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MQTT Basics

MQTT is a publish/subscribe architecture that is developed primarily to connect bandwidth and power-constrained devices over wireless networks. It is a simple and lightweight protocol that runs over TCP/IP sockets or WebSockets. MQTT over WebSockets can be secured with SSL. The publish/subscribe architecture enables messages to be pushed to the client devices without the device needing to continuously poll the server.

The MQTT broker is the central point of communication, and it is in charge of dispatching all messages between the senders and the rightful receivers. A client is any device that connects to the broker and can publish or subscribe to topics to access the information. A topic contains the routing information for the broker. Each client that wants to send messages publishes them to a certain topic, and each client that wants to receive messages subscribes to a certain topic. The broker delivers all messages with the matching topic to the appropriate clients.

ThingSpeak™ has an MQTT broker at the URL and port 1883. The ThingSpeak broker supports both MQTT publish and MQTT subscribe as shown in the diagrams.

MQTT Publish

The figure describes the topic structure. The Write API Key is required to publish. The broker acknowledges a correct CONNECT request with CONNACK.

MQTT Subscribe

The figure describes the topic structure. To subscribe to a public or private channel, you must also supply a user name and your MQTT API key as password when you connect. The broker acknowledges a correct SUBSCRIBE request with SUBACK.


To use MQTT subscribe, supply any unique user name and the MQTT API Key as your password when you connect. MQTT publish does not require the API key. To see your MQTT API key, choose Account > My Profile.

Server Response for Connections

If the connection is successful, the ThingSpeak MQTT broker responds with a CONNACK, a connection acknowledgment. The MQTT broker responds to a successful subscription request with a SUBACK message and relays any new data posted to the subscribed channel or field to the client. To learn more about these messages, see MQTT v3.1.1 specification. You can then publish messages to topics using the form Publish to a Channel Feed, or Publish to a Channel Field Feed.

MQTT Client Configuration

ThingSpeak has an MQTT broker at the URL Configure your MQTT client to communicate with the ThingSpeak MQTT broker based on one of the following options:


Connection Type















If your hardware supports secure SSL socket connection mode, use that mode to communicate with the ThingSpeak MQTT broker whenever possible.

  • ThingSpeak implements MQTT publish and subscribe functionality with QoS 0. This "fire-and-forget" protocol means that your client does not get any acknowledgment when you publish to a ThingSpeak channel.

  • There is a one hour timeout on idle MQTT connections

See Also

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