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Google Maps API Key Information

google maps api key

One of the most frequently discussed topics on our locator support forums is the Google Maps API Key.   Nearly every website that has deployed a map has used the Google Maps solution.   Makes sense — for years it was free.   The quality of the default map presentation was superior to alternatives.    It quickly took over the Internet with millions of sites showing off Google Maps.

Then, a few years back, Google decided it was time to turn on the money machine.   They told all site owners that were using Google Maps API Keys that they had a year to get a credit card on file with Google so they could start billing for access to their mapping service.    While they stretched that initial year-long period to nearly two-years, eventually the free ride came to an end.

Google Maps API Key Fees

Today, more than two years after Google started charging for use of their Google Maps services we are still seeing regular inquiries from our WordPress plugin users asking why their maps suddenly became unusable.   Often fingers point in our direction as the problem.

The WordPress plugins for Store Locator Plus® does not manage any of the Google Maps API Key billing of services.   We utilize the Google Maps API in our software so that non-technical business owners and web developers can leverage the Google Maps JavaScript API.    We provide a simple interface for changing map features and rendering the map.    When it is time for the map to be displayed we send the request, on your behalf, to Google to render the map.

Since Mid-2017 Google stopped freely showing maps.   They require that you have a billing account setup with your credit card on file and have attached that to the Google Maps API Key credentials.   If you do not have an API key or have a key without billing enabled your maps may be partly or fully disabled by Google.

Users of our self-managed WordPress plugins will need to update their Google account to add billing information.  Google will bill $7 per 1,000 map views and $7 per 1,000 geocoding requests.   While many sites can get by with a $10 – $25 monthly Google bill, there are alternatives.

Google Maps API Key
Google Maps API Key

Managed Google Map Services

Our Store Locator Plus® SaaS offering, for example, handles the Google license and maps API key fees or you.    A simple monthly fee covers various levels of map views and geocoding requests.    On average our customers pay around $5/1,000 map views and all geocoding requests are about half that rate.

Check out our Store Locator Plus® SaaS offering today and stop dealing with the hassle of managing your own Google Maps API keys.

API keys with referer restrictions cannot be used

API keys with referer restrictions

You’ve tried typing in addresses into your WordPress Store Locator Plus® map page but always get “location not found”. Being a tech savvy person you took a look at your browser developer console and notice an “API keys with referer restrictions cannot be used with this API.” in the JavaScript console.

Thankfully our MySLP users don’t have to deal with this sort of thing; but if you are using the self-managed WordPress plugins, read on.

Stop the Google API key madness with MySLP

MySLP drops the Google API key madness once-and-for-all. If you are tired of the API key game, it may be time to switch.