ChatGPT 4 API: The complete guide for beginners

ChatGPT 4 API: The complete guide for beginners
Bild von Tara Winstead auf Pexels

In this article (series of articles), I will show you how to use the ChatGPT API for your own projects. From signing up for OpenAI to integrating the API into your application, I’ll walk you through each step, including unlocking the ChatGPT API key. You’ll see that it’s not as complicated as it might sound. With the ChatGPT API you can not only improve the interaction of your users with your application, but also open up new functions that were previously out of reach.


Note; This article has been partially translated automatically from German to English.

Why is the ChatGPT API so important? It offers developers the ability to easily integrate advanced, AI-powered conversational capabilities into their applications. This opens the door for a variety of use cases, from customer support chatbots to interactive learning platforms and personalized recommendation systems. With the ChatGPT API, any application can understand what users are saying or asking and respond in natural language. This article is your guide to understanding how to unlock this technology and incorporate it into your projects to take them to the next level.

Disclaimer: This article is my personal opinion. The API is a product of OpenAI.

Basics of the ChatGPT API

Die ChatGPT API ist eine Schnittstelle, die von OpenAI bereitgestellt wird, um Entwicklern den Zugang zu fortschrittlichen KI-basierten Konversationsfähigkeiten zu ermöglichen. Diese API nutzt das Potenzial der Künstlichen Intelligenz, um Text-basierte Interaktionen zu ermöglichen, die menschlichen Konversationen ähneln. Sie ist für eine breite Palette von Anwendungen konzipiert, von der Automatisierung des Kundensupports bis hin zur Schaffung interaktiver Bildungsinhalte. Die Fähigkeit, natürlich wirkende Dialoge zu führen, macht die ChatGPT API zu einem wertvollen Werkzeug für Entwickler, die ihre Anwendungen mit intelligenten Konversationsfeatures ausstatten möchten.

One of the key features of the ChatGPT API is its flexibility. Developers can adapt the API to their specific needs by tailoring the AI’s behavior and responses to the requirements of their target audience. This enables a personalized user experience that goes beyond traditional, rigid chatbots. With the ChatGPT API, applications can understand questions, respond appropriately to requests and even engage in learning dialogs based on previous interactions.

Another important aspect is the ease of integration. The ChatGPT API is designed so that it can be integrated into existing systems with minimal technical requirements. By providing detailed documentation and support, OpenAI enables developers to take advantage of this technology quickly and efficiently. This opens the door for creative use cases and innovative solutions that can redefine the way we interact with digital products.

Requirements for using the ChatGPT API

Before you can use the ChatGPT API in your project, there are a few requirements that you need to fulfill. These preparations will ensure that you have a smooth start with the API and can benefit from its full capabilities right from the start.

First of all, you need a valid account with OpenAI. Registering on the platform is the first step in gaining access to the ChatGPT API. During this process, you will be asked to provide basic information about yourself and your planned use of the API. This helps OpenAI to get an overview of the applications that are being developed with their technology.

Once you have successfully registered, the next step is to apply for an API key. This key is essential because it authenticates your applications to the OpenAI servers and allows you to send requests to the ChatGPT API. It is important to keep this key safe and not make it publicly accessible to avoid misuse.

You should also familiarize yourself with OpenAI’s guidelines for using the ChatGPT API. OpenAI attaches great importance to ensuring that its technologies are used responsibly. This includes provisions on data privacy, data security and the ethical use of AI. Adhering to these guidelines is important not only to obtain and retain access to the API, but also to ensure that your application meets the standards expected in the industry.

Finally, a basic technical requirement is the integration of the ChatGPT API into your development projects. Regardless of the programming language or platform you use, OpenAI provides extensive documentation and support to make the integration as easy and smooth as possible. A basic understanding of REST APIs and experience with programming are helpful to effectively utilize the diverse features of the ChatGPT API.

Step-by-step instructions for activating the ChatGPT API

Now that the prerequisites have been clarified, let’s move on to the practical part: How exactly do you activate the ChatGPT API for your projects? This step-by-step guide will take you through the process, from registration to the first request to the API.

1. Registration with OpenAI

Register with OpenAI: The first step, if you have not already done so, is to create an account with OpenAI. Visit the OpenAI website and follow the instructions to register. You can find the login for OpenAI at this link.

