Tyk vs Kong – Evaluating API Management alternatives

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of Tyk versus Kong, there’s plenty to think about.

Tyk mascot illustration

We think that Tyk has more to offer. Much more.

Let’s start with the fundamentals.

Feature Benefit Tyk Kong
Tyk owns the entire stack, all the way down Purposefully designed, built and optimised for solving the challenges of API management. Not dependent on Nginx or third party technologies.
Fully open source, not open core No functionality hidden behind a paywall.
Mature, fully centralised, multi-data centre, multi-cloud, offering Industry-leading deployment flexibility. Can be implemented across large, complex infrastructures, distributed clouds and geographies with ease, speed and resilience.
Fits seamlessly into CI/CD pipelines Delivers a slick experience that flows from development to operations without a hitch.
All Gateway features available out-of-the box Faster and easier implementation, no hidden costs or limited functionality – simply a better experience overall.
Supports GraphQL federation natively Allows the easy translation of existing services and data sources into GraphQL subgraphs and supergraphs.
Next generation service orchestration engine Take all your services – REST, GraphQL, Kafka, MQTT – and publish them to a service catalogue. Stitch them together and consume through a single powerful GraphQL query language.
World’s first GraphQL developer portal Delivers developer-driven solutions through modern, lightweight, cloud native thinking.
Native support for Kubernetes Secure, powerful API management for Kubernetes environments.
Lightweight, ultra-performant, low overhead, cloud native gateway Enables you to manage your APIs efficiently, without extra layers of complication over the top of your existing stack.
Programmatic enterprise-grade RBAC and ABAC Out of the box integration enables large teams to manage access and governance securely and at scale.
Extensibility in any language, not just Lua or JS Delivers ultimate flexibility – implement without changing your architecture or ways of working.
Licence cost not tied to usage Self-managed licences are fixed fee, not “per API call.” Lower costs for your business – no huge increase in cost as you scale up.
Self-serve trial for enterprise Install and use the product at your leisure, be sure Tyk meets your needs.

Relevant links: Tyk versus Kong Open SourceMigrating your open source API gateway from Kong to TykTyk versus ApolloTyk versus ApigeeReplacing Mashery with Tyk open source API managementPricingPerformance benchmarks

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Tyk mascot illustration

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01. One gateway. Free. Forever.

One fully open source API gateway
Two API gateways: a community version and an enterprise version

At Tyk we believe that everyone should be able to benefit from a powerful, enterprise-level API management solution. That’s why we don’t deliver a limited version of our gateway or one where functionality is hidden behind a paywall.

Our gateway is also fully open source, now and forever.

With Kong, the free gateway lacks features in comparison to the Enterprise gateway, but the Enterprise gateway isn’t open source.

With Tyk, you can benefit from a fully featured gateway that’s open source as well.

02. Fully Featured

“Batteries Included”
Add features via plugins

Tyk has all the features you need for full lifecycle enterprise API management, ready to go, out of the box and with superb support. We’ve baked features like OpenID Connect and advanced JWT authentication capabilities into our open source solution, to provide you with everything you need, right from the outset.

You only need plugins for bespoke requirements, perhaps to integrate with that old legacy system you keep under a desk and don’t want to adjust.

Kong features are added and extended by plugins from Kong and the community.

03. No third-party tech

Owns the entire stack
Built on third-party technology (Nginx)

We’re Tyk all the way down: we’re not built on anything else. All of the Tyk components have been built by our team and our community from scratch, without reliance on other vendors or products. We own our own stack.

This means that our performance and features aren’t restricted by other products.

The result? Greater flexibility, as we don’t need to adapt Tyk to work within the limitations of third party dependencies.

It also means no vendor lock-in and none of the associated risks that come with being tied down to specific vendors.

Finally, there’s the cost benefit. Tyk isn’t at the mercy of third party providers if they choose to increase their prices – so neither are you.

04. Policies

Apply at API or global level
No policies

Tyk allows you to apply policies governing auth, rate limits, quotas, etc, at either API level or globally. This makes changing the rules simple and instant with Tyk.

Kong, on the other hand, doesn’t use policies. That means that, if you’ve issued one million tokens and you want to revoke access to all of them or change a rate limit, you need to do this for every token, one-by-one. Ouch.

05. Product trials

Self-service, instant access enterprise trials for all
No self-service trials

We’re confident in offering free, instant, self-service access to our software to self-manage or use in the cloud, to companies of all shapes and sizes. And anyone can speak to our friendly, super-knowledgeable sales teams in London, Singapore and Atlanta USA, at any time.

06. Customer satisfaction

#1 in Gartner, Forrester, G2, etc
Following Tyk

Tyk has been delivering customer satisfaction for years. It’s one of the reasons that global businesses continue to rely on us. We have a rating of 4.9 on Gartner Peer Insights, where users have praised our helpful team and excellent customer service:

“Our account manager has been extremely helpful, and the support we’ve been provided with has been second to none.”

“We have always received excellent service from Tyk and our feature requests have been turned around very quickly too.”

“During the whole time we always got perfect support. All our questions have been answered in short time and in a very personal way.”

“Customer service is also great and amazingly fast.”

Thank you for reading this article. We welcome any comments or feedback. If you’d like to reach out to us, please contact [email protected]

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