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Last updated: 14 Feb 2023

Manage RabbitMQ

RabbitMQ is a message broker based on the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP).

Learn more about RabbitMQ.

Connecting to the RabbitMQ web control panel

Run gds govuk connect rabbitmq -e integration aws/rabbitmq and point your browser at (also available for staging and production).

The username for connecting to the RabbitMQ web control panel is root and the password can be decrypted from the govuk-secrets repo via bundle exec rake 'eyaml:decrypt_value[integration,govuk_rabbitmq::root_password]' (from the puppet_aws directory).

RabbitMQ metrics

A generic RabbitMQ dashboard shows metrics for queues and exchanges.

How we run RabbitMQ


Producer: an application that publishes messages to RabbitMQ. On GOV.UK this could be seed-crawler.

Exchanges are AMQP entities where messages are sent. They take a message and route it into zero or more queues. The routing algorithm used depends on the exchange type and rules called bindings. Seed Crawler publishes a message for every line in the GOV.UK sitemap, to the exchange govuk_crawler_exchange.

Queues are very similar to queues in other message and task-queueing systems: they store messages that are consumed by applications. An example of a queue is govuk_crawler_queue which is used by [govuk_crawler_worker][] as a list of URLs to process. Queues are created by consumer applications.

Bindings are rules that exchanges use (among other things) to route messages to queues. To instruct an exchange E to route messages to a queue Q, Q has to be bound to E. Bindings may have an optional routing key attribute. An example of a binding is the cache_clearing_service-high queue is bound to the published_documents exchange with a routing key matching of *.major. E.g messages sent to the exchange with a routing key of guide.major will be routed to that queue.

Messages consist of a JSON payload and publish options (we predominantly use content type, routing key and persistant).


  • content_type (string) - tells the consumer the type of message. E.g "application/json"
  • routing_key (string) - matches against bindings to filter messages to certain queues. E.g "guide.major"
  • persistant (boolean) - tells RabbitMQ whether to save the message to disk.

Message options are set when a message is published. In our use case, the message’s payload is the content item in JSON format. The code in the publishing-api to publish a message is here.

Consumer applications are applications which consume messages from one or more queues. For email-alert-service this is done by running this rake task and using the major change processor to do the processing of the consumed messages. All our consumer applications use the govuk_message_queue_consumer gem to consume messages from RabbitMQ in a standardised way.

You can see live examples of things like queues, exchanges, bindings etc by connecting to the RabbitMQ control panel.

Further reading