How to Get Chat GPT OpenAI API Key for Free

In this article, I will tell you how to get OpenAI ChatGPT API Key, how to deal with the possible errors, and how much it costs to run OpenAI API.

The article will be updated in the future, and it’ll be a long comprehensive list of all possible questions, so feel free to skip straight to the part you came for.

What is ChatGPT OpenAI API

ChatGPT OpenAI API is the service from the OpenAI company that gives you access to all GPT models, including GPT-4, GPT-3, and ChatGPT.

With OpenAI API you can create custom apps powered by the latest state-of-the-art AI large language models. You can do all sorts of things from simple text completion to classification to semantic search.

Since March 1, you can also access the very same model that is used in the ChatGPT app. It’s a fine-tuned GPT-3.5 model, designed specifically for the chat interface.

ChatGPT vs OpenAI API: Is OpenAI API the same as ChatGPT?

New ChatGPT users are often surprised to discover that there are other chatbot AI models than their favorite ChatGPT. In fact, ChatGPT itself isn’t a language model but rather a perfect example of LLM being utilized in a proper way.

ChatGPT and OpenAI API are not the same thing. The difference between ChatGPT and OpenAI is that ChatGPT is powered by one of the large language models available at OpenAI API. It is referred to as GPT-3.5 Turbo in the documentation. It is a custom model fine-tuned even further using human response based reinforced learning.

However, it is possible that OpenAI will serve the exact ChatGPT model too.

Why I can’t find the ChatGPT API key

Because there’s no such thing as a ChatGPT API key. The company that serves API is called OpenAI, and it’s “OpenAI API”.

You can find your OpenAI API key in the User settings here.

How to Get Chat GPT OpenAI API Key

To find your ChatGPT API key, you need to follow these steps: 

  • Visit OpenAI’s official website at
  • Click on the “Login” button and enter your email to authorize on the website.
  • Open the menu in the top-right corner of the screen with your avatar.
  • Click the “View API Keys” menu link. 
  • Press the “Create new secret key” button and give the name to your new API Key, and confirm the action.
  • Save the new secret API key somewhere safe and accessible.

Note: this is the first and the last time you will see this key. Make sure you save it!

Openai API Key Cost

The cost of generating the API key is free. However, it isn’t free to generate text using the API. The pricing on the version of the model and the final cost will depend on the number of tokens used for generating the texts, including the prompts.

OpenAI API Cost for GPT-4

8K context$0.03 / 1K tokens$0.06 / 1K tokens
32K context$0.06 / 1K tokens$0.12 / 1K tokens

OpenAI API Cost for GPT-3

  • Ada: $0.0004/1K tokens
  • Babbage: $0.0005/1K tokens
  • Curie: $0.0020/1K tokens
  • Davinci: $0.0200/1K tokens

OpenAI API Cost for ChatGPT Model

gpt-3.5-turbo$0.002 / 1K tokens

OpenAI API key Not Working

If you’re having troubles running OpenAI API, it may be due to technical issues, which we’ll go deeper into next, or because you’ve met your limit. Or if you were using free trial tokens, you might’ve just run out of free tokens.

OpenAI Free Credits Expired

If you registered your OpenAI account more than three months ago, your free trial credits expired. You can check if that’s the case by checking the Usage menu in your OpenAI account.

Free trial credit expired.

Incorrect API Key Provided OpenAI

This error means that the OpenAI ChatGPT API key you provided is incorrect. It can appear for several reasons:

  1. You actually provided an incorrect API key. Check your OpenAI ChatGPT API key at the platform and compare it to the one rendered in error. Chances are they’ll be different.
  2. OpenAI API may have server problems. When this is the case, you may get an error in the OpenAI Playground. If refreshing the page doesn’t help, check out this page. If it’s in red, you’ll have to just wait.
  3. Regardless of the reason, you can generate another OpenAI ChatGPT API key for free and try using the new one again.

OpenAI API key not configured please follow instructions in

This is the error message you would typically get if your OpenAI API key has not been properly configured.

To get rid of the error you need to do the following:

Set your OpenAI ChatGPT API key it as the OPENAI_API_KEY environment variable before using the library.

export OPENAI_API_KEY='sk-...'

Or set openai.api_key to its value:

import openai
openai.api_key = "sk-…"

Is ChatGPT API Key Free to Use

No, OpenAI ChatGPT API is not free to use. We discussed the cost earlier. Please refer to the section above.

However, you can use OpenAI ChatGPT API for free for three months when you register and confirm a new account. You will be given a grant of $18, which is enough to generate almost a million words.


  • Dee Miller

    Dee Miller is the founder and the writer at Go Find AI. Dee has been into AI since about 2018 when he first realized how revolutionary the AI tech is. Today when AI is all the hype, Dee is looking to make navigating the AI space easier for the newcomers.

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