AWS SNS vs SQS: Which Message Service is Right for You?


Are you looking to integrate the AWS messaging system into your business operations? When it comes to messaging services, most decisions boil down to two services: AWS SNS vs SQS. They are two of the most scalable and robust Amazon Web Services (AWS) solutions.

These two services are crafted with distinct objectives and intended applications. AWS SNS is a publish–subscribe messaging service where people can send messages to multiple subscribers. On the other hand, AWS SQS is a message queue service that allows you to decouple components of your application so that they can communicate asynchronously.

In the AWS SNS vs SQS face-off, you probably need SNS to send notifications to multiple recipients. SQS is a good choice for storing messages for retrieval later. This guide will compare SNS and SQS. This should help you determine the best system between AWS SQS and SNS. Let us jump in and look at what each has to offer.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Amazon Web Services (AWS) Messaging System?
  2. Advantages of SQS and SNS
  3. Understanding Critical Differences in SNS vs. SQS
  4. AWS SNS vs SQS: Use Cases (Practical Examples)
  5. When to Use SNS?
  6. When to Use SQS?
  7. Conclusion
  8. FAQs

What is Amazon Web Services (AWS) Messaging System?

AWS Messaging System is a suite of managed message queuing and publish/subscribe services that enable decoupling and scalable operations. Decoupling means that two or more applications are connected or work together without being connected. This enables scalable and secure sending and receiving of messages in cloud applications. Typically, it’s hard not to compare AWS SNS vs SQS when looking at AWS messaging systems.

An Introduction to AWS SNS (Simple Notification Service)

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) is a fully managed service that allows message delivery from publishers/producers to subscribers/consumers. SNS can be used for application-to-application (A2A) and application-to-person (A2P) communication or send notifications.

Well, A2A is a type of communication used to decouple applications. It allows push-based and high-throughput messaging. On the other hand, A2P communication is often used to send notifications, such as appointment reminders or shipping updates.

SNS supports a variety of delivery methods, including:

  • SMS
  • Email
  • HTTP/S
  • Lambda functions.

Here are some SNS use cases:

  • Sending notifications: SNSs can notify users, devices, or applications. This alerts users of new events, sends order confirmations, or updates software.
  • Decoupling microservices: As stated easily, SNS can be used to decouple microservices. This improves application scalability and reliability.
  • Building event-driven applications: People can use SNS to construct and enhance application responsiveness.
  • Integrating with other AWS services: SNS integrates with other AWS services, including Amazon SQS, Amazon Lambda, and Amazon CloudWatch.

An Introduction to AWS SQS (Simple Queue Service)

SQS is a message queuing service that lets you receive, send, and store messages. It allows the decoupling and scaling of distributed systems. This means that messages are stored in a queue and processed by one or more consumers.

There are generally two types of queues:

  • Standard queues: Standard queues are the most common type in SQS. They are easy to use and offer a good balance of features and performance.
  • FIFO queues: FIFO queues guarantee that messages are processed in the order they were received. This makes them ideal for applications that need to process messages in a specific order, such as financial or healthcare applications.

Here are some of the ways that SQS is for communication between applications, microservices, and distributed systems:

  • Decoupling applications: Standard queues are the most common type in SQS. They are easy to use and offer a good balance of features and performance.
  • Building microservices architectures: SQS is used to build microservices architectures, improving your application’s agility and flexibility.
  • Processing events: SQS can process user activity or system events. This can improve the responsiveness and agility of your application.

Advantages of SQS and SNS

In the modern landscape of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers two powerful messaging services: AWS SNS vs SQS. These services provide robust solutions for various communication needs within distributed applications. These solutions include:


SQS and SNS expansion to meet escalating message volumes and effortlessly handle massive loads while maintaining peak performance. With this, they increase resilience against failures.


Both AWS SNS vs SQS showcase remarkable reliability attributes. That’s because these services inherently possess fault tolerance mechanisms and automatic retries. This allows them to tackle failed messages without human intervention.

