How to Install RabbitMQ on Your Server

Step-by-step guide on how to install RabbitMQ on Ubuntu. We’ll also cover how to enable and use the management plugin, which provides a handy web-based interface.

Step 1: Update Your System You should always ensure your system is up to date before installing any new software. Open up a terminal and run:

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get upgrade -y

This will update the package lists for upgrades for packages that need upgrading, as well as new packages that have just come to the repositories.

Step 2: Install Erlang RabbitMQ is built on the Erlang runtime system, so you’ll need to install Erlang before you can install RabbitMQ. Run the following command:

sudo apt-get install -y erlang

This command tells the package manager to install Erlang and confirm (‘-y’) that you want to install the packages if asked.

Step 3: Add the RabbitMQ Repository and Key RabbitMQ provides its own repositories for Debian-based systems. To use the RabbitMQ repository, you need to add it to your system. Run the following commands to do this:

echo 'deb testing main' |
sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/rabbitmq.list

Then, add the RabbitMQ public key to your system to verify the downloads:

wget -O- |
sudo apt-key add -

Step 4: Install RabbitMQ Server Now you’re ready to install RabbitMQ itself. Update your package lists again, then use apt-get to install the server:

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get install -y rabbitmq-server

Step 5: Enable and Start the RabbitMQ Service After installing RabbitMQ, you need to enable the service to make sure it starts up at boot:

sudo systemctl enable rabbitmq-server

Then, start the RabbitMQ service:

sudo systemctl start rabbitmq-server

Step 6: Verify the RabbitMQ Service You can check that the RabbitMQ service is running with:

sudo systemctl status rabbitmq-server

You should see output that shows the service is active (running).

Step 7: Enable the RabbitMQ Management Console (Optional) The RabbitMQ Management Console is a user-friendly interface that allows you to monitor and control your RabbitMQ server from a web browser. To enable this, use the rabbitmq-plugins command:

sudo rabbitmq-plugins enable rabbitmq_management

After running this command, you can access the web management console at http://your_server_IP:15672. The default username and password are both guest.



System requirements

Operating System: RabbitMQ is officially supported on a variety of operating systems, including:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 and newer
  • Debian 8 (Jessie) and newer
  • CentOS 7 and newer
  • Fedora 28 and newer
  • Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019
  • Windows 8.1, Windows 10

In addition to these, any Unix-like system that can run an Erlang 22.3 or later runtime should be able to run RabbitMQ.

Hardware: The necessary hardware will depend on the workload you expect RabbitMQ to handle. A small instance can be run with as little as 1 GB of RAM, but for a larger workload, you might need a multi-core processor and several GBs of RAM.

Dependencies: RabbitMQ requires a compatible version of Erlang to be installed. The minimum required version as of 2021 is Erlang 22.3.

Disk Space: The required disk space will largely depend on your specific use case. However, you should have enough to store the message data, logs, and the RabbitMQ server application itself.

Network: RabbitMQ relies heavily on networking for communication. It is recommended to have a reliable network infrastructure to ensure optimal performance.

Provider: Here is a list.



Understanding RabbitMQ versioning:

RabbitMQ version numbers use the format X.Y.Z, where:

  • X stands for the major version number. Updates in this number generally indicate significant changes, new features, and potentially non-backward-compatible changes.
  • Y stands for the minor version number. This usually involves the addition of minor features and improvements. Most of these updates are backward compatible.
  • Z stands for the patch version number. This usually includes bug fixes and security patches. It is recommended to always update to the latest patch.

New Features in Recent Versions (up to version 3.8.x):

RabbitMQ has seen continuous improvement and the addition of features in recent years. Here are some notable ones from versions 3.7.x and 3.8.x:

  • 3.7.x: This major version brought features like an improved management interface, introduction of the new configuration format, enhancements to the RabbitMQ CLI tools, and peer discovery subsystem that replaces the earlier ‘rabbitmq-autocluster’ plugin.
  • 3.8.x: This version brought significant enhancements, including feature flags, quorum queues, and support for replicated, durable, and FIFO queues. This version also introduced RabbitMQ Streams, which is a log-based messaging system similar to Apache Kafka.

