Tyk vs Kong – evaluating API management alternatives

In the rapidly evolving world of API management, choosing the right platform can be the difference between leading the market or lagging behind. Tyk doesn’t just offer an alternative to Kong; it redefines what you should expect from your API management platform.
See why Tyk is the best choice for ultra-performant, low overhead, cloud-native, top class UX/DX and streamlined API management.

Let’s start with the fundamentals

When selecting an API management solution, the decision reaches beyond just technical capabilities—it encompasses the philosophy, support, and the value a platform brings to your enterprise. Here’s why Tyk is your best choice:

  1. Best-in-Class with exceptional support: Tyk leads in API management because we give a damn and always strive to do better. Our commitment is evident in our top ratings on G2 and Gartner Peer reviews and our unparalleled support. We go beyond just solving problems; we’re dedicated to enhancing your experience and exceeding your expectations every step of the way.
  2. User-Friendly and cost-effective: Tyk is designed with ease of use at its core, offering a declarative configuration that cuts through the complexity of API management—batteries included, no extras needed. Unlike some competitors who nickel and dime you for every feature, our fixed-cost model keeps budgeting predictable and transparent. Say goodbye to hidden fees and the headache of escalating costs as you grow. With Tyk, what you see is what you get—and what you get is everything you need.
  3. Flexible and secure solutions: At Tyk, security is built into our core, ensuring every layer of our platform is robust and reliable. We offer plans tailored to fit any business, any size, with flexibility that adapts as you grow. Our commitment to open standards enhances API management, making it straightforward and effective for every organisation.

Choose Tyk for a partnership that grows with you, backed by a community and a team committed to your technological and business success. Experience the Tyk difference—a modern, open, and user-focused platform that truly values its customers.


Feature Benefit Tyk Kong
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.
Fits seamlessly into CI/CD pipelines Delivers a slick experience that flows from development to operations without a hitch.
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.
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.
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 available on a 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.”

What is Kong?

Kong provides a range of API management tools, including a software as a service (SaaS) API management platform, enterprise-grade API management solution, API gateway, service mesh and ingress controller for Kubernetes. There’s also a development platform for building and testing APIs, along with various plugins for extending Kong’s functionality. 

Users can manage their APIs centrally using Kong, across different clouds, gateways, protocols, teams and architectures, while enjoying real-time visibility through a single control plane. 

Features and capabilities

Kong’s features and capabilities include:

  • Single control plane for unified API management
  • Automated security to aid compliance and reduce risk
  • Federated API management 
  • Management of rate limiting, requests and responses
  • Protocol transformation
  • Gateway resilience 


Kong delivers a range of benefits. Companies using it to manage their APIs can achieve:

  • Developer productivity
  • Automated security
  • API management 


Kong is known for its speed and reliability, with organisations relying on its solid performance across a wide range of verticals.

What should you consider most when choosing an API gateway?

Choosing the right API gateway is crucial. We’ve looked at this in depth in relation to choosing an API management layer, examining critical factors and why they are so important. In headline terms, four considerations are key to choosing an API gateway. These are: 

  • Security – your gateway should deliver robust security that keeps your APIs and data safe against the latest threats.
  • Reliability – whether you’re using APIs internally, externally or both, reliable performance is a must. 
  • Scalability – business growth often comes in sudden spurts, meaning you need an API gateway that can handle rapid scaling with ease. 
  • Integrations – your API gateway needs to play nicely with existing systems and microservices, as well as those you’ll be implementing in future, all without creating headaches for your hard-working IT people. 

These factors mean you can manage your APIs seamlessly while keeping everyone from regulators to customers using your API products happy. Of course, outstanding customer support is important too – there’s plenty of peace of mind in knowing a dedicated team of experts has your back. 

By choosing an API gateway that is secure, reliable, scalable and easy to integrate, you’re laying the foundations for successful API management. And by doing that, you’re positioning your business for future growth. 

Tyk vs Kong – Gartner reviews

Based on verified reviews from real users in the API management market, Kong has a rating on Gartner of 4.5 stars with 164 reviews. Tyk has a rating of 4.8 stars with 77 reviews. Have a look at the Gartner Peer Insights comparison page for more about Kong vs Tyk.

Trusted by leading businesses.
Loved by their engineers.

Group 959
Group 960
Group 961
Group 962
users-love-us 3
    • Read customer reviews
  • Stars-Panel-1
  • Stars-Panel-2

Learn more about the
advantages of using Tyk

VS. icon
The battle of the open source API gateways.
VS. icon
Eight reasons to choose Tyk.
VS. icon
Nine headaches that Tyk can remove.
OS logo
Explore the process of migrating your open source API gateway from Kong to Tyk.
Discover our cost-effective, highly performant alternative that comes with outstanding support.
Affordable, cloud-native API management, installed on your own servers, the cloud, or as a multi-cloud SaaS.

Watch a demo

Explore three key steps to managing your APIs.

Find out more about the differences between Tyk and Kong

Book a personalised demo