Quick start

from flask import Flask
from flask_limiter import Limiter
from flask_limiter.util import get_remote_address

app = Flask(__name__)
limiter = Limiter(
    global_limits=["200 per day", "50 per hour"]
@limiter.limit("1 per day")
def slow():
    return "24"

def fast():
    return "42"

def ping():
    return "PONG"

The above Flask app will have the following rate limiting characteristics:

  • Rate limiting by remote_address of the request
  • A global rate limit of 200 per day, and 50 per hour applied to all routes.
  • The slow route having an explicit rate limit decorator will bypass the global rate limit and only allow 1 request per day.
  • The ping route will be exempt from any global rate limits.


The built in flask static files routes are also exempt from rate limits.

Every time a request exceeds the rate limit, the view function will not get called and instead a 429 http error will be raised.

The Flask-Limiter extension

The extension can be initialized with the flask.Flask application in the usual ways.

Using the constructor

from flask_limiter import Limiter
from flask_limiter.util import get_remote_address

limiter = Limiter(app, key_func=get_remote_address)

Using init_app

limiter = Limiter(key_func=get_remote_address)

Rate Limit Domain

Each Limiter instance is initialized with a key_func which returns the bucket in which each request is put into when evaluating whether it is within the rate limit or not.


Earlier versions of Flask-Limiter defaulted the rate limiting domain to the requesting users’ ip-address retreived via the flask_limiter.util.get_ipaddr() function. This behavior is being deprecated (since version 0.9.2) as it can be susceptible to ip spoofing with certain environment setups (more details at github issue #41 & flask apps and ip spoofing).

It is now recommended to explicitly provide a keying function as part of the Limiter initialization (Rate Limit Key Functions). Two utility methods are still provided:


The decorators made available as instance methods of the Limiter instance are


There are a few ways of using this decorator depending on your preference and use-case.

Single decorator

The limit string can be a single limit or a delimiter separated string

def my_route()
Multiple decorators

The limit string can be a single limit or a delimiter separated string or a combination of both.

def my_route():
Custom keying function

By default rate limits are applied based on the key function that the Limiter instance was initialized with. You can implement your own function to retrieve the key to rate limit by when decorating individual routes. Take a look at Rate Limit Key Functions for some examples..

def my_key_func():

@limiter.limit("100/day", my_key_func)
def my_route():


The key function is called from within a flask request context.

Dynamically loaded limit string(s)

There may be situations where the rate limits need to be retrieved from sources external to the code (database, remote api, etc...). This can be achieved by providing a callable to the decorator.

def rate_limit_from_config():
    return current_app.config.get("CUSTOM_LIMIT", "10/s")

def my_route():


The provided callable will be called for every request on the decorated route. For expensive retrievals, consider caching the response.


The callable is called from within a flask request context.

Exemption conditions

Each limit can be exempted when given conditions are fulfilled. These conditions can be specified by supplying a callable as an `exempt_when` argument when defining the limit.

@limiter.limit("100/day", exempt_when=lambda: current_user.is_admin)
def expensive_route():

For scenarios where a rate limit should be shared by multiple routes (For example when you want to protect routes using the same resource with an umbrella rate limit).

Named shared limit

mysql_limit = limiter.shared_limit("100/hour", scope="mysql")

def r1():

def r2():

Dynamic shared limit: when a callable is passed as scope, the return value of the function will be used as the scope.

def host_scope():
    return request.host
host_limit = limiter.shared_limit("100/hour", scope=host_scope)

def r1():

def r2():


Shared rate limits provide the same conveniences as individual rate limits

  • Can be chained with other shared limits or individual limits
  • Accept keying functions
  • Accept callables to determine the rate limit value
This decorator simply marks a route as being exempt from any rate limits.

This decorator simply marks a function as a filter for requests that are going to be tested for rate limits. If any of the request filters return True no rate limiting will be performed for that request. This mechanism can be used to create custom white lists.

def header_whitelist():
    return request.headers.get("X-Internal", "") == "true"

def ip_whitelist():
    return request.remote_addr == ""

In the above example, any request that contains the header X-Internal: true or originates from localhost will not be rate limited.


