RabbitMQ vs ActiveMQ – What’s The Difference? (Pros and Cons)

RabbitMQ vs ActiveMQ – What’s The Difference? (Pros and Cons). Human beings around the globe are interconnected with each other through the internet. The communication system is permeated all over and evolving day by day. Companies are now more focused on online or virtual connecting software/tools. That is why contemporary Information Technology has become so advanced, allowing applications, systems, and services to interconnect via communication software’s. The feature of interconnecting applications is provided through Message Broker Service.

A message broker is a medium that allows applications and systems to communicate directly by interpreting messages between formal messaging protocols. Languages and platforms do not impede the process of interconnections. Furthermore, it has the capability of validating, preserving, routing and supplying messages to the exact destination, whether the receiver is online/available or not. The two software’s that have been consistently used by the enterprises to avail Message broker facilities are ActiveMQ and RabbitMQ.

Therefore, ActiveMQ explicitly comes to mind when it comes to the best softwares that provide an efficient connection service. But, on the other hand, when we talk about the best tool for sending a sequence of the notification, automatically, RabbitMQ pops up in our brain that provides us a message queue service used to send a series of messages.

What is RabbitMQ?

RabbitMQ is open source software that offers a message broker facility for sending messages between applications, services and systems. It is based on Advanced Messaging Queuing Protocol (AMQP). It renders various Exchange types, an innate feature that enables routing messages via exchanges before sending them to the queue. Also, you can bind exchanges together or write the exchange type as a plugin for the multiplex routing.

RabbitMQ is a single broker known for it’s efficient delivery. It is light weighted and gives delivery acknowledgments that simultaneously decrease the loss of the messages. You can also send messages to the preferable queues and preferable consumers. On top of that, it contains multiple routing patterns to send the message and is easily deployed to any enterprise.

Message Queueing enables the applications to connect, those that do not have any built in ability to send or receive information. A message queue consists of three components: a producer, a broker and a consumer. First, the Producer generates the massage that is transported to the broker. Then the broker has to store the message and redeem it when the consumer gets connected.

Pros of RabbitMQ Message Broker

  • It does not require a charge for transferring messages with highly available queue.
  • Most widely deployed open source message broker.
  • Asynchronous Messaging.
  • Developer easier experience with languages such as: Java, PHP, Python, Ruby.
  • Use Puppet, BOSH, Chef and Docker for deployment.
  • Distributed Deployment in cluster and federated.
  • Cloud based applications: TLS, LDAP.
  • Management UI.
  • It is easily accessible as it is open source software.
  • Minimum data traffic.
  • Manageable with ability to add more queues and more services.
  • Effortless integration and configuration system.
  • Security, supports two authentication (2FA) ,SSL and several authorization backends.
  • It supports password based authentication.
  • It embraces Advanced Message Queueing Protocol (AMQP, HTTP, STOMP, MQTT).
  • It can scale one million messages in one second.

Cons of RabbitMQ Message Broker

  • Not reliable for large data sets but Kafka is excellent in processing large datasets.
  • Non-transactional (by default).
  • Needs Erlang.
  • Premium integration services.
  • Issues with processing big amounts of data
  • The clustering has a confined amount of features and is quite complex while implementing RabbitMQ as clusters.
  • Lack of documentation.

What is ActiveMQ?

Next in this comparison of RabbitMQ vs ActiveMQ is ActiveMQ.  It is also an open source software created by Apache that offers message broker services for dispatching messages to different applications. This message broker allows you to write in any language and can operate on other servers. Moreover it has extra features; STOMP, JMS, and OpenWire. It is used in the execution of Message Oriented Middleware. It is written in Java and has a license of Apache License 2.0. 

ActiveMQ is operated for sending messages between producers. The producer’s role is to create a message and send it to the consumer. The ActiveMQ broker, through the endpoints, routes all the messages individually. For ActiveMQ Classis, the endpoints are called Destinations and for Artemis are called Address.

Moreover, ActiveMQ contains memory to store messages that are on pending to send to the consumer. Therefore, each message has its memory until it is sent/dequeued to the destination and the memory size is based on the size of the message. At that juncture, it just pauses the memory used in the message.

