Which HTTP Status Code to Use for Rate Limiting?

You can use the 429 Too Many Requests HTTP status code (RFC 6585) which is meant for rate limiting — i.e. to indicate that the client has exceeded the number of requests allowed in a given amount of time.

You can also, optionally, send the Retry-After header as a response to the client to indicate the amount of time to wait (in seconds or HTML date format) before making a new request.

For example:

HTTP/1.1 429 Too Many Requests
Content-Type: text/html
Retry-After: 3600

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