2. Get the API key:

Ein Screenshot vom Auswahlbildschirm auf OpenAI. Das Bild zeigt zwei Optionen: ChatGPT (links) oder API (rechts).
The selection screen for the OpenAI apps. There are two options: ChatGPT (left) or API (right). Select the API option.

Once you are logged in, navigate to the dashboard where you have the option to generate an API key. You can find this option under this link to the API Key or on the left-hand side in the menu under API Keys.

Das Menü im OpenAI Account.
The menu in the OpenAI account. “API keys” is selected.

On the page, select your organization or personnel. Here you can now click on “Create new secret key”. This will create a ChatGPT API key. Important: This key is SECRET! You must not pass it on. With this key you authenticate yourself or your program to OpenAI.

Important: Using the API costs money. You must deposit a means of payment. You can do this under ChatGPT API Billing. You can find this in the account again in the left-hand menu under Settings > Billing. A credit card is currently required. At first I had problems with the credit card, but after a few attempts it worked. These problems seem to occur more often, as the payment option with OpenAPI is still quite new.

This key is your ticket to using the ChatGPT API. Keep the key safe, as it enables access to the API and is required for every request.

You should now have an API key.

3. Dokumentation studieren

Before you start, take a look at the extensive documentation that OpenAI provides for the ChatGPT API. Here you will find important information on configuring your requests and handling the API responses.

Important: If you use the key, your credit card will be charged. You should therefore be aware of the prices for the ChatGPT API.

Here is a table summarizing the costs of using various OpenAI models and services. Important: This data may be incorrect or out of date. You MUST check the official OpenAI page for the ChatGPT API costs. I assume no liability for your use of the API, even if information in this article is incorrect. You are responsible for informing yourself about the costs and complying with OpenAI’s terms and conditions.

GPT-4 Turbo (gpt-4-1106-preview)Input$0.01 / 1K Tokens
Output$0.03 / 1K Tokens
GPT-4Input$0.03 / 1K Tokens
Output$0.06 / 1K Tokens
GPT-4-32kInput$0.06 / 1K Tokens
Output$0.12 / 1K Tokens
GPT-3.5 Turbo (gpt-3.5-turbo-0125)Input$0.0005 / 1K Tokens
Output$0.0015 / 1K Tokens
GPT-3.5 Turbo InstructInput$0.0015 / 1K tokens

This table provides an overview of OpenAI’s pricing models for the use of its AI-based models and services. For the most up-to-date information and details on the services associated with each plan, please visit the OpenAI pricing page directly.

By following these steps, you will now be able to integrate the API into your projects and use the many possibilities of artificial intelligence to make your applications more interactive and intelligent.

Integration der ChatGPT API in ein Projekt

Once you have successfully activated the ChatGPT API, the next step is to integrate it into your project. This chapter will guide you through the basic steps of integration and give you tips on how to use the API effectively.

Steps for using the ChatGPT API

1. selection of programming language and setup: Decide which programming language you want to use for your project. The ChatGPT API is language-independent and can be used with any language that supports HTTP requests. Popular options include Python, JavaScript, Ruby and Go. Make sure your development environment is set up correctly and all necessary libraries or SDKs are installed.

2. formulate API requests: Learn how to formulate API requests correctly. Every request to the ChatGPT API requires your API key for authentication and the data to be processed as part of the request body. The OpenAI documentation provides detailed examples and guidelines for this.

3. processing the API responses: The ChatGPT API sends responses in JSON format. You need to be able to parse these responses and extract the relevant information for your application. Depending on your project, this could be displaying the response in a user interface, using the response as part of a larger data handling process, or something else.

4. Error handling: It is important that you implement robust error handling. This includes checking the status code of the response and responding appropriately to error messages. Good error handling improves the reliability of your application and the user experience.

5. security aspects: Pay attention to security when using the interface. This includes the secure storage of your API key, the use of HTTPS for requests to the API and compliance with data protection regulations when processing user data.

Python project: ChatGPT-API

In part 2 of this article, I will show you specifically how you can use the API in Python.

Here is a suitable (german) YouTube video that I found. It explains how ChatGPT can be used in Python.

Hier klicken, um den Inhalt von YouTube anzuzeigen.
Learn more in YouTube’s privacy policy.

