Getting started with RabbitMQ

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RabbitMQ is an open-source message broker software that facilitates communication and data exchange between various components of distributed applications. Acting as an intermediary, RabbitMQ enables different software systems, services, and devices to exchange information in a seamless and efficient manner. It follows the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), a standardized communication protocol designed for robust and scalable messaging.

At its core, RabbitMQ functions as a message queue, managing the routing, queuing, and delivery of messages from senders (producers) to receivers (consumers). It offers a versatile publish-subscribe model, where messages are sent to “exchanges,” which then route them to relevant “queues” based on configurable rules. This decoupling of components enhances scalability, fault tolerance, and flexibility in system design.

RabbitMQ supports various messaging patterns, including point-to-point, fan-out, topic-based, and request-response, making it adaptable to diverse application needs. It also offers features like message persistence, delivery acknowledgment, message priorities, and flexible routing mechanisms.

With a rich ecosystem of client libraries and plugins, RabbitMQ can be integrated into applications developed in different programming languages and deployed across a wide range of platforms. Its robustness, reliability, and ability to handle high message volumes make it a popular choice for building resilient and distributed systems in industries like finance, telecommunications, e-commerce, and more. RabbitMQ simplifies complex communication challenges by providing a reliable framework for asynchronous and decoupled messaging across interconnected components.

What kind of problems does it solve?

Some of the most common problems that RabbitMQ can be used to solve include:

  • Decoupling applications: RabbitMQ can be used to decouple applications, which means that they can communicate with each other without being a monolith. This can improve the scalability and reliability of applications.
  • Building 12 factor architectures: RabbitMQ can be used to realize 12-factor architectures, which are a way of designing applications as a collection of loosely coupled services. This can improve the flexibility and maintainability of applications.
  • Implementing async communication: RabbitMQ can be used to implement asynchronous communication, which means that messages are sent and received without blocking the sender or receiver. This can improve the performance of applications.
  • Real-time streaming: RabbitMQ can be used to implement real-time streaming, which means that messages are delivered in real time. This can be used for applications such as live chat and stock trading.
  • Load balancing: RabbitMQ can be used to load balance messages between different consumers. This can improve the performance and scalability of applications.
  • Failover: RabbitMQ can be used to provide failover for applications. This means that if one RabbitMQ node fails, another node can take over and continue to deliver messages.
  • Auditing: RabbitMQ can be used to audit messages. This means that you can track who sent and received messages, and when they were sent and received.
  • Monitoring: RabbitMQ can be monitored to track its performance and health. This can help you identify problems early and take corrective action.

How does RabbitMQ work?

Image courtesy: RabbitMQ Tutorials


Those interested in knowing RabbitMQ need to first know about AMQP. The Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) is an open standard application layer protocol for messaging. It is designed to be efficient, reliable, and secure. AMQP is widely used in enterprise messaging applications, as well as in cloud computing platforms.

AMQP defines a set of primitives for sending and receiving messages. They are:

  • Creating and deleting queues
  • Publishing and consuming messages
  • Describing the properties of messages
  • Specifying the routing of messages
  • Managing connections and channels

AMQP also defines a set of quality of service (QoS) settings that can be used to control the delivery of messages. Quality of Service (QoS) settings in the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol play a crucial role in optimizing communication between producers and consumers within messaging systems. These settings define how messages are managed, delivered, and acknowledged, ensuring reliable and efficient message processing.

The general settings include:

  • Delivery mode: Specifies whether messages should be delivered once or multiple times.
  • Priority: Specifies the priority of messages.
  • Timeout: Specifies the amount of time a message should be kept before it is discarded.

More specifically, AMQP provides various QoS settings that cater to different scenarios. The most common QoS settings are:

Prefetch Count: This setting allows a consumer to request a certain number of unacknowledged messages from the server before waiting for acknowledgments. It balances the load between consumers and ensures efficient resource utilization by preventing a single consumer from being overwhelmed.

Message Acknowledgment: AMQP offers two modes of acknowledgment: manual and automatic. Manual acknowledgment allows consumers to explicitly acknowledge the receipt and processing of a message, enhancing reliability. In contrast, automatic acknowledgment simplifies the process but might lead to message loss if not handled carefully.

Transactional Mode: For applications requiring strict message delivery guarantees, the transactional mode ensures that messages are only considered delivered if they are acknowledged and committed within a transaction.

Delivery Modes: AMQP provides message delivery modes that define whether messages are persisted to disk. The “persistent” mode ensures messages survive server restarts, while “transient” messages are discarded upon server restart.

Publisher and Consumer Confirmations: These settings provide publishers and consumers with acknowledgments, allowing publishers to confirm successful message acceptance and consumers to confirm successful processing.

