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Simple request metering for the WordPress REST API
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Exoskeleton Build Status

Exoskeleton provides self-contained, basic, configurable rate limiting for the WordPress REST API. It works with both default and custom endpoints.

NOTE: This is experimental code. It works in initial testing, but please know that it has yet to be tested in a production setting.

What does it do?

Exoskeleton counts each access to REST API endpoints you specify. If the number of accesses exceeds a configured limit in a configured time window, Exoskeleton switches off the endpoint by not dispatching the route and ends execution after issuing a 429 (too many requests) response header along with a configured Retry-After header.

Exoskeleton is not a replacement for infrastructural rate-limiting or other security measures. Rather, it is designed to politely enforce usage limits on REST API endpoints that might be particularly expensive, and promote good client behavior. That said, it may, if properly used, prevent over-use of expensive REST API endpoints, resulting in better site performance and stability.

Exoskeleton employs the transient API to meter endpoints -- it will therefore use an object cache if one is available. It is recommended that you use Exoskeleton with an object cache backend such as memcache -- doing so will ensure that the plugin generates no database activity. If your site stores transients in the database, a lightweight mysql UPDATE query will be executed each time a metered endpoint is accessed (unless it is currently locked.) This is still likely to be many times less expensive than whatever endpoint you're protecting, but you have been warned :-)


Metering is configured using the following array of arguments:

	'route' => '/my-namespace/v1/route/(?P<id>[\d]+)',		// the fully namespaced route to be filtered
	'window' => 10,										// the time window in seconds 
	'limit'	=> 5,										// the maximum number of requests allowed in the time window
	'lockout' => 20,									// the lockout time in seconds
	'method' => 'POST',									// the methods (endpoints) to meter.  'any' may be used to meter all methods for a route

metering built-in endpoints

To meter a built-in REST API endpoint, use the provided utility function exoskeleton_add_rule. Example:

		'route' => '/wp/v2/posts',
		'window' => 10,
		'limit'	=> 7,
		'lockout' => 20,
		'method' => 'any',

causes the route /wp/v2/posts to be metered for any endpoint (see below for details on the method parameter.) In the example, if more than 7 requests are detected in a 10 second period, a lockout of 20 seconds will occur, during which the 429 responses will be issued and the endpoint will not be dispatched.

To set multiple endpoints, use exoskeleton_add_rules and pass an array of arrays like the above.

metering custom endpoints

You can configure metering for custom endpoints during their definition, ie: when calling register_rest_route. Just pass in a configuration array (minus the route and method which are already provided) as exoskeleton. Example:

add_action( 'rest_api_init', function () {
  register_rest_route( 'myplugin/v1', '/author/(?P<id>\d+)', array(
    'methods' => 'GET',
    'callback' => 'my_awesome_func',
    'exoskeleton' => [ 'window' => 10, 'limit'	=> 5, 'lockout' => 20 ],
  ) );
} );


To specify which endpoints of a built-in route should be metered, use the method parameter. Passing any here will cause the method to meter all requests regardless of method under a single counter -- ie: limit requests for any method at all within the time window will cause a lockout.

method can also be a comma-separated list of methods, eg: POST,GET,PUT, in which case (as for any) all listed methods will be counted together. To limit each endpoint of a built-in route separately, define a rule for each method rather than using a comma-separated list in a single rule.

The boolean parameter treat_head_like_get may also be passed in a rule defintion. If false, it causes GET and HEAD to be counted metered separately. Otherwise, the limiter considers HEADrequests as if they were GET. This is only really useful during testing, when HEAD requests are sometimes handy.

When filtering custom endpoints, the method parameter is not needed, since one or more methods are already specified. However, treat_head_like_get may still be passed and is respected for custom endpoints

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