OpenAI API Key User Guide and Alternatives

OpenAI API Key User Guide and Alternatives


Do you wonder how to access and utilize the capabilities of OpenAI’s models? What challenges might you face in the process, and what alternatives could you consider? This blog aims to unravel the intricacies of the OpenAI API Key. 

We’ll guide you through the process of acquiring your own API key, setting up your environment, and sending your first request. We’ll also address common issues, discuss best practices for keeping your API key secure, and highlight real-life applications of integrating the OpenAI API Key into various projects. Furthermore, we’ll examine the limitations of the OpenAI API Key, including increasing censorship and high calling costs, and introduce you to Novita AI as an alternative solution that could be a game-changer for your AI endeavors.

What is OpenAI API Key?

The OpenAI API key is a unique credential assigned to users upon registration, serving as both an identifier and authentication token for accessing OpenAI’s API services. This key enables developers to securely integrate OpenAI’s powerful AI capabilities into their applications. 

Each API key is associated with specific permissions and usage limits, which govern the actions and data accessible through the API. It plays a crucial role in controlling access, monitoring usage, and ensuring secure interaction between client applications and OpenAI’s servers, thereby supporting a wide range of AI-driven functionalities across diverse applications and industries.

What Models Are Powering OpenAI API?

The OpenAI API is supported by a variety of models, each offering unique capabilities and pricing options. These models can be customized for specific use cases through fine-tuning.

  1. GPT-4o: The quickest and most cost-effective flagship model.
  2. GPT-4 Turbo and GPT-4: The previous generation of highly intelligent models.
  3. GPT-3.5 Turbo: A swift, budget-friendly model for basic tasks.
  4. DALL-E: A model capable of generating and editing images from natural language prompts.
  5. TTS: Models designed to convert text into natural-sounding speech.
  6. Whisper: A model that transcribes audio into text.
  7. Embeddings: Models that transform text into numerical data.
  8. Moderation: A specialized model that detects potentially sensitive or unsafe text.
  9. GPT base: Models that understand and generate natural language or code without instruction following.
  10. Deprecated: A comprehensive list of outdated models and their recommended replacements.

What Can I Do with OpenAI API Key?

Text generation

These models generate textual responses based on the information they receive. Inputs to these models, termed as “prompts,” are pivotal in guiding their outputs and essentially serve as instructions or examples for task completion. 

Utilizing OpenAI’s text generation models empowers developers to create diverse applications such as drafting documents, coding, querying knowledge bases, text analysis, implementing natural language interfaces for software, tutoring across various subjects, language translation, and character simulation for gaming environments.

Function calling

Function calling allows you to describe functions that the model can recognize and respond to with JSON data containing arguments for those functions. The model doesn’t directly execute the function itself; instead, it generates JSON output that your application can use to call the function within your code.


Embeddings are vectors of numbers that represent the meaning and context of text strings. These vectors measure how closely related different pieces of text are to each other. They are useful in various applications such as search, where results are ranked by relevance to a search query, or clustering, where similar text strings are grouped together.


Fine-tuning enhances the performance of its text generation models by allowing users to refine and customize the models for specific tasks. Users can initiate fine-tuning by preparing and uploading their own training data, then training a specialized model that aligns more closely with their application’s requirements.

Image generation

Image generation means that you can generate images with text prompts.


Some models can take in images and answer questions about them.

Text to speech

The process of text-to-speech involves converting written text, such as a blog post, into spoken audio. This technology enables the creation of audio content in various languages and can provide real-time streaming of audio output.

Speech to text

The process of text-to-speech involves converting spoken audio from any language into written text. It then translates and transcribes this text into English.


Moderation assesses text to determine if it contains potentially harmful content. Developers can utilize this endpoint to analyze text inputs and identify material that could be considered harmful or inappropriate. This capability allows applications to automatically filter out or handle such content, helping maintain a safer and more positive user experience.

How to Acquire and Setup My Own OpenAI API Key?

Step 1: Account Setup

  • Create/Open an OpenAI Account: Visit the OpenAI platform and sign up or log in.
  • Navigate to API Key Page: Once logged in, go to the API key management page.
  • Create a New Secret Key: Click on “Create new secret key” and optionally name the key.
  • Save the Key: Make sure to save the API key in a safe place and do not share it with anyone.

Step 2: Quickstart Language Selection

  • Select curl/Python/Node.js: The following guide caters to choosing Python as your programming language for interacting with the OpenAI API. If your choice is curl or Node.js, you can visit OpenAI Platform for respective quickstart tutorials.

Step 3: Setting up Python

  • Check Python Installation: Open Terminal or Command Prompt and type python. If it's installed, you'll enter the Python interpreter.
  • Install Python: If Python is not installed, download and install the latest version from the official Python website, ensuring you have at least Python 3.7.1.

