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What are Message Queues? How do Message Queues work?

Messaging queues are an essential component of modern software architecture. Message Queues play a critical role in enabling communication between different applications and systems. They are in charge of controlling the communication between software applications. This guarantees reliable and effective data delivery. But what are messaging queues exactly, and how do they operate?

If you’re new to modern systems architecture, it can get confusing wrapping your head around message queues, their benefits, and their types.

In this article, we will examine the fundamentals of messaging queues, their notable characteristics, and their application in software systems. That’s why we’ve prepared a detailed guide to help you understand what message queues are, why we need them, and how they work. We’ll also go through the different message queues and show their different use cases.

Whether you are a software developer, architect, or simply interested in understanding the underlying mechanics of software communication, this blog will provide you with a comprehensive overview of messaging queues and their inner workings.

Let's dive right in -

  1. What are Message Queues?

  2. Types of Message Queues

  3. Benefits of Message Queues

  4. Examples of Message Queues

  5. Conclusion

What are Message Queues?

Applications constantly receive and send data and they need to communicate with each other for improved performance and functionality. Data is received and stored as messages.

Message Queues
Message Queue

A message queue allows different applications and services to communicate, enabling systems to work efficiently through a smooth flow of information. You can send one message to multiple applications at the same time. They break applications apart so they can communicate in asynchronous communication.

Message - The data needed to be transmitted, which is available in different formats.

Queue - Order of the message received from the producer to the consumer. It works on a First-In-First-Out basis, meaning the message that was received first will be the first to be sent.

Types of Message Queues

Point-to-point model

A point-to-point message queue facilitates communication from one application to another. When a consumer receives a message, it sends a confirmation to the producer so that it can delete the message from the queue. A specific consumer application receives each message in the queue.

Message Queue - Point to Point Model
Message Queue - Point to Point Model

Publish/Subscribe model

Publish/Subscribe, also known as Pub/Sub, sends a message to all the subscribers (consumers), by duplicating the message before sending it for processing. If there are no consumers available for the message, it automatically gets rejected.

Message Queue - Publish/Subscribe model
Message Queue - Publish/Subscribe model

Benefits of Message Queues


When using message queues, messages aren’t dependent on each other. It allows you to use each application for specific work without having to test how processes affect other services or applications.

Unlike Monolithic applications, Microservices give you the power to separate services, allowing separate items to occur.