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Error Responses

Standard error responses

If a Reporting API request is successful, the API returns a 200. If an error occurs with a request, the API returns an HTTP status code, status, and reason in the response based on the type of error. Additionally, the body of the response contains a detailed description of what caused the error. Here's an example of an error response:

{
 "error": {
  "code": 403,
  "message": "User does not have sufficient permissions for this profile.",
  "status": "PERMISSION_DENIED"
 }
}

Error table

Code Status Description Recommended Action
400 INVALID_ARGUMENT The request is invalid; a required argument may be missing, exceeds limits, or has an invalid value. Review the error message for details. This error will fail again if the client retries it.
401 UNAUTHENTICATED The client is not authenticated properly. Do not retry without fixing the problem. You need to get a new auth token.
403 PERMISSION_DENIED Indicates the request for data to which the user does not have access. Do not retry without fixing the problem. You need to get sufficient permissions to perform the operation on the specified entity.
429 RESOURCE_EXHAUSTED AnalyticsDefaultGroupCLIENT_PROJECT-1d Indicates that the requests per day per project quota has been exhausted. Do not retry without fixing the problem. You have used up your daily quota.
429 RESOURCE_EXHAUSTED AnalyticsDefaultGroupCLIENT_PROJECT-100s Indicates that the requests per 100 seconds per project quota has been exhausted. Retry using exponential back-off. You need to slow down the rate at which you are sending the requests.
429 RESOURCE_EXHAUSTED AnalyticsDefaultGroupUSER-100s Indicates that the requests per 100 seconds per user per project quota has been exhausted. Retry using exponential back-off. You need to slow down the rate at which you are sending the requests.
429 RESOURCE_EXHAUSTED DiscoveryGroupCLIENT_PROJECT-100s Indicates that the discovery requests per 100 seconds quota has been exhausted. The discovery response does not change frequently; cache the discovery response locally or retry using exponential back-off. You need to slow down the rate at which you are sending the requests.
500 INTERNAL Unexpected internal server error occurred. Do not retry this query more than once.
503 BACKEND_ERROR Server returned an error. Do not retry this query more than once.
503 UNAVAILABLE The service was unable to process the request. This is most likely a transient condition and may be corrected by retrying with exponential back-off.

Implementing Exponential Backoff

Exponential backoff is the process of a client periodically retrying a failed request over an increasing amount of time. It is a standard error handling strategy for network applications. The Reporting API is designed with the expectation that clients which choose to retry failed requests do so using exponential backoff. Besides being "required", using exponential backoff increases the efficiency of bandwidth usage, reduces the number of requests required to get a successful response, and maximizes the throughput of requests in concurrent environments.

The flow for implementing simple exponential backoff is as follows.

  1. Make a request to the API
  2. Receive an error response that has a retry-able error code
  3. Wait 1s + random_number_milliseconds seconds
  4. Retry request
  5. Receive an error response that has a retry-able error code
  6. Wait 2s + random_number_milliseconds seconds
  7. Retry request
  8. Receive an error response that has a retry-able error code
  9. Wait 4s + random_number_milliseconds seconds
  10. Retry request
  11. Receive an error response that has a retry-able error code
  12. Wait 8s + random_number_milliseconds seconds
  13. Retry request
  14. Receive an error response that has a retry-able error code
  15. Wait 16s + random_number_milliseconds seconds
  16. Retry request
  17. If you still get an error, stop and log the error.

In the above flow, random_number_milliseconds is a random number of milliseconds less than or equal to 1000. This is necessary to avoid certain lock errors in some concurrent implementations. random_number_milliseconds must be redefined after each wait.

Note: the wait is always (2 ^ n) + random_number_milliseconds, where n is a monotonically increasing integer initially defined as 0. n is incremented by 1 for each iteration (each request).

The algorithm is set to terminate when n is 5. This ceiling is in place only to stop clients from retrying infinitely, and results in a total delay of around 32 seconds before a request is deemed "an unrecoverable error".

The following Python code is an implementation of the above flow for recovering from errors that occur in a method called makeRequest.

import random
import time
from apiclient.errors import HttpError

def makeRequestWithExponentialBackoff(analytics):
  """Wrapper to request Google Analytics data with exponential backoff.

  The makeRequest method accepts the analytics service object, makes API
  requests and returns the response. If any error occurs, the makeRequest
  method is retried using exponential backoff.

  Args:
    analytics: The analytics service object

  Returns:
    The API response from the makeRequest method.
  """
  for n in range(0, 5):
    try:
      return makeRequest(analytics)

    except HttpError, error:
      if error.resp.reason in ['userRateLimitExceeded', 'quotaExceeded',
                               'internalServerError', 'backendError']:
        time.sleep((2 ** n) + random.random())
      else:
        break

  print "There has been an error, the request never succeeded."