How To Backup and Restore RabbitMQ Data & Configurations

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We recently covered the installation of RabbitMQ on CentOS 7, CentOS 6, Fedora and Ubuntu. You can find the links for the guides below:

In this post, I’ll like us to look at how to perform a backup for RabbitMQ configurations and data. This will also include information on restoring a RabbitMQ backup into a new deployment.

Get Cluster Status

$ rabbitmqctl cluster_status
Cluster status of node [email protected] ...
[nodes,[disc,['[email protected]']],
running_nodes,['[email protected]'],
cluster_name,<<"[email protected]">>,
alarms,['[email protected]',[]]]

How to Backup RabbitMQ Configurations

Please note this backup doesn’t include Messages since they are stored in a separate message store. It will only backup RabbitMQ users, vhosts, queues, exchanges, and bindings. The backup file is a JSON representation of RabbitMQ metadata. We will do a backup using rabbitmqadmincommand line tool.

The management plugin ships with a command line tool rabbitmqadmin. You need to enable the management plugin:

rabbitmq-plugins enable rabbitmq_management

This plugin is used to perform some of the same actions as the Web-based UI, and which may be more convenient for automation tasks.

Download rabbitmqadmin

Once you enable the management plugin, download rabbitmqadmin  Python command line tool that interacts with the HTTP API. It can be downloaded from any RabbitMQ node that has the management plugin enabled at


Once downloaded, make the file executable and move it to /usr/local/bin directory:

chmod +x rabbitmqadmin
sudo mv rabbitmqadmin /usr/local/bin

To backup RabbitMQ configurations, use the command:

rabbitmqadmin export 


rabbitmqadmin export rabbitmq-backup-config.json
Exported definitions for localhost to "rabbitmq-backup-config.json"

The export will be written to filerabbitmq-backup-config.json.

How to Restore RabbitMQ Configurations backup

If you ever want to restore your RabbitMQ configurations from a backup, use the command:

rabbitmqadmin import 


$ rabbitmqadmin import rabbitmq-backup.json 
Imported definitions for localhost from "rabbitmq-backup.json"

How to Backup RabbitMQ Data

RabbitMQ Definitions and Messages are stored in an internal database located in the node’s data directory. To get the directory path, run the following command against a running RabbitMQ node:

rabbitmqctl eval 'rabbit_mnesia:dir().'

Sample output:

"/var/lib/rabbitmq/mnesia/[email protected]"

This directory contains many files:

# ls /var/lib/rabbitmq/mnesia/[email protected]
cluster_nodes.config  nodes_running_at_shutdown    rabbit_durable_route.DCD       rabbit_user.DCD             schema.DAT
DECISION_TAB.LOG      rabbit_durable_exchange.DCD  rabbit_runtime_parameters.DCD  rabbit_user_permission.DCD  schema_version
LATEST.LOG            rabbit_durable_exchange.DCL  rabbit_serial                  rabbit_vhost.DCD
msg_stores            rabbit_durable_queue.DCD     rabbit_topic_permission.DCD    rabbit_vhost.DCL

In RabbitMQ versions starting with 3.7.0 all messages data is combined in the msg_stores/vhosts directory and stored in a subdirectory per vhost. Each vhost directory is named with a hash and contains a .vhost file with the vhost name, so a specific vhost’s message set can be backed up separately.

To do RabbitMQ definitions and messages data backup, copy or archive this directory and its contents. But first, you need to stop RabbitMQ service

sudo systemctl stop rabbitmq-server.service

The example below will create an archive:

tar cvf rabbitmq-backup.tgz /var/lib/rabbitmq/mnesia/[email protected]

How to Restore RabbitMQ Data

To restore from Backup, extract the files from backup to the data directory.

Internal node database stores node’s name in certain records. Should node name change, the database must first be updated to reflect the change using the following rabbitmqctl command:

rabbitmqctl rename_cluster_node  

When a new node starts with a backed up directory and a matching node name, it should perform the upgrade steps as needed and proceed to boot.


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A systems engineer with excellent skills in systems administration, cloud computing, systems deployment, virtualization, containers, and a certified ethical hacker.