RabbitMQ Clear Queues: How to Delete Queues & Purge Messages 101

By: Published: April 27, 2022

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RabbitMQ is one of the most popular open-source message brokers, with tens of thousands of users. RabbitMQ is a lightweight messaging system that can easily be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. To address high-scale and high-availability requirements, it can also be deployed in distributed and federated configurations.

One of the good things about this open-source message broker is that RabbitMQ clears queues easily. If you have hundreds or thousands of queues, manually deleting them is not ideal, especially if there is a way to eliminate all of the queues at once. This is where the RabbitMQ clear queues function comes in. It is helpful in deleting any queues that you have defined or queues that were made programmatically. 

In this article, you will gain information about RabbitMQ Clear Queues. You will also gain a holistic understanding of the basic concepts of RabbitMQ, its key features, methods to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues, a step-by-step guide to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues, and tips for better RabbitMQ Queues usage. Read along to find out in-depth information about RabbitMQ Clear Queues.

Table of Contents


  • Basic idea about Message Brokers
  • Basic understanding of RabbitMQ

What is RabbitMQ?

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RabbitMQ is a free and open-source message broker and queueing software that receives messages from producers and distributes them to customers. It acts as a middleman, relieving pressure on web application servers while maximising data transmission speed.

It specifies the queues to which programs can connect in order to send a message or series of messages. A message can contain any type of information. It could be a simple text message or it could contain information about a process or operation that should begin on another application. Messages are stored in the queue until a receiver connects and removes a message from it. Following that, the message is processed by the receiving application.

Key Features of RabbitMQ

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Following are the features of the RabbitMQ message queuing system:

  • Open-source: RabbitMQ was created as an open-source project by Cohesive FT, LShift, and LTD. Pivotal Software Inc. owns it, and it is distributed under the Mozilla Public License. As an open-source project written in Erlang, RabbitMQ enjoys freedom and flexibility while leveraging Pivotal’s product strength. Enhancements and add-ons can be contributed by developers and engineers, and Pivotal can provide commercial support and stable home for product maturation.
  • Platform and vendor-neutral: RabbitMQ is a platform- and vendor-neutral system that implements the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP). Clients are available for almost all major computer platforms and programming languages.
  • Lightweight: RabbitMQ is lightweight, requiring less than 40MB of RAM to run the core application and plugins such as the Management UI. Adding messages to queues, on the other hand, will increase their memory usage.
  • Flexibility in controlling messaging trade-offs: RabbitMQ allows you to control the trade-offs between message throughput and performance. It is not a “one-size-fits-all” application, and all messages can specify whether they should be saved to a disc before being delivered. Queues in a cluster can span multiple servers, ensuring that no messages are lost in the event of a server failure.
  • Third-party plugins: RabbitMQ has a flexible plugin system that includes third-party plugins for directly storing messages into databases or using RabbitMQ for database writes.
  • Client libraries for most modern languages: RabbitMQ is a compelling broker with client libraries for the majority of modern programming languages on multiple platforms. When you write programmes that communicate with RabbitMQ, there is no vendor or language lock-in. It serves as the focal point for applications written in a variety of languages. RabbitMQ is a valuable bridge that allows data to be shared across operating systems and environments by languages such as Java, Ruby, C#, Python, and PHP.
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What are Queues in RabbitMQ?

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Queues are similar to SMTP mailboxes, which store messages consumed by applications and forward them to consumers. Users will have to declare a queue before using it to store and forward messages unless it already exists. In the world of messaging technology, Queues play an important role. A Queue is an in-order data structure having two fundamental operations:

  • An item that can be enqueued (added) at the tail end.
  • An item that can be dequeued (removed) from the head.

The Queues in RabbitMQ are “First In, First Out(FIFO). Some Queue elements, such as priority and consumer requeuing, might influence the ordering as seen by customers.

The main purpose of RabbitMQ is not to store messages in Queues. Rather, its primary function is to deliver messages. Therefore, having so many undelivered messages is not a good thing. They need to be cleared, deleted, or purged occasionally. There is no API in RabbitMQ for deleting a specific message from a Queue. It is done within the RabbitMQ dashboard.
Queues have several attributes associated with them:

  • Name
  • Exclusivity
  • Durability
  • Whether the queue is auto-deleted when no longer used
  • Other metadata (sometimes called X-arguments)

When and Why should you Use RabbitMQ?

Message queueing helps web servers to react to requests rapidly rather than having to perform resource-intensive procedures on the spot, which can cause delays. Rabbit Message Queuing is also useful for distributing a message to several recipients or balancing workloads among workers.

Methods to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues 

There are two ways to implement RabbitMQ clear queues. These are as follows:

1) The Purging Method 

Purging is the process of clearing up database space or eliminating data that is no longer needed by the system.

