MQTT vs. REST in IoT [Which one to choose?] (2023)

IoT allows you to automate processes and make things more efficient in any context. However, none of this would be possible if you couldn't communicate with the devices. To do this, a form of language must be created that creates a mutual understanding between the client and the device. This is where MQTT and REST come into play.

MQTT vs. REST is an ongoing debate in the IoT community. Both allow communication between devices in your IoT project. However, which is better?

On the one hand, MQTT is praised for ensuring message reliability, being extremely lightweight, and saving battery life. Whereas REST, used with HTTP or COAP to implement RESTful IoT services, is easy to use, extensible, and language independent.

Both have clear advantages. However, where do they fall? And finally, which one should you choose for your IoT project? Let's get into it.

MQTT and REST API: What is the difference?

MQTT is a network messaging protocol originally developed by IBM for IoT projects.

It allows device-to-device communication over TCP/IP and has a publish-subscribe model that favors projects that have devices with low computing power and limited batteries.

MQTT requires an "MQTT broker" for the publish and subscribe method. A broker is software that runs on a computer and acts as a kind of post office that devices can send their data to and receive data to which they are "subscribed".

If you want to know more about MQTT, check out our blog «What is MQTT in IoT and should I use it?''

Unlike MQTT, REST is not actually a messaging protocol. It is an architectural style for developing web services. REST stands for Representational State Transfer and since it is an architectural style, it can be used with multiple protocols such as HTTP or CoAP.

You often see MQTT praised for its simplicity, but this can also be a drawback. While MQTT mostly sends and receives very simple forms of data, the REST API can work with things like files, objects, and media. Also, you can use the POST, DELETE, PUT, and GET methods to use them.

(Video) MQTT vs. HTTP for IoT

You can know more about REST by reading usthe complete guide to REST APIs in IoT.

MQTT: When to use it?

Now that you know the language, let's look at the scenarios in which you can use one of these IoT solutions. First of all, MQTT.

Scenario 1: Use small or low power devices

The IoT industry is growing, and with that growth comes a wide variety of small, inexpensive products that can send and receive data with very little processing power. MQTT is ideal in environments where such types of objects exist.

Because; Because the MQTT protocol header is only 2 bytes long, and because MQTT requires only a few lines of code to implement. Therefore, the protocol maximizes the amount of power the battery can use by not sending or receiving large amounts of data unnecessarily. This reduces how often you have to change batteries.

Scenario 2: You are in a remote location with limited connectivity

Another benefit of MQTT being lightweight is that since MQTT messages are small, devices can communicate with each other even with a poor Internet connection.

This can be useful for IoT projects located in outdoor environments prone to aspects, such as rain, or in places with generally unstable connections. This shouldn't be surprising. MQTT was developed specifically for the oil and gas industry, so it is designed to work in the wilderness.

So if you want reliable message delivery no matter where you are, MQTT might be a good protocol choice.

Scenario 3: You must ensure delivery of the message

If your IoT project requires message delivery confirmation, MQTT might be the best solution. Let's imagine an automated farm as an example. Here, the facility in charge of irrigating the crop cannot do so until the facility in charge of monitoring the soil notifies it that it is time. Otherwise, you would suffocate the product.

MQTT has three marks called QOS (Quality of Service) that are classified as follows:

  • QoS 0: single delivery as maximum
  • QoS 1: At least one delivery
  • QoS 2: deliver exactly once

You can apply these flags to any message you think might need it. As a result, you can ensure that important messages are received.

(Video) MQTT vs. WebSockets for IoT

REST: When to use it?

What about REST? When can you use the most widely used API format? Let's look.

Scenario 1: Can be used to integrate with COAP

CoAP is an Internet protocol for limited devices that allows them to communicate with each other over the Internet.

If you have small devices in your IoT project and HTTP+TLS/SSL may be too large a protocol for them, you can use REST to integrate CoAP and continue to use RESTful programming with small devices.