The following flask configuration values are honored by Limiter. If the corresponding configuration is passed in to the Limiter constructor, those will take precedence.

RATELIMIT_GLOBAL A comma (or some other delimiter) separated string that will be used to apply a global limit on all routes. If not provided, the global limits can be passed to the Limiter constructor as well (the values passed to the constructor take precedence over those in the config). Rate limit string notation for details.
RATELIMIT_STORAGE_URL One of memory:// or redis://host:port or memcached://host:port. Using the redis storage requires the installation of the redis package while memcached relies on the pymemcache package. (For details refer to Storage scheme)
RATELIMIT_STORAGE_OPTIONS A dictionary to set extra options to be passed to the storage implementation upon initialization. (Useful if you’re subclassing limits.storage.Storage to create a custom Storage backend.)
RATELIMIT_STRATEGY The rate limiting strategy to use. Rate limiting strategies for details.
RATELIMIT_HEADERS_ENABLED Enables returning Rate-limiting Headers. Defaults to False
RATELIMIT_ENABLED Overall kill switch for rate limits. Defaults to True
RATELIMIT_HEADER_LIMIT Header for the current rate limit. Defaults to X-RateLimit-Limit
RATELIMIT_HEADER_RESET Header for the reset time of the current rate limit. Defaults to X-RateLimit-Reset
RATELIMIT_HEADER_REMAINING Header for the number of requests remaining in the current rate limit. Defaults to X-RateLimit-Remaining
RATELIMIT_HEADER_RETRY_AFTER Header for when the client should retry the request. Defaults to Retry-After
RATELIMIT_HEADER_RETRY_AFTER_VALUE Allows configuration of how the value of the Retry-After header is rendered. One of http-date or delta-seconds. (RFC2616). Defaults to delta-seconds.
RATELIMIT_SWALLOW_ERRORS Whether to allow failures while attempting to perform a rate limit such as errors with downstream storage. Setting this value to True will effectively disable rate limiting for requests where an error has occurred.
RATELIMIT_IN_MEMORY_FALLBACK A comma (or some other delimiter) separated string that will be used when the configured storage is down.

Rate limit string notation

Rate limits are specified as strings following the format:

[count] [per|/] [n (optional)] [second|minute|hour|day|month|year]

You can combine multiple rate limits by separating them with a delimiter of your choice.


  • 10 per hour
  • 10/hour
  • 10/hour;100/day;2000 per year
  • 100/day, 500/7days


If rate limit strings that are provided to the Limiter.limit() decorator are malformed and can’t be parsed the decorated route will fall back to the global rate limit(s) and an ERROR log message will be emitted. Refer to Logging for more details on capturing this information. Malformed global rate limit strings will however raise an exception as they are evaluated early enough to not cause disruption to a running application.

Rate limiting strategies

Flask-Limiter comes with three different rate limiting strategies built-in. Pick the one that works for your use-case by specifying it in your flask config as RATELIMIT_STRATEGY (one of fixed-window, fixed-window-elastic-expiry, or moving-window), or as a constructor keyword argument. The default configuration is fixed-window.

Fixed Window

This is the most memory efficient strategy to use as it maintains one counter per resource and rate limit. It does however have its drawbacks as it allows bursts within each window - thus allowing an ‘attacker’ to by-pass the limits. The effects of these bursts can be partially circumvented by enforcing multiple granularities of windows per resource.

For example, if you specify a 100/minute rate limit on a route, this strategy will allow 100 hits in the last second of one window and a 100 more in the first second of the next window. To ensure that such bursts are managed, you could add a second rate limit of 2/second on the same route.

Fixed Window with Elastic Expiry

This strategy works almost identically to the Fixed Window strategy with the exception that each hit results in the extension of the window. This strategy works well for creating large penalties for breaching a rate limit.

For example, if you specify a 100/minute rate limit on a route and it is being attacked at the rate of 5 hits per second for 2 minutes - the attacker will be locked out of the resource for an extra 60 seconds after the last hit. This strategy helps circumvent bursts.