Step 4: Install the OpenAI Python Library

  • Upgrade pip: Ensure pip is up to date with pip install --upgrade pip.
  • Install the Library: Install the OpenAI Python library with pip install --upgrade openai.

Step 5: Set up Your API Key

  • Set API Key for All Projects (Recommended): Set the environment variable OPENAI_API_KEY to your API key value.

MacOS/Linux: export OPENAI_API_KEY="your_api_key_here"

Windows: set OPENAI_API_KEY="your_api_key_here"

  • Set API Key for a Single Project: If not using an environment variable, you’ll need to set the key in your Python script using openai.api_key = "your_api_key_here".

Step 6: Sending Your First API Request

  • Create a Python Script: Make a new file named
  • Write Python Code: Copy and paste the provided example code into
from openai import OpenAI
client = OpenAI()

completion =
    {"role": "system", "content": "You are a poetic assistant, skilled in explaining complex programming concepts with creative flair."},
    {"role": "user", "content": "Compose a poem that explains the concept of recursion in programming."}
  • Run the Script: Execute the script by running python in the Terminal or Command Prompt.

Troubleshooting Common Issues for OpenAI API

Common API Errors

Here is the list of mostly seen API errors, check out meanings of error codes:

Python Library Errors

You may come across some common Python library errors when using your API. Get to know the error types for troubleshooting:

How to Handle Errors

import openai
from openai import OpenAI
client = OpenAI()

  #Make your OpenAI API request here
  response = client.completions.create(
    prompt="Hello world",
except openai.APIError as e:
  #Handle API error here, e.g. retry or log
  print(f"OpenAI API returned an API Error: {e}")
except openai.APIConnectionError as e:
  #Handle connection error here
  print(f"Failed to connect to OpenAI API: {e}")
except openai.RateLimitError as e:
  #Handle rate limit error (we recommend using exponential backoff)
  print(f"OpenAI API request exceeded rate limit: {e}")

For more information about error codes, please visit the OpenAI Platform website.

How to Keep My API Key Safe?

Unique Keys for Each User

Assign a distinct API key to every team member to prevent unauthorized sharing and ensure accountability.

Avoid Client-Side Exposure

Never embed your API key in client-side applications such as web browsers or mobile apps to avoid potential misuse by malicious actors.

No Commitment to Repositories

Refrain from including your API key in source code repositories to prevent accidental exposure, especially in public repositories.

Leverage Environment Variables

Utilize environment variables like OPENAI_API_KEY to store your key securely outside of your application code, facilitating secure sharing and management.

Implement Key Management Solutions

Employ dedicated services designed for managing sensitive keys, enhancing security and providing an additional layer of protection against breaches.

Monitor and Rotate Keys

Regularly monitor your API usage to detect anomalies and rotate your keys periodically to minimize the risk of unauthorized access and potential misuse.

What Are Real-Life Practices of Integrating OpenAI API Key in Projects?

Automated Content Creation

  • Scenario: A content marketing agency uses the OpenAI API to generate draft articles, blog posts, and social media updates based on given topics or outlines.
  • Application: The text generation capabilities of models like GPT-3.5 Turbo enable the creation of engaging and contextually relevant content.

Enhanced Customer Support

  • Scenario: An e-commerce platform integrates a chatbot powered by OpenAI’s text generation models to provide 24/7 customer support, answering queries, and resolving issues.
  • Application: The chatbot can understand user prompts and generate appropriate responses, improving customer satisfaction and reducing response times.

Coding Assistance

  • Scenario: A development team uses the OpenAI API to create an AI coding assistant that suggests code snippets, debugs existing code, and auto-generates routine code segments.
  • Application: Leveraging the understanding and generation capabilities of models like GPT base, developers can boost productivity and reduce development time.

Educational Platforms

  • Scenario: An online learning platform integrates AI to provide personalized tutoring, generating explanations, and answering queries in subjects like math, science, and humanities.
  • Application: The text generation models can simulate a tutor’s responses, offering explanations and guidance tailored to the learner’s level of understanding.

Language Translation Services

  • Scenario: A translation service uses the OpenAI API to convert text from one language to another, facilitating cross-language communication for businesses and individuals.
  • Application: Models with multilingual capabilities can generate translations that are not only linguistically accurate but also contextually appropriate.

Image Generation and Editing

  • Scenario: A design agency uses DALL-E to create unique images or edit existing visuals based on descriptive text prompts from clients.
  • Application: The image generation capabilities allow for the rapid conceptualization and iteration of design ideas without manual illustration.

Search Relevance and Clustering

  • Scenario: A search engine or e-commerce site uses the Embeddings models to improve search result relevance by understanding the semantic meaning of user queries and product descriptions.
  • Application: Embeddings help in ranking search results or grouping similar products, enhancing user experience by providing more accurate and personalized results.