You can learn more about CoAP by reading our blog,Websocket vs MQTT vs CoAP: Which is the best protocol?

Scenario 2: You need data flexibility

Using REST with HTTP or CoAP can allow you to work with things like files, objects, and media on a specific IoT device.

This means that working with REST can allow you to communicate between devices with multiple types of data, rather than being limited to simple short messages like MQTT. If you think your IoT project has more complex devices and you need to work with larger data types, REST is your best option.

Scenario 3: You are already familiar with the REST API

If you've ever worked in web development and have experience with RESTful services, implementing REST in an IoT project should be extremely easy to learn. Time is precious in everyone's life and if you can use prior knowledge to apply it in a new context, why not?

Using REST in your IoT project will allow you to make it work in a more standard and understandable way, and will also allow you to use POST, GET, PUT, and DELETE methods with a database system like SQL via CRUD.

This would also be beneficial because knowing the architecture can allow you to make fewer errors, find the cause of errors faster, and develop solutions more efficiently.

MQTT vs. REST: How do they compare in the areas most important to IoT developers?

Now that we've looked at the times when you might use MQTT or REST, we'll see how they stack up in the key areas that matter most to IoT developers.

(Video) HTTP, WS & MQTT for IoT

That includes:

  • delay and response
  • one to many communication
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • simplicity developer

Latency and responsiveness

Regardless of the scope of your IoT project,low latencyand responsiveness must be a high priority.

Even if you have a relatively small project, you should try to be reliable and not waste your (or other people's) time. MQTT can suffer from high latency for the same reason that it is good for low bandwidth: it is designed for small devices with little processing power.

This means that something like opening a locked door can take seconds, if not minutes, or checking a security camera can be unreliable because instructions on where to go can be delayed by a few seconds.

On the other hand, REST does not suffer from high latency due to its client-server model. The delay may not be a problem for some projects, but it could be a major problem in the industrial or healthcare industries. In general, REST is the best option for IoT projects where latency and responsiveness are a priority.

Winner: REST

one to many communication

MQTT offers a publish and subscribe system that greatly facilitates simultaneous communication between devices. The MQTT Broker can force multiple devices to receive data as soon as another device changes state or decides to send data to the Broker.

This makes MQTT ideal for projects where one-to-many communication is required. With a publish and subscribe system, you can change the temperature of each room in the house individually when the outside temperature changes, or you can turn on each light bulb when the outside light decreases.

So, if your IoT project has many devices that need to communicate with each other continuously, automatically, and simultaneously, MQTT can help you achieve this in a simple way.

Winner: MQTT

(Video) What is MQTT Protocol ? How it works ? | 2022

security and privacy

Neither HTTP nor MQTT have built-in security.

For HTTP this can be solved by adding TLS/SSL. However, if that's too much for your device, Nabto Edge has CoAP+DTLS built in. This gives REST a clear advantage.overcoming IoT security challenges.

In terms of privacy, MQTT also lags behind. It does not offer end-to-end encryption. This leaves user data vulnerable in transit through the cloud. However, with Nabto Edge, all data is end-to-end encrypted and never needs to leave the device. As a result, the end user retains control and privacy of the data. REST is the clear winner.

Winner: REST

simplicity developer

The result in this category should not be surprising. As mentioned above, REST is the familiar architecture for most back-end services running the World Wide Web. As a result, it is very easy for developers to collect and share with each other.

On the other hand, MQTT requires developers to jump through multiple hoops. Requires:

  • Central Service Configuration
  • The seller must decide
  • Regular management and maintenance
  • And general malaise.

While some developers are frustrated by REST's limited architecture, it's still the most popular API for one reason: simplicity.

Winner: REST

MQTT versus REST: Presuda

We have declared REST the winner: REST-based solutions are easier for developers to use, have lower latency, and better IoT privacy and security. Also, with Nabto Edge you can make REST an even better API for your IoT device.

Contact us todayto learn more about Nabto Edge and our various IoT solutions.