Moving Window


The moving window strategy is only implemented for the redis and in-memory storage backends. The strategy requires using a list with fast random access which is not very convenient to implement with a memcached storage.

This strategy is the most effective for preventing bursts from by-passing the rate limit as the window for each limit is not fixed at the start and end of each time unit (i.e. N/second for a moving window means N in the last 1000 milliseconds). There is however a higher memory cost associated with this strategy as it requires N items to be maintained in memory per resource and rate limit.

Rate-limiting Headers

If the configuration is enabled, information about the rate limit with respect to the route being requested will be added to the response headers. Since multiple rate limits can be active for a given route - the rate limit with the lowest time granularity will be used in the scenario when the request does not breach any rate limits.

X-RateLimit-Limit The total number of requests allowed for the active window
X-RateLimit-Remaining The number of requests remaining in the active window.
X-RateLimit-Reset UTC seconds since epoch when the window will be reset.
Retry-After Seconds to retry after or the http date when the Rate Limit will be reset. The way the value is presented depends on the configuration value set in RATELIMIT_HEADER_REMAINING_VALUE and defaults to delta-seconds.


Enabling the headers has an additional cost with certain storage / strategy combinations.

  • Memcached + Fixed Window: an extra key per rate limit is stored to calculate X-RateLimit-Reset
  • Redis + Moving Window: an extra call to redis is involved during every request to calculate X-RateLimit-Remaining and X-RateLimit-Reset

The header names can be customised if required by either using the flask configuration (Configuration) values or by setting the header_mapping property of the Limiter as follows:

from flask.ext.limiter import Limiter, HEADERS
limiter = Limiter()
limiter.header_mapping = {
    HEADERS.LIMIT : "X-My-Limit",
    HEADERS.RESET : "X-My-Reset",
    HEADERS.REMAINING: "X-My-Remaining"
# or by only partially specifying the overrides
limiter.header_mapping[HEADERS.LIMIT] = 'X-My-Limit'


Rate Limit Key Functions

You can easily customize your rate limits to be based on any characteristic of the incoming request. Both the Limiter constructor and the Limiter.limit() decorator accept a keyword argument key_func that should return a string (or an object that has a string representation).

Rate limiting a route by current user (using Flask-Login):

@limiter.limit("1 per day", key_func = lambda : current_user.username)
def test_route():
    return "42"

Rate limiting all requests by country:

from flask import request, Flask
import GeoIP
gi = GeoIP.open("GeoLiteCity.dat", GeoIP.GEOIP_INDEX_CACHE | GeoIP.GEOIP_CHECK_CACHE)

def get_request_country():
    return gi.record_by_name(request.remote_addr)['region_name']

app = Flask(__name__)
limiter = Limiter(app, global_limits=["10/hour"], key_func = get_request_country)

Custom Rate limit exceeded responses

The default configuration results in an abort(429) being called every time a rate limit is exceeded for a particular route. The exceeded limit is added to the response and results in an response body that looks something like:

<title>429 Too Many Requests</title>
<h1>Too Many Requests</h1>
<p>1 per 1 day</p>

If you want to configure the response you can register an error handler for the 429 error code in a manner similar to the following example, which returns a json response instead:

def ratelimit_handler(e):
    return make_response(
            jsonify(error="ratelimit exceeded %s" % e.description)
            , 429

Using Flask Pluggable Views

If you are using a class based approach to defining view function, the regular method of decorating a view function to apply a per route rate limit will not work. You can add rate limits to your view classes using the following approach.

app = Flask(__name__)
limiter = Limiter(app, key_func=get_remote_address)

class MyView(flask.views.MethodView):
    decorators = [limiter.limit("10/second")]
    def get(self):
        return "get"

    def put(self):
        return "put"


This approach is limited to either sharing the same rate limit for all http methods of a given flask.views.View or applying the declared rate limit independently for each http method (to accomplish this, pass in True to the per_method keyword argument to Limiter.limit()). Alternatively, the limit can be restricted to only certain http methods by passing them as a list to the methods keyword argument.

