10 Common OpenAI API Key Errors (How to Fix Them)

OpenAI API key is a unique code allowing you access to OpenAI’s AI services.

However, if your OpenAI API key isn’t working, don’t worry. Many users encounter similar issues that can impede their projects.

Continue reading to discover the best way to resolve your problem:

  1. Wrong API key
  2. Outdated API key
  3. Lack of necessary permissions
  4. Too many API requests
  5. Network issues
  6. OpenAI service downtime
  7. Incorrect API request format
  8. Exceeding API usage limits
  9. Disabled or canceled API key
  10. Unsupported API key version

1. Wrong API key

You receive an “Invalid OpenAI API key” error when trying to use OpenAI’s tools. This can happen due to typos, copy-and-paste errors, or using an expired API key.

How to fix this error

1. Log in to your OpenAI account.

Log in to your OpenAI account

2. Go to the API Keys section.

Go to the API Keys section

3. Verify that the API key you are using matches the one displayed in your account.

4. When entering the API key into your project, make sure there are no extra spaces before or after the API key.

For example, the Python code below may still be useful for programming users.

2. Outdated API key

API keys expire for security reasons. Even if you have unused credit, your key can still expire. This error message means your key is no longer valid.

For example, I created an API key on September 26, 2023, but it expired on December 25, 2023, even though I still had about $4.88 unused.

Outdated API key

How to fix this error

1. Go to Usage section in your OpenAI account.

Go to Usage section in your OpenAI account

2. Check your API key’s expiration date.

3. If it’s expired, renew your existing key or create a new one.

3. Lack of necessary permissions

This error occurs when your API key doesn’t have the required permissions to access specific OpenAI services. When you create a key, you can set permissions to control what it can do.

How to fix this error

This error is very easy to fix, you can follow these instructions:

1. Go to the API Keys tab in your OpenAI dashboard.

Go to the API Keys tab in your OpenAI dashboard

2. Click on the key you want to modify.

Click on the key you want to modify

3. Review and adjust the key’s permissions as needed.

Review and adjust the key's permissions as needed

4. Too many API requests

OpenAI limits the number of API requests you can make within a certain time to prevent overwhelming their servers.

If you exceed this limit, you’ll receive a “Rate limit exceeded” error. OpenAI offers different usage plans from levels 1 to 5 with varying request limits.

Take a look at the image below, can you guess what level this limit is? It’s Tier 5.

Usage Tier 5
Source: OpenAI

How to fix this error

  1. Optimize your code: Reduce the number of unnecessary API calls in your project.
  2. Monitor your usage: Track your API requests to see how close you are to the limit.
  3. Upgrade your plan (optional): If needed, consider upgrading to a higher-tier plan with a higher request limit.

5. Network issues

Problems with your internet connection or network setup can prevent your app from communicating with OpenAI’s servers.

How to fix this error

Here’s what you can do:

1. Test your internet connection

Use a speed test website or app to ensure your internet speed is sufficient for API requests.

You can visit a website like Speedtest or use an app to check your internet speed. These tests will show you how fast your internet is, both for downloading and uploading data. If it’s too slow, it might not handle API demands well, causing delays or slow loading.

You can see that, after testing, my data download speed is 411.69 Mbps and upload speed is 157.47 Mbps, it’s good.

Speedtest example

2. Check firewall and security settings

Make sure your network firewall or security software isn’t blocking access to OpenAI’s servers.

Check firewall settings

If you’re using Windows, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Defender Firewall > Allow an app through Windows Firewall. Here, make sure your app making the API call is allowed.

Check firewall settings

If you’re using Macs, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall. Click the lock icon to make changes, and ensure the software you’re using for API calls is allowed.

Adjust security software

If you have antivirus or other security software, open it and look for Internet Security or Network Settings. Make sure your app is allowed to access the internet.

Internet Properties
Security Settings – Internet Zone

If you’re still encountering issues, contact your internet service provider (ISP) for further assistance.

6. OpenAI service downtime

In rare cases, OpenAI’s services might experience downtime, causing errors even with valid API keys.

OpenAI service downtime

So far, OpenAI’s API service is quite outstanding, attracting a growing user base. That means you might bump into occasional slowdowns or even a service hiccup.

For example, when your website can allow up to 1,000 visits a day but suddenly increases x2 times. Your website will crash and received a 5xx server error.

How to fix this error

  1. Check OpenAI’s status page: Visit https://status.openai.com/ to see if there are any reported outages.
  2. Wait and retry: Outages are usually temporary. Wait a while and then try your request again.


Bookmark the OpenAI status page for easy access in the future.

Want to dive deeper? Check out: OpenAI API Status Explained (With Images)

7. Incorrect API request format

Run into “Invalid request format” errors means your API request to OpenAI isn’t set up right.

You might be missing information, wrong types of data, or format problems. For example, Google Sheets files are formatted differently than CSV and Excel files.

How to fix this error

The easiest fix? Double-check the file format and send your request again. Make sure everything aligns with the OpenAI documentation, like ensuring you’re not mixing up text with numbers where it doesn’t belong.

Or you can try tools like Postman to easily build and test your API requests.

8. Exceeding API usage limits

Do you know what “Over quota” means?

An “Over quota” error means you’ve used more resources than your current OpenAI plan allows. Each plan has a limit on API requests and other usage factors.

For example:

Source: OpenAI’s Community

How to fix this error

Go to your OpenAI dashboard and review your usage statistics. This will show you how much you’ve used and your plan’s limit.

Consider ways to reduce your API requests. This might involve making fewer calls, reusing responses, or using more efficient code.

If optimizing usage isn’t enough, consider upgrading to a higher tier plan with a larger quota.

9. Disabled or canceled API key

If you receive a “Suspended or revoked” error, it means your API key can no longer be used.

  • A suspended key might be reinstated if you resolve the issue that caused the suspension.
  • A revoked key is permanently disabled.

How to fix this error (suspended key)

  1. Contact OpenAI support: Explain the error and inquire about the reason for suspension.
  2. Resolve the issue: If a rule violation caused the suspension, address the issue (e.g., improve security measures).
  3. Request key reinstatement: Once you’ve resolved the issue, contact OpenAI support to request reactivating your key.


  • Follow OpenAI’s usage guidelines to avoid future suspensions.
  • Consider creating backup keys for redundancy in case one key gets disabled.

In severe cases, OpenAI might permanently revoke your key. You may need to create a new key and potentially upgrade your plan.

10. Unsupported API key version

An “Unsupported API key version” error means your API key is incompatible with the version of OpenAI’s API you’re trying to use.

How to fix this error

Check version compatibility: Verify that the version of your API key matches the version of the OpenAI API you’re using. You can find this information in your OpenAI dashboard and API documentation.

Create a new key (optional): If your key is outdated, create a new one from your OpenAI dashboard.

If you’re unsure about version limitations for your application, contact OpenAI’s Support Team for assistance.

Final thoughts

Now you know common errors with the OpenAI API key and fix them. If you want to dig deeper and learn more, check out these resources:

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Louis Muswell

Louis Muswell

Louis Muswell is the Founder of AI Discovery. He has over 10 years of experience in AI research and development. Louis has created an online platform for AI enthusiasts to explore the depths of artificial intelligence, making it accessible to everyone.