Content Moderation

  • Scenario: A social media platform uses the Moderation model to automatically detect and flag potentially harmful or inappropriate content, ensuring a safe online environment.
  • Application: The Moderation model analyzes text inputs to identify and handle sensitive content, reducing the burden on human moderators and speeding up the moderation process.

Open AI API Pricing for LLMs


GPT-3.5 Turbo

Limitations of OpenAI API Key

Increasing Censorship

The increasing censorship of the OpenAI API has become a topic of concern for many users and developers. As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and integrate into various aspects of our daily lives, the way it filters and moderates content is under scrutiny. While the intention behind content moderation is often to prevent the spread of misinformation, illegal activities, and harmful content, some users have voiced their dissatisfaction with what they perceive as overreach. Critics argue that the censorship can limit the scope of discussions, impede the free flow of information, and potentially infringe upon freedom of expression.

High Calling Costs

The high calling cost of the OpenAI API is a significant consideration for developers and businesses looking to integrate advanced AI capabilities into their applications. With models like GPT-4 offering varying token limits and associated costs, the expense can quickly add up, especially for applications requiring extensive interactions or large volumes of data processing. For instance, the GPT-4 model with a 32k token limit incurs a per-call cost of $0.12, which can escalate to $18.00 for the total call. Similarly, the GPT-4 Turbo model, while more cost-effective at $0.03 per call, still represents a considerable investment for high-volume usage. These costs can pose a barrier to entry for smaller entities and startups that might not have the financial resources to support such expenses, potentially limiting the accessibility and innovation within the AI community.

Novita AI LLM API Key — — Alternative to OpenAI API Key

Overview of Novita AI LLM API

In order to overcome the limitations of using OpenAI API key, Novita AI LLM API offers cost-effective and uncensored LLM API key to developers, especially those in AI startups. Our aim is to offer one API key with infinite AI innovation possibilities. 

To be specific, our LLM API offers many LLM choices with low calling costs as well as strong performances. You can choose the LLM that caters to your needs.

Moreover, our LLM API offers adjustable parameters that are exactly the same as OpenAI API provisions, including top p, temperature, presence penalty and max tokens.

Since our API protocol is consistent with the OpenAI API protocol, if you are using the OpenAI API or are accustomed to similar protocols, you can seamlessly switch and call our LLM API.

How to Get Novita AI API Key

Step 1: Register an Account

Navigate to the Novita AI website and click the “Log In” button found in the top menu. Currently, you can sign in using either your Google or GitHub account. Upon logging in, you will be awarded $0.5 in Credits for free!

Step 2: Generate an API Key

To authenticate with the API, include a Bearer Token in the request header (e.g., -H “Authorization: Bearer ***”). We will provide you with a new API key.

You can also create your own key by selecting “Add new key”.

Step 3: Execute an API Call

With just a few lines of code, you can make an API call and utilize the capabilities of Hermes 13B and other advanced models:

from openai import OpenAI

client = OpenAI(
    # Get the Novita AI API Key by referring:
    api_key="<YOUR Novita AI API Key>",
model = "nousresearch/nous-hermes-llama2-13b"
completion_res = client.completions.create(
    prompt="A chat between a curious user and an artificial intelligence assistant".
    stream = True, # or False
    max_tokens = 512,


In this blog, we’ve explored the multifaceted world of the OpenAI API Key, from its initial setup to its practical applications and potential pitfalls. We’ve discussed the models that power the API, such as GPT-4 and DALL-E, and the diverse functionalities they offer, including text generation, function calling, embeddings, and fine-tuning. We’ve also provided a step-by-step guide on acquiring and setting up your own API key, as well as tips for troubleshooting common issues and keeping your key secure.

However, we’ve also acknowledged the limitations, such as increasing censorship and high calling costs, which can affect the user experience and the general accessibility of AI technologies.

To address these limitations, we introduced Novita AI LLM API Key as an alternative to the OpenAI API Key, offering cost-effective and uncensored options for developers.


1. Why did OpenAI choose to release an API instead of open-sourcing the models?

OpenAI chose to release an API instead of open-sourcing their models for three main reasons:

Financial Support: Commercializing the technology through an API helps fund ongoing AI research, safety measures, and policy efforts.

Accessibility: The complexity and cost of maintaining large AI models make them difficult for smaller organizations to use. An API makes these models accessible without requiring extensive expertise or resources.

Control and Safety: Releasing via an API allows OpenAI to monitor and control access, responding quickly to potential misuse or harmful applications that might arise from open-sourcing the models.

Novita AI is the all-in-one cloud platform that empowers your AI ambitions. With seamlessly integrated APIs, serverless computing, and GPU acceleration, we provide the cost-effective tools you need to rapidly build and scale your AI-driven business. Eliminate infrastructure headaches and get started for free — Novita AI makes your AI dreams a reality.