Create Google API Keys

The Google Maps API requires the usage of API keys. This enables Google to track your usage and contact you in case your usage exceeds the daily limits.

Don’t forget to set the browser and server key referrer restrictions after creating the API keys. If you don’t do this, then you will likely up with a grey map or API errors when you try to create a new location.
As of July 16, 2018, to continue to use the Google Maps Platform APIs, you must enable billing on each of your projects.

You get a recurring $200 credit on your billing account, which is more then enough for normal usage. If you like to see your current usage, then you can do so in the Google API Console.

Browser API Key

The browser API key is used when data is requested from the Google Maps JavaScript API. This happens when the map is loaded in the admin area or on the store locator page itself on the front-end.

Create Browser Key

The first screen you will see in the Google API Console allows you to choose between creating a new project, or using an existing one. Click ‘Continue’ after you have made a selection.

Google API Console

The next screen allows you set to a name for the browser key and restrict the usage of the browser key to the provided referrers. If you leave the referrer field empty, it’s possible for other users to use your key on their domains.

Browser API Key

Set the referrer to http(s)://domain.com/* to cover all pages on your site, or *.domain.com/* if you’re using a subdomain.

Once you have set the referrer, click on the ‘Create’ button, copy the shown API key, and set it in the ‘Browser key’ field on the settings page in the ‘Google Maps API’ section.

Server API Key

The server key is used when a request is made to the Google Maps Geocoding API to convert an address into a set of coordinates. This happens when a new location is created in the admin area, or when a CSV file is imported and the coordinates are not included in the imported data.

Create Server Key.

On the first page, select the same project you used when you created the browser key and click ‘Continue’.

Google Server Key

On the next screen, set the referrer to the IP address of your server to restrict the usage of the key. If your server is using a dynamic IP, then contact your host and ask for the used IP range ( the range will have this structure 172.16.0.0/12 ). Once you have have obtained the used IP range set it as the referrer for the server key.

Server API Key

Click on the ‘Create’ button, copy the shown API key, and set it in the ‘Server key’ field on the settings page in the ‘Google Maps API’ section.

The current usage limits for the Google Maps Geocoding API allows you to make 2,500 free requests per day. If you need more, then you need to enable billing.

Use an Existing Project In The Google API Console

If you have already created a project for your website in the Google API Console, make sure to enable the following Google Maps APIs on the Library > Google Maps APIs page.

  • Google Maps JavaScript API
  • Google Maps Geocoding API
  • Google Maps Directions API
  • Google Maps Distance Matrix API
  • Google Maps Elevation API
  • Google Places API Web Service

Troubleshooting

The most common issues with both the server and browser API keys are caused by missing / incorrect referrers.

The referrer for the browser key should be set to the current domain ( http(s)://domain.com/* or *.domain.com/* ), and for the server key it should be set to the IP address from the current domain.

Another common issue is that a grey map is shown, and that the start location field is broken on the settings page. This points to a problem with the used browser key. The only way to find out the exact problem is by checking the console output in your browser.

Start location error

Store locator map error

You can access the browser console in Firefox with ctrlshiftk, or ctrlshiftj in Chrome.

Once you have opened the browser console, reload the page and check for any errors that are related to Google Maps. The error itself usually includes a link explaining the reason for the error and how to fix it.

Browser console error

API Errors

API limit reached

If you get an ‘API limit reached’ error when you load the page, or it shows up in the browser console, then you probably didn’t enable billing in the Google API Console. This is required by Google as of July 16, 2018.

Incorrect IP for the server key referrer

If you have set the incorrect IP for the server key referrer, then it will say so when you try to create a new location.

Incorrect server key IP

The IP it expects for the referrer is included in the returned error. In the above example the 110.168.82.226 is the value that should have been used for the server key referrer. The IP shown on your site will be different.

API keys with referer restrictions cannot be used with this API

When you set the referrer for the server key to the domain name instead of the IP address, then it will show this message.

API key restrictions

To fix this change the restriction from ‘HTTP referrers’ to ‘IP Address’ for the server key.

This API project was not found. This API project may have been deleted

Missing API project

This shows up when the project the API keys belonged to is no longer available in the Google API Console. To fix this create a new project and use the provided keys instead.

The provided API key is invalid

You can fix this by making sure you have correctly copied the API keys from the Google API Console to the API key fields on the settings page.

Invalid API Key

Despite Google pointing out in the API Console that it may take up to 5 minutes before changes are processed, this in some cases never seems to happen. If this is the case, then you will have to delete the current project and create a new browser and server key.