The above approach has been tested with sub-classes of flask.views.View, flask.views.MethodView and flask.ext.restful.Resource.

Rate limiting all routes in a flask.Blueprint

Limiter.limit(), Limiter.shared_limit() & Limiter.exempt() can all be applied to flask.Blueprint instances as well. In the following example the login Blueprint has a special rate limit applied to all its routes, while the help Blueprint is exempt from all rate limits. The regular Blueprint follows the global rate limits.

app = Flask(__name__)
login = Blueprint("login", __name__, url_prefix = "/login")
regular = Blueprint("regular", __name__, url_prefix = "/regular")
doc = Blueprint("doc", __name__, url_prefix = "/doc")

def doc_index():
    return "doc"

def regular_index():
    return "regular"

def login_index():
    return "login"

limiter = Limiter(app, global_limits = ["1/second"], key_func=get_remote_address)



Each Limiter instance has a logger instance variable that is by default not configured with a handler. You can add your own handler to obtain log messages emitted by flask_limiter.

Simple stdout handler:

limiter = Limiter(app, key_func=get_remote_address)

Reusing all the handlers of the logger instance of the flask.Flask app:

app = Flask(__name__)
limiter = Limiter(app, key_func=get_remote_address)
for handler in app.logger.handlers:

Custom error messages

Limiter.limit() & Limiter.shared_limit() can be provided with an error_message argument to over ride the default n per x error message that is returned to the calling client. The error_message argument can either be a simple string or a callable that returns one.

app = Flask(__name__)
limiter = Limiter(app, key_func=get_remote_address)

def error_handler():
    return app.config.get("DEFAULT_ERROR_MESSAGE")

@limiter.limit("1/second", error_message='chill!')
def index():

@limiter.limit("10/second", error_message=error_handler)
def ping():



class flask_limiter.Limiter(app=None, key_func=None, global_limits=[], headers_enabled=False, strategy=None, storage_uri=None, storage_options={}, auto_check=True, swallow_errors=False, in_memory_fallback=[], retry_after=None)[source]

Bases: object

  • appflask.Flask instance to initialize the extension with.
  • global_limits (list) – a variable list of strings denoting global limits to apply to all routes. Rate limit string notation for more details.
  • key_func (function) – a callable that returns the domain to rate limit by.
  • headers_enabled (bool) – whether X-RateLimit response headers are written.
  • strategy (str) – the strategy to use. refer to Rate limiting strategies
  • storage_uri (str) – the storage location. refer to Configuration
  • storage_options (dict) – kwargs to pass to the storage implementation upon instantiation.
  • auto_check (bool) – whether to automatically check the rate limit in the before_request chain of the application. default True
  • swallow_errors (bool) – whether to swallow errors when hitting a rate limit. An exception will still be logged. default False
  • in_memory_fallback (list) – a variable list of strings denoting fallback limits to apply when the storage is down.

check the limits for the current request


decorator to mark a view or all views in a blueprint as exempt from rate limits.

Parameters:appflask.Flask instance to rate limit.
limit(limit_value, key_func=None, per_method=False, methods=None, error_message=None, exempt_when=None)[source]

decorator to be used for rate limiting individual routes or blueprints.

  • limit_value – rate limit string or a callable that returns a string. Rate limit string notation for more details.
  • key_func (function) – function/lambda to extract the unique identifier for the rate limit. defaults to remote address of the request.
  • per_method (bool) – whether the limit is sub categorized into the http method of the request.
  • methods (list) – if specified, only the methods in this list will be rate limited (default: None).
  • error_message – string (or callable that returns one) to override the error message used in the response.


decorator to mark a function as a filter to be executed to check if the request is exempt from rate limiting.

shared_limit(limit_value, scope, key_func=None, error_message=None, exempt_when=None)[source]

decorator to be applied to multiple routes sharing the same rate limit.

