Dead letter queue

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In message queueing the dead letter queue is a service implementation to store messages that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Message that is sent to a queue that does not exist.[1][2]
  2. Queue length limit exceeded.
  3. Message length limit exceeded.
  4. Message is rejected by another queue exchange.[3]
  5. Message reaches a threshold read counter number, because it is not consumed. Sometimes this is called a "back out queue".

Dead letter queue storing of these messages allows developers to look for common patterns and potential software problems.[4]

Queueing systems that incorporate dead letter queues include Amazon Simple Queue Service[4], Apache ActiveMQ, HornetQ, Microsoft Message Queuing[1], WebSphere MQ[5], Rabbit MQ[3] and Apache Pulsar[6],[7]


  1. ^ a b Redkar, Arohi (2004). Pro MSMQ: Microsoft Message Queue Programming. Apress. p. 148. ISBN 1430207329.
  2. ^ "Dead-letter queues". IBM. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b RabbitMQ dead letter queue "Dead Letter Exchanges".
  4. ^ a b "Using Amazon SQS Dead Letter Queues". Amazon. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  5. ^ Böhm-Mäder, Johannes. WebSphere MQ Security: Tales of Scowling Wolves Among Unglamorous Sheep. BoD. p. 68. ISBN 3842381506.
  6. ^ "Apache Pulsar documentation".
  7. ^ "Apache Pulsar PIP-22:Dead Letter Topic".