Amazon Simple Queue Service
Developer Guide

Making Query API Requests

In this section you'll learn how to construct an Amazon SQS endpoint, make GET and POST requests and interpret responses.

Constructing an Endpoint

In order to work with Amazon SQS queues, you must construct an endpoint. For information about region-specific Amazon SQS endpoints, see the Amazon Web Services General Reference.

Every Amazon SQS endpoint is independent. For example, if two queues are named MyQueue and one has the endpoint while the other has the endpoint, the two queues don't share any data with each other.

The following is an example of an endpoint which makes a request to create a queue. ?Action=CreateQueue &DefaultVisibilityTimeout=40 &QueueName=MyQueue &Version=2012-11-05 &AUTHPARAMS


Queue names and queue URLs are case-sensitive.

The structure of AUTHPARAMS depends on the signature of the API request. For more information, see Signing AWS API Requests in the Amazon Web Services General Reference.

Making a GET Request

An Amazon SQS GET request is structured as a URL which consists of the following:

  • Endpoint – The resource that the request is acting on (the queue name and URL), for example:

  • Action – The action that you want to perform on the endpoint. A question mark (?) separates the endpoint from the action, for example: ?Action=SendMessage&MessageBody=Your%20Message%20Text

  • Parameters – Any request parameters—each parameter is separated by an ampersand (&), for example: &Version=2012-11-05&AUTHPARAMS

The following is an example of a GET request that sends a message to an Amazon SQS queue. ?Action=SendMessage&MessageBody=Your%20message%20text &Version=2012-11-05 &AUTHPARAMS


Queue names and queue URLs are case-sensitive.

Because GET requests are URLs, you must URL-encode all parameter values. Because spaces aren't allowed in URLs, each space is URL-encoded as %20. (The rest of the example isn't URL-encoded to make it easier to read.)

Making a POST Request

An Amazon SQS POST requests send query parameters as a form in the body of an HTTP request.

The following is an example of a HTTP header with Content-Type set to application/x-www-form-urlencoded.

POST /MyQueue HTTP/1.1 Host: Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

The header is followed by a form-urlencoded POST request that sends a message to an Amazon SQS queue. Each parameter is separated by an ampersand (&).

Action=SendMessage &MessageBody=Your+Message+Text &Expires=2020-10-15T12%3A00%3A00Z &Version=2012-11-05 &AUTHPARAMS


Only the Content-Type HTTP header is required. The AUTHPARAMS is the same as for the GET request.

Your HTTP client might add other items to the HTTP request, according to the client's HTTP version.

Authenticating Requests

Authentication is the process of identifying and verifying the party that sends a request. During the first stage of authentication, AWS verifies the identity of the producer and whether the producer is registered to use AWS (for more information, see Create an AWS Account and Create an IAM User). Next, AWS abides by the following procedure:

  1. The producer (sender) obtains the necessary credential.

  2. The producer sends a request and the credential to the consumer (receiver).

  3. The consumer uses the credential to verify whether the producer sent the request.

  4. One of the following happens:

    • If authentication succeeds, the consumer processes the request.

    • If authentication fails, the consumer rejects the request and returns an error.

Basic Authentication Process with HMAC-SHA

When you access Amazon SQS using the Query API, you must provide the following items to authenticate your request:

  • The AWS Access Key ID that identifies your AWS account, which AWS uses to look up your Secret Access Key.

  • The HMAC-SHA request signature, calculated using your Secret Access Key (a shared secret known only to you and AWS—for more information, see RFC2104). The AWS SDK handles the signing process; however, if you submit a query request over HTTP or HTTPS, you must include a signature in every query request.

    1. Derive a Signature Version 4 Signing Key. For more information, see Deriving the Signing Key with Java.


      Amazon SQS supports Signature Version 4, which provides improved SHA256-based security and performance over previous versions. When you create new applications that use Amazon SQS, use Signature Version 4.

    2. Base64-encode the request signature. The following sample Java code does this:

      package amazon.webservices.common; // Define common routines for encoding data in AWS requests. public class Encoding { /* Perform base64 encoding of input bytes. * rawData is the array of bytes to be encoded. * return is the base64-encoded string representation of rawData. */ public static String EncodeBase64(byte[] rawData) { return Base64.encodeBytes(rawData); } }
  • The timestamp (or expiration) of the request. The timestamp that you use in the request must be a dateTime object, with the complete date, including hours, minutes, and seconds. For example: 2007-01-31T23:59:59Z Although this isn't required, we recommend providing the object using the Coordinated Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time) time zone.


    Make sure that your server time is set correctly. If you specify a timestamp (rather than an expiration), the request automatically expires 15 minutes after the specified time (AWS doesn't process requests with timestamps more than 15 minutes earlier than the current time on AWS servers).

    If you use .NET, you must not send overly specific timestamps (because of different interpretations of how extra time precision should be dropped). In this case, you should manually construct dateTime objects with precision of no more than one millisecond.

Part 1: The Request from the User

The following is the process you must follow to authenticate AWS requests using an HMAC-SHA request signature.

  1. Construct a request to AWS.

  2. Calculate a keyed-hash message authentication code (HMAC-SHA) signature using your Secret Access Key.

  3. Include the signature and your Access Key ID in the request, and then send the request to AWS.

Part 2: The Response from AWS

AWS begins the following process in response.

  1. AWS uses the Access Key ID to look up your Secret Access Key.

  2. AWS generates a signature from the request data and the Secret Access Key, using the same algorithm that you used to calculate the signature you sent in the request.

  3. One of the following happens:

    • If the signature that AWS generates matches the one you send in the request, AWS considers the request to be authentic.

    • If the comparison fails, the request is discarded, and AWS returns an error.

Interpreting Responses

In response to an action request, Amazon SQS returns an XML data structure that contains the results of the request. For more information, see the individual actions in the Amazon Simple Queue Service API Reference.

Successful Response Structure

If the request is successful, the main response element is named after the action, with Response appended (ActionNameResponse).

This element contains the following child elements:

  • ActionNameResult – Contains an action-specific element. For example, the CreateQueueResult element contains the QueueUrl element which, in turn, contains the URL of the created queue.

  • ResponseMetadata – Contains the RequestId which, in turn, contains the UUID of the request.

The following is an example successful response in XML format:

<CreateQueueResponse xmlns= xmlns:xsi= xsi:type=CreateQueueResponse> <CreateQueueResult> <QueueUrl></QueueUrl> </CreateQueueResult> <ResponseMetadata> <RequestId>cb919c0a-9bce-4afe-9b48-9bdf2412bb67</RequestId> </ResponseMetadata> </CreateQueueResponse>

Error Response Structure

If a request is unsuccessful, Amazon SQS always returns the main response element ErrorResponse. This element contains an Error element and a RequestId element.

The Error element contains the following child elements:

  • Type – Specifies whether the error was a producer or consumer error.

  • Code – Specifies the type of error.

  • Message – Specifies the error condition in a readable format.

  • Detail – (Optional) Specifies additional details about the error.

The RequestId element contains the UUID of the request.

The following is an example error response in XML format:

<ErrorResponse> <Error> <Type>Sender</Type> <Code>InvalidParameterValue</Code> <Message> Value (quename_nonalpha) for parameter QueueName is invalid. Must be an alphanumeric String of 1 to 80 in length. </Message> </Error> <RequestId>42d59b56-7407-4c4a-be0f-4c88daeea257</RequestId> </ErrorResponse>