For instance, SQS incorporates the Redrive Policy, which establishes the threshold of retries before diverting problematic messages. The messages are redirected to a dedicated Dead Letter Queue, guaranteeing operational continuity.


AWS SQS vs SNS adopt SSL/TLS for encrypted communication to ensure utmost security. This, coupled with intrinsic fault tolerance and automatic retries, creates a secure and highly available environment. While SNS accommodates multiple protocols, SQS excels in handling a custom protocol grounded in HTTP/HTTPS.


AWS SNS and SQS seamlessly integrate with other AWS services and third-party platforms. SNS boasts a versatile repertoire of protocols for integration, including HTTP, HTTPS, SMS, and email. This further enhances their adaptability.


SNS vs. SQS AWS excels in cost-effectiveness. The pay-as-you-go model ensures financial prudence without any upfront costs or minimum fees. Users are exclusively billed for request numbers and data transferred.

Extra Tip: While both services offer exceptional value, it’s important to note that additional charges might apply for Lambda function invocations or data transfers between regions.


AWS SNS vs SQS are easy to use due to their simple setup and low maintenance. You can handle a lot of messages without any hassle, as both services are built to handle large workloads without slowing down. This means you can focus on your tasks without worrying about complex setups or performance issues.

Understanding Critical Differences in SNS vs. SQS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers solutions tailored to specific use cases and requirements. This part explores the differences between SQS vs SNS AWS, showing what makes each special.


Delineating the latency disparities across AWS SNS vs SQS Kinesis Data Streams and EventBridge—unveils their distinct delivery speeds. In turn, these delivery speeds influence the overall message delivery latency. Usually, SNS operates with swift delivery for immediate notifications, while SQS accommodates a measured approach for ordered processing.


A fundamental divergence lies in the concept of subscribers within AWS SNS vs SQS. SNS introduces an efficient approach by enabling messages to be dispatched to many endpoints. This includes email addresses, mobile phone numbers, or AWS Lambda functions—all within a singular API invocation. On the other hand, SQS diverges, forgoing the notion of subscribers, as consumers draw messages directly from the queue. This contrast underscores SNS’s efficacy for real-time, large-scale notifications or message dissemination.


AWS messaging services encompass a variety of protocols, with a focal point on SNS and SQS. The versatility of SNS shines through its support for multiple protocols. In contrast, SQS adheres to a custom protocol anchored in HTTP/HTTPS.


SNS, characterized by its high-speed delivery, doesn’t guarantee message delivery orders. Conversely, SQS uses First-In-First-Out (FIFO) queues, a sanctuary for preserving order and a shield against duplicates. The inherent advantages of FIFO queues materialize in their diligent processing of messages in the precise dispatch sequence.


SNS pricing is quite simple because of the gratuity of a million monthly messages and free deliveries to Lambda and SQS. On the contrary, SQS pricing traverses the path of metered consumption. It considers charges for dispatching and delivering messages while accommodating potential supplementary expenses.

Note: You may also want to compare AWS MQ vs. SQS regarding price. AWS MQ lets users pay for the average monthly storage amount.

AWS SNS vs SQS: Use Cases (Practical Examples)

In AWS SNS vs SQS, we have several compelling use cases. Below, we highlight how these services cater to specific scenarios, from ensuring ordered command processing to decoupling microservices and triggering Lambda functions.

SQS: Processing commands in the correct order

SQS is a reliable choice for handling commands in a specific order. When preserving the command sequence is paramount, FIFO queues stand out because they steer clear of chaos and confusion.

SNS: Distributing messages to multiple subscribers

SNS is excellent at sending messages to many people at once. SNS orchestrates a grand fan-out spectacle and flawlessly synchronizes multiple recipients in a captivating simultaneous processing. Imagine a busy food ordering app where everyone gets the same happy message at once when their order is confirmed. That’s what SNS does.

SQS: Integrating applications using message-based communication

SQS makes it easy to integrate applications without having to couple them tightly. This improves the resilience and performance of your applications. SQS also allows different applications to communicate with each other without having to know about each other.

