AWS SQS APIs: Create Queues, Send & Receive Messages Simplified 101

Isola Saheed Ganiyu • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022


Developers create complex applications that require a communication system to exchange messages between or among their various components. Furthermore, in some cases, even a minor change in the data sequence can render the application useless. As a result, developers are looking for automated services to help them manage this data-based communication. One such message management solution is AWS SQS.

The AWS SQS API is a hosted queue for storing messages as they travel between applications or components of an application. It is reliable, robust, and highly scalable. Using the AWS SQS API to manage message queues has several advantages over building your software or using commercial or open-source message queuing systems. Both of these require significant development and configuration time.

In this article, you will gain information about working with AWS SQS APIs. You will also gain a holistic understanding of AWS SQS, its key features, using AWS SQS API to create queues, and sending and receiving messages. Read along to find out in-depth information about AWS SQS APIs.

Table of Contents

What is AWS SQS?

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Amazon SQS is a durable, secure, scalable, and available hosted Q that lets users integrate Software Systems and Components. It’s a hosted solution provided by Amazon, so you don’t need to manage the Service Infrastructure. SQS stores messages in transit between Applications and Microservices. Amazon provides a host of web service APIs, which users can access with a programming language supported by AWS SDK.

SQS eliminates the overhead and complexity associated with managing and operating message-oriented systems. Amazon SQS has no upfront cost or minimum fee, and every user gets the first million monthly requests free under the Amazon SQS Free Tier. However, users have to pay based on the content and number of requests and their interactions with Amazon S3 and the AWS Key Management Service. 

SQS offers an API for developers to connect with the service. SQS does not work as a database, so the user can’t decide which message to receive. However, they can choose how many messages they want to receive.

The main actions in high-level are:

  • Send Message: Send a request to a queue available for use by another service.
  • Receive Message: Another service can request to receive pending messages in the queue.
  • Delete Message: The user can remove the message from the queue upon proper processing.

Key Features of AWS SQS

Some of the key features of AWS SQS are as follows:

1) Queue Types

There are two types of queues: The standard queue and the FIFO queue. The standard queue option comes with unlimited throughput, at-least-once delivery, and best-effort ordering. FIFO queue offers high throughput, exactly-once processing, and first-in-first-out delivery features. The standard queue is useful for sending data between applications when throughput is important.

In contrast, users should use the FIFO queue when the order of events is important. The standard queue can support a nearly unlimited number of API calls per second, whereas the FIFO queue can only support up to 3,000 messages per second per API method. In the Standard queue, messages are occasionally delivered in a different order from which they were sent. Whereas the FIFO queue strictly preserves the order in which messages are sent and received.

2) Functionality

Amazon SQS offers functionalities such as batches of up to 10 messages or 256 KB; Payload size of up to 256 KB of text in any format; Unlimited queues and messages; Message retainment for up to 14 days in the queue; Queue sharing; and the ability to send and read messages simultaneously. It also offers long polling to reduce costs while receiving new messages. AWS SQS also offers Server-Side Encryption (SSE) to protect message content and Dead Letter Queues (DLQ) from handling messages that aren’t successfully processed. 

3) SQS with AWS infrastructure

You can pair the Amazon SQS messaging service with other AWS services such as Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), AWS Lambda, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and Amazon S3. It helps to make distributed applications more Reliable and Scalable. 

Why Use AWS SQS?

Amazon SQS makes it easier to manage messages across apps without having to go through the development and configuration process. Furthermore, managing data queues does not necessitate any additional time or resources. This is because it transmits sensitive data via the Server Side Encryption (SSE) algorithm.

Developers use SQS because it simplifies the management and operation of the service. By creating an intermediate queue instead of transmitting the data directly, you can send, save, and receive data between two separate services using SQS.

Here’s an illustration:

Having a Queue between A and B is beneficial because the Queue can manage peak demand from A while sending messages at a slower rate than B can handle.

AWS SQS API: SQS Queue| Hevo Data
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AWS SQS allows you to break down an application into components and run them separately. In this way, if one component fails, the remaining components will continue to work without being harmed. AWS SQS also has a high level of fault tolerance and stability. Furthermore, you have complete control over who sends and receives messages via Amazon SQS Queues.

