Comparing the Visual Crossing Pricing Options to Dark Sky

As you already know, Dark Sky has announced that it is ending its popular weather query API service soon. We’ve already written multiple articles explaining the benefits and details of converting your app or webpage to the Visual Crossing Weather API. In this article, we will compare the pricing models of the two services. Specifically, we will compare the Visual Crossing Weather Pay-as-you-go model to the Dark Sky “Dead Simple Pricing” plan. While extremely similar, there are a few minor differences. This article will illuminate those differences and explain what they mean to a developer converting their API use to Visual Crossing Weather.


The primary difference between the Visual Crossing Weather Pay-as-you-go model and Dark Sky is that Visual Crossing API requests allow a time range and multiple locations (depending upon the API used). For this reason, it is impossible to charge per-request as Dark Sky did. Instead of charging per request, Visual Crossing Weather charges per result.  The means that each data records counts a single result. Here is the breakdown where a Unit represents a single single deduction from your daily free quota or a $0.0001 charge if you have exceeded your free allotment.

Free Usage

Just like Dark Sky, Visual Crossing Weathers offer 1000 results without cost each day. Simply sign up for an account and add a payment method for overage. As long as your usage doesn’t exceed 1000 records (Units) per day, you will never be charged for using the service. This free usage is designed to be sufficient for most hobby and testing users. If you run a small website, want to use a Raspberry PI to build a magic mirror, or plan to make a temperature blanket for your child’s birthday, 1000 daily records is typically more than enough.

Weather Forecasts

In this context, weather forecast requests are the standard 15-day forecasts that use computer modes to predict weather in the immediate future. e charge one Unit for each 15-day forecast.  This is the same as Dark Sky pricing with the added bonus that you can request multiple locations in a single query.  In the case of a query with multiple locations, one call will bill as multiple Units, one for each location requested.

Historical Weather Data

For daily historical weather data, we charge one Unit per result row.  Again, this is the same as Dark Sky with the bonus that you can request multiple days and/or multiple locations in a single call.  Note also that this billing case applies to our “statistical” forecasts (climate-based forecasts beyond the normal 15-day forecast). This is because statistical forecasts and statistical forecasts are composed of aggregated history data.

Hourly and Sub-hourly Historical Data

For hourly and sub-hourly historical data, each result row is billed a one Unit.  This means that for hourly data queries, one day costs 24 Units.  Likewise, sub-hourly queries will bill based on the number of records returned. This represents a departure from the Dark Sky billing model but as a benefit it allows access to data options that Dark Sky did not. Customers who need to access a lot of weather history data should consider a month plan. Choosing a monthly plan can greatly reduce the cost for some users.

Monthly Plans are Cheaper for Some Customers

In a final beneficial departure from Dark Sky, Visual Crossing Weather offers monthly plans that are more cost effective than Pay-as-you-go for some users.  This is especially true for users that need a lot of history data.  If your use case requires the querying of a large volume of historical data, then a monthly plan can save money compared to Pay-as-you-go. These plan also offer bulk data options as well for those customers looking to prime a database or do other large data loading. For more information, please see the various plan options here: Weather Data Editions and Pricing | Visual Crossing.


The Visual Crossing Weather Pay-as-you-go plan offers an excellent conversion path for users being abandoned by Dark Sky. The costs are extremely similar to the standard Dark Sky “Dead Simple Pricing” model. Also, with the advent of the Visual Crossing Weather Timeline API, customers can access weather data via an API and result output that very closely matches the Dark Sky API as well. However, there are a few minor differences that are explained above.

For further reading on the Pay-as-you-go weather data plan and how to optimize your use of it, please read this article:  Understanding and optimizing the Visual Crossing Weather Pay-as-you-go plan – Visual Crossing Weather This will explain in more depth the use cases for which Pay-as-you-go is well suited and the use cases that should consider monthly plans. As always our weather experts are here to help answer all of your weather data questions including those related to service selection options. Just reach out, and we’ll be glad to help you find the best weather data option to fit your needs.