  • limit_value – rate limit string or a callable that returns a string. Rate limit string notation for more details.
  • scope – a string or callable that returns a string for defining the rate limiting scope.
  • key_func (function) – function/lambda to extract the unique identifier for the rate limit. defaults to remote address of the request.
  • error_message – string (or callable that returns one) to override the error message used in the response.



alias of TooManyRequests


Returns:the ip address for the current request (or if none found) based on the X-Forwarded-For headers.
Returns:the ip address for the current request (or if none found)


0.9.2 2016-03-04

  • Deprecation warning for default key_func get_ipaddr
  • Support for Retry-After header

0.9.1 2015-11-21

  • Re-expose enabled property on Limiter instance.

0.9 2015-11-13

  • In-memory fallback option for unresponsive storage
  • Rate limit exemption option per limit

0.8.5 2015-10-05

  • Bug fix for reported issues of missing (limits) dependency upon installation.

0.8.4 2015-10-03

  • Documentation tweaks.

0.8.2 2015-09-17

  • Remove outdated files from egg

0.8.1 2015-08-06

  • Fixed compatibility with latest version of Flask-Restful

0.8 2015-06-07

  • No functional change

0.7.9 2015-04-02

  • Bug fix for case sensitive methods whitelist for limits decorator

0.7.8 2015-03-20

  • Hotfix for dynamic limits with blueprints
  • Undocumented feature to pass storage options to underlying storage backend.

0.7.6 2015-03-02

  • methods keyword argument for limits decorator to specify specific http methods to apply the rate limit to.

0.7.5 2015-02-16

0.7.4 2015-02-03

  • Use Werkzeug TooManyRequests as the exception raised when available.

0.7.3 2015-01-30

  • Bug Fix

    • Fix for version comparison when monkey patching Werkzeug

      (Issue 24)

0.7.1 2015-01-09

  • Refactor core storage & ratelimiting strategy out into the limits package.
  • Remove duplicate hits when stacked rate limits are in use and a rate limit is hit.

0.7 2015-01-09

  • Refactoring of RedisStorage for extensibility (Issue 18)
  • Bug fix: Correct default setting for enabling rate limit headers. (Issue 22)

0.6.6 2014-10-21

  • Bug fix
    • Fix for responses slower than rate limiting window. (Issue 17.)

0.6.5 2014-10-01

  • Bug fix: in memory storage thread safety

0.6.4 2014-08-31

  • Support for manually triggering rate limit check

0.6.3 2014-08-26

  • Header name overrides

0.6.1 2014-07-11

  • per http method rate limit separation (Recipe)
  • documentation improvements

0.5 2014-06-13

0.4.4 2014-06-13

  • Bug fix
    • Werkzeug < 0.9 Compatibility (Issue 6.)

0.4.3 2014-06-12

  • Hotfix : use HTTPException instead of abort to play well with other extensions.

0.4.2 2014-06-12

  • Allow configuration overrides via extension constructor

0.4.1 2014-06-04

  • Improved implementation of moving-window X-RateLimit-Reset value.

0.4 2014-05-28

0.3.2 2014-05-26

  • Bug fix
    • Memory leak when using Limiter.storage.MemoryStorage (Issue 4.)
  • Improved test coverage

0.3.1 2014-02-20

  • Strict version requirement on six
  • documentation tweaks

0.3.0 2014-02-19

  • improved logging support for multiple handlers
  • allow callables to be passed to Limiter.limit decorator to dynamically load rate limit strings.
  • add a global kill switch in flask config for all rate limits.
  • Bug fixes
    • default key function for rate limit domain wasn’t accounting for X-Forwarded-For header.

0.2.2 2014-02-18

  • add new decorator to exempt routes from limiting.
  • Bug fixes
    • versioneer.py wasn’t included in manifest.
    • configuration string for strategy was out of sync with docs.

0.2.1 2014-02-15

  • python 2.6 support via counter backport
  • source docs.

0.2 2014-02-15

  • Implemented configurable strategies for rate limiting.
  • Bug fixes
    • better locking for in-memory storage
    • multi threading support for memcached storage

0.1.1 2014-02-14

  • Bug fixes
    • fix initializing the extension without an app
    • don’t rate limit static files

0.1.0 2014-02-13

  • first release.