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What is a Google Maps API Key?

Certain WordPress plugins and applications on your website require the functionality of Google Maps. In order to integrate that functionality into your website, you need a Google Maps API key – a code which you can get on the Google Maps Platform website.

Billing for Google Maps

On July 16, 2018, Google made it mandatory for all users of their Maps API keys to enable billing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will cost you anything to use their integration that allows you to display Google maps on your website, or mobile app. When you sign up, you are automatically allocated $200 in free usage for Maps, Routes, and Places every month. In any case, for basic maps, you will need a lot of web traffic – upwards of around 28000 views of the Google maps on your site, before you start paying for the service. So for most website owners, the service is essentially still free, even though Google now insists that you enable billing on their platform.

To get a Google Maps API Key, start here:

To get an API key using the Google Cloud Platform Console, you will be asked to:

  • Pick one or more products,
  • Select or create a project, and
  • Set up a billing account.
  • Restrict usage of your API Key (this protects it so it can only be used on your website.)
  1. Log in to your Google account (assuming you have a Gmail address or other Google service, which means you already have a Google account. If not, you can sign up for a free Gmail account.)
  2. Go to https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/get-api-key.  Read through carefully, and then follow the link on that page to Get Started with Google Maps Platform.  This has detailed instructions and videos for each part of the process.
  3. Once you have your API Key for Google Maps, send it to your web designer/developer, or ask them for help if you are asked to authenticate your website.