Warning: You won’t be able to retrieve any messages deleted from a queue if you perform the PurgeQueue action.

2) The Delete Method 

This function can delete a message(s) from a particular queue or delete all of the rows in the current row. For instance, if you have a work queue, and the tasks will be completed after the queue; you can delete those rows because they are no longer needed.

A Step-by-step Guide to Implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues

There are three ways of how to delete/clear/purge a queue and all messages in RabbitMQ. These include:

1) Using the RabbitMQ Management Interface

The steps involved to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues using the RabbitMQ Management Interface are as follows:

  • Step 1: Navigate to the RabbitMQ management portal, type your credentials and log in.
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  • Step 2: Go to the Queues tab, and click on the name of the Queue you want to delete.
RabbitMQ Clear Queues: Click on Queue to delete
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  • Step 3: After you’ve chosen the queue you want to delete, you’ll be taken to its detail page where you’ll find a delete or purge option towards the bottom of the list. You can either delete the Queue or purge the messages from it by clicking on the “Delete Queue” or “Purge Messages” buttons.
Delete Queue and Purge Messages
Delete Queue and Purge Messages
  • Step 4: A confirmation notice will pop up when you click the “Delete Queue” or “Purge Messages” button, asking if you want to proceed with either of the actions.
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  • Step 5: If you click the “OK” button, the Queue will be deleted from the RabbitMQ server.

In this way, using the web management portal, you can undergo RabbitMQ Clear Queues (delete Queues) or purge messages from RabbbitMQ Queues.

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2) Using the RabbitMQ Policy

The steps involved to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues using the RabbitMQ Policy are as follows:

  • Step 1: Create a policy with an auto-expire rule that matches the Queue names. To implement this, go to the Management Interface and select the “admin” tab.
  • Step 2: Click on the “Policies” tab on the right side and then add a policy.
  • Step 3: Fill in the fields accordingly. The fields are Virtual Host, Name, Pattern, Apply to, and Definition.
  • Step 4: After filling the fields, you can save them and check out the Queues tab again. All the Queues would be deleted.

Note: After you’ve applied the policy, don’t forget to delete it. You can also give the expiry value (1) and change the type from String to Number in the definition.

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RabbitMQ policies
RabbitMQ Policies

3) Using Auto Delete

Your connections may fail, leaving unused queues in the process, which may harm performance.

The different ways to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues using Auto Delete are as follows:

  • Setting a TTL (Time-to-Live) policy in the Queue: You can set a 28-day TTL policy. This function deletes queues that haven’t been used for 28 days.
  • An auto-delete queue takes place when the last consumer cancels or the connection /channel are closed (or when it has lost connection with the server).
  • Only the declaring connection can use (clear, purge, or delete) an exclusive Queue. When a client’s connection is closed or terminated, exclusive Queues are deleted.

Tips for Better RabbitMQ Queues Usage 

Some of the points which should be taken into consideration for better RabbitMQ Queues usage are as follows:

1) Keep your Queue short (if possible)

A large number of messages in a queue might impose a strain on the RAM. RabbitMQ starts paging out (flushing) messages to the disk to free up the RAM. When there are many messages to page out, the page out operation takes time and prevents the queue from processing messages, slowing queueing speed. The broker’s performance may be harmed if there are too many messages in the queue. This is a clear reason why you need to occasionally clear/delete/purge your queues.

2) Limit Queue size with TTL or max-length

Setting a queue max-length is another guideline to ensure better queue usage and performance. Limiting the queue size keeps the queue short by deleting messages at the top, ensuring that it never exceeds the max-length value.

3) Number of Queues

In RabbitMQ, queues are single-threaded, and each queue may process up to 50 thousand messages. On a multi-core system, you’ll get better throughput if you have numerous queues and consumers, as well as many queues as cores on the underlying node(s).

For each queue in the cluster, the RabbitMQ management interface collects and generates metrics. If you have thousands of active queues and consumers, this may cause the server to slow down. If you have too many queues, your CPU and RAM utilization may suffer as well.


Finally, using any of the ways above, you were able to delete or purge your queues. RabbitMQ makes cleaning queues simple and straightforward. Remember that a queue in RabbitMQ is a buffer that holds messages sent from exchanges to queues. To provide greater throughput, RabbitMQ queues must be cleaned at regular intervals.

In this article, you have learned about RabbitMQ Clear Queues. This article also provided information on the RabbitMQ, its key features, methods to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues, a step-by-step guide to implement RabbitMQ Clear Queues, and tips for better RabbitMQ Queues usage.

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Isola Saheed Ganiyu
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Isola is a freelance writer specializing in the domains of data integration and data analysis. He has a passion towards creating engaging and educational content, breaking down these sophisticated subjects for easily understanding.

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