By carefully configuring these QoS settings, messaging systems can achieve the desired trade-off between reliability, message processing efficiency, and resource utilization. Well-tuned QoS settings contribute to smoother communication flows, reduced message loss, optimized resource allocation, and enhanced overall system performance within AMQP-based architectures.

AMQP is a complex protocol, but it is also very flexible. This flexibility makes it a good choice for a wide variety of messaging applications.

Here are some of the key benefits of using AMQP:

  • Efficiency: AMQP is designed to be efficient, both in terms of bandwidth and processing overhead.
  • Reliability: AMQP provides a number of features to ensure the reliable delivery of messages, including acknowledgements, retries, and message durability.
  • Security: AMQP supports a variety of security mechanisms, including authentication, encryption, and message signing.
  • Flexibility: AMQP is a very flexible protocol that can be adapted to a wide variety of messaging scenarios.

AMQP is a good choice for a variety of messaging applications, including:

Enterprise messaging: AMQP is widely used in enterprise messaging applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and supply chain management (SCM) systems.

Cloud computing: AMQP is a popular choice for cloud computing platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Microservices: AMQP is a good choice for microservices architectures, as it can be used to decouple services and ensure the reliable delivery of messages between them.

Why do engineers like RabbitMQ? 

Over time, RabbitMQ has developed a reputation for being one of those technologies that quietly powers your applications in the background reliably. Once configured correctly, RabbitMQ tends to serve applications for long periods without any malfunction. 

What’s a good starting point for RabbitMQ?

In the following tutorial, we will learn how to create two simple microservices that use RabbitMQ to communicate with each other. The Python microservice publishes a message to the hello queue, and the Node.js microservice will consume the message from the queue. This tutorial assumes working knowledge of Docker, Python, and Node.js. 


  • Docker
  • Python 3.8
  • Node.js 16

Create a RabbitMQ Docker container by running the following command to pull the RabbitMQ Docker image:

docker pull rabbitmq:3-management

Use the following command to run the RabbitMQ Docker container:

docker run -d –hostname my-rabbit –name some-rabbit rabbitmq:3-management

The code example given below shows how to establish a connection to a RabbitMQ server, create a channel, declare a queue named “hello,” publish a message with the content ‘Hello, world!’ to a queue named “hello”, and finally closes the connection. This is a basic example of how to send a message via a RabbitMQ queue using the pika library in Python.

import pika

connection = pika.BlockingConnection(

pika.ConnectionParameters(host=’localhost’, port=5672))

channel =

queue_name = ‘hello’


channel.basic_publish(exchange=”, routing_key=’hello’, body=’Hello, world!’)


Save the file and run the following command to execute the microservice:

For the next step, we will create a program in Node.js that will consume the message published using the previous service. 

The code snippet below demonstrates how to use the amqplib library to publish a message to a RabbitMQ queue named “hello.” It establishes a connection, creates a channel, publishes the message, and then closes the connection. This example showcases the basic steps needed to interact with RabbitMQ using Node.js and the amqplib library.

The first line imports the amqplib library, which is a Node.js client library for RabbitMQ. It provides functions to interact with RabbitMQ’s messaging features. This has to first be installed, using npm install amqplib. 

Then, it creates a connection to RabbitMQ and a channel. Next, it defines the queue that it wants to consume messages from. Finally, it calls the consume() method on the channel to start consuming messages from the queue. The consume() method takes two arguments: the name of the queue and a callback function. The callback function is called whenever a message is received from the queue. The callback function in this code snippet simply logs the content of the message to the console.

const amqp = require(‘amqplib’);


async function consumeQueue() {

try {

const connection = await amqp.connect(‘amqp://localhost:5672’);

const channel = await connection.createChannel();

const queueName = ‘hello’;


await channel.assertQueue(queueName);

console.log(`Waiting for messages in ${queueName}. To exit press CTRL+C`);


channel.consume(queueName, (msg) => {

if (msg !== null) {

console.log(`Received message: ${msg.content.toString()}`);

// You can add your processing logic here


channel.ack(msg); // Acknowledge the message




} catch (error) {

console.error(‘Error:’, error);




Save the file and run the following command to execute the microservice:

In Conclusion

These are some of the basics about RabbitMQ that will help your engineering teams understand it’s importance and help you get started on a path towards scalable microservices. As organizations transition toward microservices and event-driven architectures, RabbitMQ emerges as a foundational tool for orchestrating communication between services.

Mastering the fundamentals of RabbitMQ provides a solid foundation for building efficient and resilient communication systems in the ever-evolving landscape of distributed applications. With its advanced message queuing protocol (AMQP), RabbitMQ empowers developers to orchestrate seamless message exchange between components, ensuring scalability, reliability, and decoupling. Understanding key concepts like exchanges, queues, bindings, and message acknowledgment is essential to designing architectures that efficiently handle message flows and enable different communication patterns.