Here's how many questions you can ask ChatGPT in an hour

In this post, we're going to answer the question "How many questions can you ask ChatGPT in an hour?" or "How many questions can you ask ChatGPT for free?". We're also going to briefly go over the OpenAI API rate limits and explain what they mean in simple terms.

A robot looking at a clock
Find out how many questions you can ask ChatGPT in an hour

Introduction

We all have great questions. Things like "How can I become a billionaire?" or "What is the meaning of life?" and with the rise of Generative AI recently, a lot of people are turning to ChatGPT for quick answers instead of researching using good ol' Google. But how many questions can you ask ChatGPT in an hour? In a day? In a year?

While this is a very valid question, the answer is not straightforward but rather depends on multiple factors. But if you don't care to know and want to skip to the short answer, scroll to the bottom of this post and read the conclusion.

OpenAI API

No one knows for sure the restrictions and limits set on ChatGPT and even though you might stumble upon some articles or posts claiming that they have a solid answer to this question, such as 500 questions per hour, no one can really know and it depends on your specific use case due to some factors which we're going to explore briefly below. For us, we're going to assume that ChatGPT has the same limits as the API provided by OpenAI for its free GPT-4 model.

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One reasonable way to determine how many questions you can ask ChatGPT in an hour for free, is to look at the OpenAI API rate limits for free accounts.

Understanding Rate Limits

To understand how rate limits work, we need to first explain two basic restrictions commonly implemented in various APIs, known as RPM and TPM.

Requests Per Minute (RPM)

A request refers to a single API request. In other words, a request is basically a single question (or input). There is a maximum number of requests that can be done per minute when using ChatGPT.

Tokens Per Minute (TPM)

A token represents a unit of text in a language model. Tokens can include individual words, punctuation marks, or even characters. There is a maximum number of tokens that can be generated by ChatGPT per minute.

Current Rate Limits for Free Accounts

Let's head over to the OpenAI official docs, where we'll look at the rate limits imposed on the Chat functionality of the GPT-4 model. (Reminder that we're assuming ChatGPT and GPT-4 have the same limitations)

Here are the RPM and TPM limits for GPT-4:

Model RPM (Requests per Minute) TPM (Tokens per Minute)
GPT-4 200 40,000

Given the limits above, the answer to the question "How many questions can you ask ChatGPT in an hour?" is simply the maximum requests per minute times 60 minutes. So, $200 * 60 = 12,000 (questions)$. This is assuming that the total generated output (or answer provided by ChatGPT) used in total a maximum of $40,000 * 60 = 2,400,000$ tokens.

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So if you ask 12,000 questions per hour and the total tokens used to generate your answer are less than 2,400,000, then you can ask more questions. Alternatively, if you ask 100 questions that use 2,400,000 or more tokens in total to generate the answer you'll reach the limit.

At all times, however, you cannot exceed 200 questions per minute, even if each answer uses 1 token per minute.

Other Factors

Here are some factors worth mentioning, along with the rate limits that we've seen in the previous paragraph, that contribute to ChatGPT's ability to handle requests efficiently while taking care of performance and resource allocation.

Factor Impact on Handling Requests
Request Complexity Higher complexity may require more processing time.
Request Length Longer requests might take more time to process.
Server Load Heavy server load can affect response times.
AI Model Capacity The model's capacity can handle multiple requests simultaneously.
Demand Extremely high demand may lead to response delays.

Conclusion

So, how many questions can you ask ChatGPT in an hour?

The short answer is: Around 100 questions. Taking into consideration the quality of the questions (or input).

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The key thing to keep in mind is that the shorter the answer generated by ChatGPT leaves it with more capacity to answer other questions. Think of tokens like fuel used to generate answers, the less fuel it uses the more efficient it is and the more questions it can handle.

It is important to keep your questions very clear, provide a lot of context, and guidance, and request a specific format and response length when prompting ChatGPT so that it uses minimal tokens to generate your answer in order to maximize your total questions per hour.

Recently, there is a lot of talk about "Prompt Engineering" and how to ask ChatGPT the right questions, and so on. Stay tuned as I am going to write a post about this topic to help you optimize your ChatGPT experience in the future.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this was helpful!