Easy Guide to SNS vs SQS: 4 Critical Aspects

By: Published: October 25, 2021

SNS vs SQS - Featured Image

Are you confused about which is the right fit for you – SNS or SQS? Don’t worry in this SNS vs SQS guide you will find the answer you are looking for. Go through this comparative analysis and make your decision today!

Table of Contents

Introduction to SNS

SNS vs SQS - SNS logo
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SNS is an abbreviation of Simple Notification Service, it’s a distributed publish-subscribe system which pushes a message to multiple(all) subscribers as soon as it receives it from a publisher. It’s a fully managed service that can send messages to many types of subscribers like phones, email recipients and HTTP endpoints. By default, each subscriber receives every message published to the topic. 

Introduction to SQS

SNS vs SQS - SQS logo
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Simple Queue Service (SQS), as the name suggests, is a distributed, fully managed message queuing service. Subscribers have to PULL  messages from SQS and messages can’t be received by multiple receivers at the same time. At a time, one receiver can receive a message, process and delete it; other receivers will not get to see that message. Using SQS you can easily decouple applications or integrate applications. 

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Understanding Critical Differences in SNS vs SQS

SNS vs SQS - Differences
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In this section, you will discuss some of the critical primary differences of SNS vs SQS. Moreover, you will explore:

SNS vs SQS: Primary Differences

There are some primary differences between SQS and SNS, owing to the way they are designed and the purpose they serve. 

  •  SQS does not push messages to the consumers, instead, consumers have to poll the queue, and as soon as one of them receives a message, the message is out of the queue and no other consumer can access it. This polling inevitably introduces a certain latent delay in message delivery. 
  • SNS pushes the messages to all its subscribers as soon as it receives it, hence there is no latency and you can easily add subscribers down the line. 
  •  SQS is mainly used to decouple applications or integrate applications.
  • SNS is used to broadcast messages and it’s up to the receivers how they interpret and process those messages.

SNS vs SQS: Tabular Comparison 

ParadigmClient PullServer Push
Entity TypeQueue, FIFOTopic, Broadcast
PersistenceConfigurable persistence durationNo persistence
ConsumersIdentical consumersMultiple types

SNS vs SQS: Use Cases

Lets now have a look at some sample application scenarios:

1. SQS can be used in scenarios where the order of events ( and the order of processing them) are important. Also, in cases where multiple similar processors (actors) are present to get hold of a message and process it, at a given point in time any one of these processors gets to receive and process the message.

E.g. Processing multiple commands in the right order. 

A user can fire successive commands on a system and there are many threads that can process them. An SQS can ensure that user-entered commands are executed in the right order. Moreover, it can ensure that the output of the previous command can be used as input for the next. 

2. SNS can be used in scenarios where multiple subscribers receive the same message and process it according to their responsibilities/capabilities simultaneously. 

E.g. A food ordering App can generate order confirmations message(s) which can then be distributed via SNS to the pickup and delivery boy (on his mobile), the Kitchen manager (on his Tab), to the Bookkeeper(on his Desktop) and to the BI and Analytics tool (via API or database call). These subscribers can then move ahead and fulfil their duties to achieve the final goal. 

SNS vs SQS: Sample Cooperative Scenarios 

SQS and SNS can be coupled to work together, making this combination very useful in certain scenarios. A typical example would be a Fanout scenario which requires asynchronous processing of messages. When a message is published to SNS, it can distribute it to multiple SQS queues in parallel. 

E.g. A system that takes bulk orders from its clients and distributes them for further action. 

A large manufacturing company can have multiple SQS queues, one for each department, subscribed to a single SNS topic. A bulk order of 10,000 units is received and it is sent to the SNS to be broadcasted. All departments will receive identical notifications for the new order, via their respective SQS. 

  • Next, the procurement department can proceed to ensure that the raw materials are available at the right time. 
  • The personnel department receives the same order, fetches the information relevant to it and ensures that the worker schedules are adjusted to making the labour and machines available for manufacturing. 
  • The manufacturing department can make the detailed schedules and plans. 
  • The Finance department can make sure that the flow of liquidity is maintained to smoothly finish the above processes. 


To summarize, we have discussed the differences between SNS and SQS and elaborated on the scenarios where they can be put to good use, individually and together. 

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Pratik Dwivedi
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Pratik writes about various topics related to data industry who loves creating engaging content on topics like data analytics, machine learning, AI, big data, and business intelligence.

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