Each new release of RabbitMQ, even minor and patch releases, can bring substantial improvements. These can include new features, improvements to old features, performance enhancements, bug fixes, and security patches.

To keep your RabbitMQ deployment secure and reliable, you should aim to stay up-to-date with the latest releases, especially the patch releases which often contain crucial security updates.


How it works

Basic Concepts:

  • Producer: This is the application that creates and sends messages.
  • Consumer: This is the application that receives and processes messages.
  • Exchange: When a producer sends a message, it sends it to an exchange. The exchange’s job is to route the message to one or multiple queues based on rules known as bindings.
  • Queue: This is a buffer that stores messages. Messages stay in the queue until they’re consumed by consumers.
  • Binding: This is the rule that the exchange uses to route messages to queues. A binding might say, for example, “all messages with a routing key of ‘error’ go to the ‘error_log’ queue.”
  • Routing key: This is a property of a message that the exchange uses to decide how to route the message.

How It Works:

  1. The producer sends a message to an exchange in RabbitMQ. The message has a routing key and any necessary metadata.
  2. The exchange receives the message and uses the binding rules to decide which queue(s) to send the message to. If there are no binding rules that match the message’s routing key, the message is either returned to the producer, dropped, or routed to an alternate exchange, depending on the message’s properties and the exchange’s configuration.
  3. The message sits in the queue until a consumer retrieves it. Depending on the settings, the queue might store the message until it’s successfully processed, or it might drop it after a certain time period.
  4. The consumer connects to the queue and retrieves the message. After processing the message, the consumer sends an acknowledgement back to RabbitMQ, which then removes the message from the queue.

This process allows for decoupling of applications. Producers and consumers don’t need to interact directly with each other – they only interact with RabbitMQ. This also allows for messages to be processed asynchronously. The producer can continue sending messages without waiting for the consumers to process them.

RabbitMQ has several advanced features as well, such as message persistence (so messages don’t get lost if RabbitMQ crashes), priority queues, and dead-letter exchanges (for handling failed messages). It also supports a variety of plugins for extending its functionality.


  1. Queue Depths: Queue depth is the number of messages waiting in a queue. If a queue depth is high, it can indicate that producers are sending messages faster than consumers can process them. This backlog can eventually lead to memory issues. Monitoring queue depth and calculating the rate of change can help balance the load between producers and consumers.
  2. Message Rates: Message rates, which refer to the number of messages published, delivered, acknowledged per second, etc., are vital to monitoring the performance of RabbitMQ. Understanding these rates and their patterns can help identify bottlenecks and improve system performance.
  3. Resource Utilization: This involves calculating how much CPU, memory, and disk space RabbitMQ uses, which can directly impact the performance and stability of your application. It’s crucial to ensure that RabbitMQ isn’t consuming resources to the point where it affects the server’s performance.
  4. Network Latency: Network latency can have a significant impact on message delivery times. Measuring round trip times and understanding their implications on your application’s performance can help you make more informed decisions about your infrastructure.
  5. Fault Tolerance and High Availability Calculations: When setting up clusters for high availability, you need to calculate the number of nodes that can fail without affecting the system. This is determined by the number and distribution of your replicas.

Wal file

RabbitMQ, like many other databases and message brokers, makes use of a write-ahead log (WAL) for certain types of storage, particularly when it comes to durable message storage.

In RabbitMQ, when a message is published as “persistent” to a durable queue, it is first written to the disk before it is considered successfully published. This process ensures that the message won’t be lost even if RabbitMQ crashes or restarts. This mechanism of writing changes first to the disk (i.e., to the log) and then updating the actual database or message store is a technique known as “write-ahead logging”.

The write-ahead log also plays a crucial role in RabbitMQ’s mirroring feature, which allows queues to be mirrored across multiple nodes in a cluster. The log is used to replicate the operations from the master node to the mirror nodes.

