||The Developer Portal provides a single source of truth for all developers to locate, access, and consume services.
Understanding traffic flow in Kong Gateway
Kong Gateway listens for traffic on its configured proxy port(s) 8000
and 8443, by default. It evaluates incoming client API requests and routes them
to the appropriate backend APIs. While routing requests and providing responses,
policies can be applied via plugins as necessary.
For example, before routing a request, the client might be required to
authenticate. This delivers several benefits, including:
- The service doesn’t need its own authentication logic since
Kong Gateway is handling authentication.
- The service only receives valid requests and therefore cycles are not wasted
processing invalid requests.
- All requests are logged for central visibility of traffic.
Before you begin
Note the following before you start using this guide:
- This guide assumes that you have Kong Gateway (OSS)
or Kong Gateway (Enterprise)
installed and running on the platform of your choice.
- During your installation, take note of the KONG_PASSWORD; you’ll need it
later on in this guide for setting up user authorization.
- You can use this guide to get started in production environments, but this
guide does not provide all of the necessary configurations and security settings
that you would need for a production environment.
The examples in this guide all use
<admin-hostname> to refer to a
Kong Gateway instance’s Admin API URL. Make sure to replace the
variable with the actual URL of your Kong Gateway installation.
To find the URL, check the
admin_listen property in the
Using this guide
- Throughout this guide, you will have the option to configure Kong in a few
different ways. Choose your preferred method, if options are available —
you don’t have to walk through all of them:
- Programmatically manage Kong using its REST-based Admin API
- Use the Kong Manager GUI (Kong Konnect users only)
- Use decK for declarative configuration (YAML)
- If you’re running Kong in Hybrid mode, all tasks contained in this guide take
place on the Control Plane.
- This guide provides Kong Admin API examples in both HTTPie and cURL. If you
want to use HTTPie, install it from here.
- Any references to “Kong Gateway” refer to features or concepts
common to both Kong Gateway (OSS) and Kong Gateway.
Next, prepare to administer Kong Gateway.