Pros of ActiveMQ Message Broker

  • ActiveMQ bolsters ample of cross languages.
  • It offers a variety of protocols such as; PHP, JAVA, C, C++.and, etc.
  • It contains modern features such as; message group, virtual queue and combined queue.
  • It allows users to utilize the browser as a message communication structure.
  • It can handle high level clusters and point to point communication.
  • It advocates Ajax which enables the ability of the browser to operate DHTML and utilize the browser as a message communication machine.
  • It provides web service projects through CXF and Axis.
  • It provides dual security through double layers of the SSL/TLS security layer.
  • The Rest API allows language autonomous web API.

Cons of ActiveMQ Message Broker

  • Lack of assurance of the delivery of messages.
  • Messages must be sent to either queues or topics.
  • Inconvenient documentation.
  • Not much amiable to the non-apache users.

Differences Between RabbitMQ and ActiveMQ

The significant differences between RabbitMQ vs ActiveMQ (Pros and Cons) are:


Both RabbitMQ and ActiveMQ are open source, while RabbitMQ is Mozilla licensed and ActiveMQ is Apache licensed 2.0.


RabbitMQ is based on single broker architecture, but on the other hand, ActiveMQ is based on multi broker architecture.

Programming Language

RabbitMQ is written in OTP and Erlang languages where ActiveMQ is written in JAVA, a more common and understandable language to the users.


RabbitMQ is more efficient than ActiveMQ because of limited brokers. ActiveMQ supports Multi broker architecture which sometimes takes time to process a message.


RabbitMQ is operated in low level AMQP protocol and uses as a communication medium between two applications. ActiveMQ is used for storing abundant cases and bolstering clustering environments related to JMS Messaging Specification.

Language Support

RabbitMQ interprets a vast range of languages such as C, C++, javascript, Ruby, Python, PHP, GO and PERL RUST. ActiveMQ also supports various languages such as Ruby on Rails, Python, C, C-Sharp, Racket, Perl, Node.js, and Haxe.

Protocol Support

The protocols supported by RabbitMQ are; MQTT, AMQP, HTTP, Websocket, and STOMP protocols. While The ActiveMQ supports AMQP, STOMP, OpenWire, HTTP, and MQTT for net services protocols and SSL for cryptography.

Cross Platform

Cross Platform service is available in ActiveMQ and as well as in RabbitMQ.

Message Model

The message models RabbitMQ and ActiveMQ contain are; Message Queue and PUB-SUB, but RabbitMQ has more extra two models, such as RPC and Routing. Hence RabbitMQ renders more variety of messaging patterns than ActiveMQ.

Synchronization Method

RabbitMQ can be operated on both synchronous and asynchronous modes. ActiveMQ works only on the synchronous mode but can be altered into asynchronous through the setting panel.

RabbitMQ vs ActiveMQ – What’s The Difference? (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

Message brokers work as the building blocks for a complete messaging solution. Both RabbitMQ vs ActiveMQ are highly scalable, high performance  and reliable message brokers. Both softwares, RabbitMQ has convenient in built UI and allows using SSL for better security but ActiveMQ can scale from single to complex, multi broker architectures.

RabbitMQ is more compatible with single/simple protocols and is Erlang based where ActiveMQ handles complex architecture through plug in based architecture that are JM based. 

Both are providing their best services for reliable messaging but they have different mechanisms and strengths so implementing them will require slightly different purposes. It is necessary to learn their advantages and disadvantages.


I hope this article made it easy to select the best Message broker according to your and your enterprises’ requirement. 

Avatar for Emad Bin Abid
Emad Bin Abid

I'm a software engineer who has a bright vision and a strong interest in designing and engineering software solutions. I readily understand that in today's agile world the development process has to be rapid, reusable, and scalable; hence it is extremely important to develop solutions that are well-designed and embody a well-thought-of architecture as the baseline. Apart from designing and developing business solutions, I'm a content writer who loves to document technical learnings and experiences so that peers in the same industry can also benefit from them.

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