Sandbox Environment

ShipEngine's sandbox environment gives you a safe place to experiment, test, and develop your app without incurring costs or affecting your production data.

How to Use the Sandbox

To use our sandbox environment the only thing you need to change is use a sandbox API key rather than a production API key. Sandbox keys always start with TEST_ to make it obvious whether you're using a production or sandbox key.

Other than the API key, everything else is the same. So you can easily test and develop your application in the sandbox and then when you're ready to go to production all you need to do is change the API key.

Costs

You won't incur any costs for anything you do in the sandbox. This gives your developers the freedom to "kick the tires" and experiement with our API without worrying about costing the company real money.

Data Isolation

Sandbox data is isolated from production data, so anything you create in the sandbox will not be accessible in production, or vice-versa. This means you can safely experiement and delete data without affecting your production system.

Differences in Behavior

Our sandbox environment matches the production environment as much as possible, but there are a few differences to be aware of:

Limited Parcel Carriers

We currently only support the three major US parcel carriers -- UPS, FedEx, and USPS (Stamps.com). Other carriers will be added in the future, including international carriers.

Testing LTL Carriers

For information about testing in the sandbox using LTL carriers, see our LTL Sandbox Guide.

Test Labels

Shipping labels created in the sandbox cannot be used to ship actual packages. Depending on the carrier, the label will be watermarked or will have a warning message indicating that it's a test label.

Rates

The shipping rates that you get in the sandbox may not match the rates that you get in production. Any negotiated rate discounts that you have are not applied in the sandbox, and some rates are "dummy" rates to prevent abuse of our sandbox for production purposes.

Tracking

Tracking, even in the sandbox environment, requires real packages to be in the mailstream. ShipEngine doesn't currently provide a way to simulate tracking events in the sandbox.

Branding

Branding features, such as Branded Labels and Branded tracking pages, are not currently available in the sandbox. Examples for what to expect from these calls are available on their pages in the documentation.

Betas

Features in beta, including the Sales Orders API, are not available in the sandbox.

Rate Limits

The sandbox environment has a rate limit of 20 requests per minute, which is significantly lower than our production environment. This helps prevent abuse of our sandbox for production purposes.

Performance Differences

The ShipEngine sandbox uses development environments provided by the carriers. Those development environments can sometimes be significantly slower than production environments, so you may see longer response times in the sandbox. Rest assured that you will see much faster performance in production.