It’s worth noting that the actual implementation of this in RabbitMQ might not involve a file explicitly named as a WAL file, but the principle of write-ahead logging is fundamental to its operation. RabbitMQ uses an internal database called Mnesia, which handles these details of storage and persistence.

If you’re looking at optimizing RabbitMQ’s performance or planning a deployment, understanding the role of the write-ahead log can be important, particularly when it comes to disk I/O. Persistent messages and durable queues can put a higher load on your disk I/O due to the use of the write-ahead log, so you’ll need to take this into account when planning your hardware or cloud resources.

Network delay

RabbitMQ is a network service and like any network-based application, it is susceptible to network latency and delays. This can occur due to a number of factors, such as network congestion, hardware limitations, bandwidth limitations, or geographical distance between the nodes.

Here’s how it might affect different aspects of RabbitMQ:

1. Inter-node Communication: In a RabbitMQ cluster, nodes communicate with each other to replicate data, exchange metadata and handle operations like queue mirroring and sharding. Network delay in this communication can cause replication lags and increased synchronization times, and in worst-case scenarios, may even lead to split-brain situations in the cluster.

2. Client-Server Communication: Network delay can also affect the communication between the RabbitMQ server and the client applications (publishers and consumers). Increased latency can reduce the overall throughput of message delivery and cause messages to be delivered out of order, particularly in scenarios where message ordering is critical.

3. Federation and Shovel Plugin: If you’re using the federation or shovel plugins to connect different RabbitMQ brokers across a WAN, network delay can affect message replication times and lead to lags in message delivery across brokers.

How to Mitigate Network Delays:

  1. Proper Network Planning: Carefully planning your network infrastructure can help reduce network latency. This could include considerations like placing your RabbitMQ nodes in the same data center or using dedicated network links.
  2. Hardware Selection: Choosing servers with high-speed network interfaces can help reduce latency.
  3. Network Tuning: There may be network settings at the OS level that can be tuned for better performance.
  4. Application Design: Your client applications should be designed to handle network latency gracefully. This could involve techniques like retrying operations, handling timeouts appropriately, or using acknowledgments and confirmations effectively.
  5. Monitoring: Regularly monitoring your network performance can help you identify and address latency issues promptly.



1. Getting the Lay of the Land:

The first thing you’d want to do is check the server’s overall status. It’s like asking your RabbitMQ, “Hey buddy, how are you feeling today?” You can use the rabbitmqctl tool to do this.

Command: rabbitmqctl status

Just like your friend might tell you they’re feeling a bit down because they didn’t have their morning coffee, this command can give you a lot of useful info about your server.

2. Making Sure the Rabbit is Listening:

It’s important to ensure your RabbitMQ is listening attentively, just like a good friend should! RabbitMQ listens on specific ports for connections.

Command: netstat -an | grep LISTEN

Normally, it’s port 5672 for messaging, and 15672 for the management interface. If it’s not listening, that could explain why it’s not responding to your messages.

3. Reading the Rabbit’s Diary:

Logs are like the diary of your RabbitMQ server, and when your server has a problem, it writes about it in its diary. Take a peek into its entries.

On Unix-based systems, the RabbitMQ log files are usually located at /var/log/rabbitmq/.

4. Checking the Queue:

If there’s a traffic jam in your queue, it’s like your RabbitMQ is stuck in rush hour traffic. Check the queues to see if they are filling up or draining as expected. The RabbitMQ Management interface or rabbitmqctl list_queues command can give you this info.

5. Seeing if the RabbitMQ Friends are Okay:

If you’re running RabbitMQ in a cluster, it’s like a group of Rabbit friends. Check if any of them are not feeling well. Use rabbitmqctl cluster_status to see the status of your cluster.

6. Looking out for Alarm Bells:

RabbitMQ is smart enough to ring the alarm bell when it’s running low on resources. So, always keep an eye (or ear) out for any alarms. They’re like your RabbitMQ waving a flag saying, “Hey, I need more room to breathe here!”

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