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Types of Queues in AWS SQS

In AWS SQS, there are only two types of Queues:

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  • The Standard Queues are distributed at random. It supports a near-infinite number of transactions per second (TPS) per API action. A message is delivered at least once, but it is sometimes delivered in multiple copies. Messages may occasionally be delivered in a different sequence from when they were sent.
  • First-In-First-Out (FIFO) order of messages is preserved. FIFO queues can handle up to 3,000 messages per second (TPS) per API action. Until a recipient deletes a message, once it is sent, it remains available until it is processed.


Let’s look at how to set up an SQS queue, and how to send and receive messages using AWS SQS API.

1) Creating a Queue using AWS SQS API

The steps involved in creating a Queue using AWS SQS API are as follows:

  • Step 1: Create an AWS account if you don’t already have one.
  • Step 2: Enter your user name and password.
  • Step 3: Now, in the search bar, type queue and select the “SQS” option to open the console.
AWS SQS API: Create Queue SQS| Hevo Data
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  • Step 4: To create a new queue, go to the AWS SQS Console, and click the “Create Queue” button towards the top left corner.
AWS SQS API: Create Queue| Hevo Data
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  • Step 4: Now, a Queue can be created through AWS SQS APIs in three steps. These are as follows:

A) General Details 

In this stage, you’ll need to give your queue a case-sensitive name and decide whether you want to create a Standard or FIFO queue.

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Note that AWS SQS API creates a Standard queue by default if you don’t specify the FIFO Queue. Additionally, you cannot modify the type of Queue once it has been created, nor can you convert a Standard Queue to a FIFO Queue. For your application, you must either construct a new FIFO Queue or delete your current Queue and recreate it as a FIFO Queue.

B) Configuration Details

Fill in the specifics of the configuration. You can set your settings for visibility timeout, receive message wait time, message retention period, delivery delay, and maximum message size.

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C) Access Policy 

You can specify who has permission to receive or send messages to or from your queue. As sender/receiver, select the queue owner or indicated AWS accounts, roles, and IAM users. The JSON format can also be used to establish the access policy.

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  • Step 5: Save the queue. Additional information can be added to the Encryption, Dead-letter queue, and Tags settings. These options are all optional. Click the “Create Queue” button when you’re finished.

Your Queue has been created, and the Queue will be displayed on the Queue’s details page.

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2) Send Messages Using AWS SQS API

The steps involved to send messages using AWS SQS API are as follows:

  • Step 1: Select the Queue you want to use from the Queues page. Now, select the “Send and receive messages” option from the actions button.
AWS SQS API: Send and receive messages drop-down| Hevo Data
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  • Step 2: Fill in the details of the message. While sending a message, you can provide the delay duration. Each new message must have a delivery delay. This delivery date indicates that your customer will only receive the message after the time limit has passed. You can also include the message attributes, such as geospatial data, timestamps, identifiers, and signatures.
  • Step 3: Once you are done, click the “Send Message” button to receive confirmation.
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You’ll now receive a confirmation message on the screen.

AWS SQS API: Message Confirmation| Hevo Data
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3) Receiving Messages Using AWS SQS API

The steps involved to receive messages using AWS SQS API are as follows:

  • Step 1: Select the queue you want to use from the Queues page. Now, select the “Send and receive messages” button from the dropdown from the actions button. The send and receive messages page will be displayed on the console.
AWS SQS API: Send and receive messages drop down| Hevo Data
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  • Step 2: Click on Poll for messages. Amazon SQS starts polling the Queue for messages. The polling time is indicated by the progress bar on the right side of the Receive messages section.

The Messages section shows a list of the messages that have been received. The message ID, sending date, size, and receive count are displayed for each message in the list.

AWS SQS API: Poll for messages| Hevo Data
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AWS SQS is a scalable message queuing system that allows us to decouple apps and offload heavy compute operations without compromising overall system performance. You can use Amazon SQS to send sensitive data between applications by encrypting each message body using server-side encryption (SSE). 

In this article, you have learned about working with AWS SQS API. This article also provided information on AWS SQS, its key features, using AWS SQS API to create queues, and sending and receiving messages.

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