SNS: Fan-out messaging to other services

SNS is a messaging service that can send messages to multiple recipients. This can send notifications, trigger events, or decouple applications. This improves the application performance since SNS delivers the message to all subscribers.

SQS: Decoupling microservices

SQS takes the lead in disconnecting things, which creates a powerful balance of strength and growth. It also builds a flexible space where small services work together without the troubles of complicated middle parts.

SNS: Triggering Lambda functions

SNS and Lambda can work together to create a dynamic and scalable messaging system. SNS can send messages to Lambda functions, which can then process those messages. This can automate tasks, decouple applications, and scale your system to handle many messages.

When to Use SNS?

Below are some situations to use AWS SNS:

  • To send real-time notifications: SNS sends instantaneous communication to users, such as email, SMS, or push notifications. With this, it can notify users of new events.
  • To broadcast messages to multiple subscribers: SNS is well-suited for simultaneously broadcasting messages to multiple subscribers. This is useful in broadcasting news updates, weather alerts, or marketing promotions.
  • To facilitate workflow systems: Amazon Simple Notification Service facilitates workflow systems. This is done by using SNS to send messages between different steps in a workflow.
  • To enable real-time alerts and monitoring applications: SNS allows sending messages when certain conditions are met, such as when a server goes down.

When to Use SQS?

Below are some situations to use AWS SQS:

  • Decouple applications: SQS can decouple applications by separating the parts of an application that send and receive messages.
  • Store messages for later processing: SQS is helpful for applications that process messages in batches. It’s also useful for applications that store messages for historical purposes.
  • Integrate with other AWS services: SQS is integrated with AWS services, such as Amazon Lambda and Amazon Kinesis. This builds more complex applications that can process messages and take action based on their contents.


AWS SQS vs. SNS are two robust messaging services used to decouple and scale applications. While they come with many advantages, these messaging services have some limitations. For instance, SNS doesn’t guarantee message delivery, while SQS can be more expensive for certain use cases.

SNS is a pub/sub messaging service that can send messages to multiple subscribers. Due to this, it’s used to decouple and scale applications. It’s ideal for applications that send messages to multiple subscribers, such as notification systems and event-driven architectures. However, SNS doesn’t guarantee message delivery, so it may not be suitable for all A2P use cases.

AWS SQS is a message queuing service that stores messages for later processing. It’s great for applications that must buffer messages or process them asynchronously. Unlike SNS, SQS guarantees message delivery, which makes it an excellent choice for A2P use cases. As such, consider these factors when comparing AWS SNS vs SQS.

RedSwitches and AWS Messaging Services: The Ideal Partners

RedSwitches offers a variety of bare-metal and dedicated servers ideal for use with AWS messaging services. Our highly reliable and scalable servers offer many features that improve application performance and security.

  • Bare-metal servers are physical servers that are not virtualized. This means you have complete control over the server’s hardware and software. With this, users get more flexibility and performance since they can choose their physical machines.
  • Dedicated servers are virtual servers that are isolated from other virtual servers. They are remote servers dedicated to one application, organization, or individual.

Both bare metal and dedicated servers from RedSwitches can be easily integrated with AWS messaging services. This makes building scalable and reliable applications that can handle many messages easily.


Q1. What is the difference between AWS SNS and SQS?

SNS is a publish–subscribe messaging service, while SQS is a message queuing service. SNS is ideal for decoupling and scaling applications, while SQS is ideal for storing messages for later processing.

Q2. Do I need to use SNS with SQS?

No, you don’t need to use SNS with SQS. However, using the two can create a more robust messaging solution.

Q3. What is the difference between SNS and message queues?

Message queues are a messaging service, but SNS is a pub/sub messaging service.

Q4. What is AWS SNS used for?

AWS SNS is used for the following:

  • Sending notifications
  • Triggering events
  • Decoupling applications
  • Scaling applications
  • Integrating with other AWS services

Q5. Why are SNS and SQS used together?

SNS and SQS can be used together to create a more powerful messaging solution. For example, you can use SNS to send messages to SQS queues, which applications can process.