So, let’s get started. First, Python must be installed on your system. You can find out how to do this, for example here. You also need to install the OpenAI Python library. To do this, execute this command on the command line:

 pip install openai

If you have this, create a file with the extension .py. For example

Now add the following code to your file:

import openai

openai.api_key = "dein-api-key"

response = openai.ChatCompletion.create(
        {"role": "system", "content": "Du bist ein Komiker."},
        {"role": "user", "content": "Sag mir einen kurzen Witz."}


Then you just have to execute the script. You can do this with, for example:


The output is then, for example:

Was macht ein Clown im Büro?


As you can see, it is not that difficult to use the API. You can also choose the gpt-4 model or gpt-4-turbo for ChatGPT 4. But keep in mind that GPT4-Turbo is more expensive than gpt 3.5.

Parameters and sample code

In addition to messages, there are other parameters that you can use. For example max_tokens and temperature.

Parameter explanation

Each parameter has a specific function:

  • model: The language model used.
  • messages: The conversation history, including system instructions and user questions.
  • max_tokens: Limits the response length.
  • temperature: Controls the creativity of the answers.

Explanation of the roles – Messages Role:

With the Messages parameter, you can assign the following roles to a message:

  • system: This role is used to set the context or instructions for the conversation. For example, you can define rules here on how the assistant should reply or the context in which the conversation is located. System messages are visible to the assistant but not to the end user.
  • user: The user role represents a message from the user to the assistant. This role is used to ask questions or provide topics for the assistant to answer.
  • assistant: Responses generated by the API implicitly take on the assistant role. This role is not explicitly set in the messages list, but any response you see in the response object is considered to have been generated by the assistant.

System role

The system role is used to define the framework and rules of the conversation. For example, a system message can instruct the assistant to behave as a tutor.

User role

The user role represents queries or comments from users. These roles are crucial for conveying the context of the question to the assistant.

Assistant role

Responses from the model implicitly take on the role of assistant. They contain the response generated by the model to the user request.

Use of the response object:

The response object contains important information about the generated response. Here are the key elements:

  • object: Bestätigt den Objekttyp, hier chat.
  • created: Zeitstempel der Erstellung der Antwort.
  • model: Das verwendete Modell für die Generierung der Antwort.

Detailed code example ChatGPT API usage:

import openai

openai.api_key = "dein-api-key"

# Erstellen einer Chat-Session mit der ChatCompletion.create Methode
response = openai.ChatCompletion.create(
    model="gpt-3.5-turbo",  # Das Modell, das für die Generierung der Antworten verwendet wird
        # Systemnachricht, um den Kontext der Konversation zu setzen
        {"role": "system", "content": "Du bist ein hilfreicher Assistent, der klare und präzise Antworten gibt."},
        # Benutzernachricht mit einer Anfrage oder einem Kommentar
        {"role": "user", "content": "Was sind die Vorteile von Python?"},
    max_tokens=500,  # Maximale Anzahl von Tokens in der Antwort
    temperature=0.7,  # Kontrolliert die Kreativität der Antworten

# Ausgabe der Antwort

In this example you can see what a larger query could look like. max_tokens limits the answer to 500 characters.

Closing words

Finally, I would encourage you to continue exploring the documentation of OpenAI. The technology continues to evolve, and so do the possibilities it offers.

I look forward to seeing what you create with the ChatGPT API. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments or share your experiences.


Was ist die ChatGPT API?

The ChatGPT API is a programmatic interface provided by OpenAI to give developers access to advanced, AI-powered conversational capabilities. It makes it possible to integrate natural language dialogs into applications by responding to requests with human-like answers.

How do I get access to the ChatGPT API?

To gain access to the API, you must first register with OpenAI and create an account. After registering, you can generate an API key, which is required for authentication for your API requests. This key allows you to send requests to the API and receive responses.

What requirements do I need to fulfill to use the ChatGPT API?

The main requirements for using the API are a valid OpenAI account, an API key and compliance with OpenAI’s usage guidelines. Technically, you should be familiar with the basics of API integration and know how to send HTTP requests in your chosen programming language.

How do I integrate the ChatGPT API into my project?

Integrating the ChatGPT API into your project requires a few steps:
1. Choose the programming language and the libraries or frameworks you want to use.
2. Set your API key for authentication for each request to the API.
3. formulate requests to the API by addressing the appropriate endpoints and passing the desired parameters.
4. process the API responses to use the data received in your application.

Image source: Image by Tara Winstead on Pexels

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