(Video) MQTT vs. CoAP | Comparison of IoT Protocols

Read our other resources

We have published a number of IoT resources for our community, including:

  • Comparison of IoT protocols, which provides a comprehensive comparison of the major protocols and standards available.
  • Buy and build an IoT platform, which discusses how to choose the best option for you.
  • our guide toHow to develop IoT applicationsand what platforms you can use.


MQTT vs. REST in IoT [Which one to choose?]? ›

REST: The Verdict. We declared REST the winner: REST based solutions are friendlier to developers, have lower latency, and have better IoT privacy and security.

What is the difference between REST API and MQTT for IoT? ›

REST is a representational state transfer architectural style designed as a request/response model that communicates over HTTP. MQTT is a publish/subscribe model that runs over TCP/IP sockets or WebSockets. MQTT over WebSockets can be secured with SSL.

Is MQTT best for IoT? ›

MQTT is hands down the best messaging technology to deploy for your IoT network. It is low cost, fast, lightweight, and scalable. It has its security issues, but a tie-up with a reliable cellular partner can ensure your IoT network uses MQTT securely and without any hassle.

Why is MQTT most preferred protocol in IoT? ›

Smart sensors, wearables, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices typically have to transmit and receive data over a resource-constrained network with limited bandwidth. These IoT devices use MQTT for data transmission, as it is easy to implement and can communicate IoT data efficiently.

Is MQTT faster than REST? ›

As per the analysis and test reports, MQTT data transfer can transfer data at a rate 20 to 25 times faster than REST Calls. The number of message transaction highly depends on the number of connections the server can accept in the stipulated time.

When should I use MQTT? ›

MQTT is used for communication between many consumer IoT devices. This could include everything from smart home devices like thermostats, appliances, or security systems as well as wearable devices like smart watches, fitness trackers, health monitoring tools, or your smartphone.

Is REST API used in IoT? ›

The IoT Central REST API enables you to develop clients that integrate with your application. Use the REST API to build applications and experiences using the power of IoT Central for device provisioning, management, and operations. The IoT Central REST API can be used with IoT Central V3 applications.

What are the disadvantages of MQTT? ›

Another disadvantage of MQTT is that it has limited features and standardization. The protocol is designed to be simple and lightweight, which means that it does not support some advanced features that may be useful for some IoT applications, such as message acknowledgement, message ordering, or message expiration.

Which protocol is more suitable for IoT application? ›

Wi-Fi. Given its pervasiveness in home, commercial and industrial buildings, Wi-Fi is a frequently used IoT protocol. It offers fast data transfer and is capable of processing large amounts of data.

Which is the most preferred language for IoT? ›

Here are some of the top choices that are being used to build the foundations of the next generation of things connected to the Internet.
  • Java. ...
  • C. ...
  • Python. ...
  • JavaScript. ...
  • Swift. ...
  • PHP.

What are the 4 important aspects of MQTT protocol? ›

Authentication, QoS, access control, last will message, retain the message, duplicate message, and session are the seven important characteristics of the MQTT protocol.

What are the 3 methods used in MQTT protocol? ›

The three main types of MQTT messages are CONNECT, PUBLISH and SUBSCRIBE.

What is the alternative to MQTT in IoT? ›

RabbitMQ, REST, XMPP, Google Cloud Messaging, and Kafka are the most popular alternatives and competitors to MQTT.

What are advantages and disadvantages in MQTT? ›

Pros of the MQTT Protocol in IoT
  • Ensures message delivery. Some IoT devices are moveable objects and some are battery-powered devices. ...
  • Lightweight. ...
  • Battery Friendly. ...
  • MQTT Can't Support Video Streaming. ...
  • Not 'Developer Friendly' ...
  • Issues with Latency. ...
  • Security Not Built In. ...
  • Super low-power devices may lack resources to run MQTT.
Jan 4, 2021

What is the maximum data size in MQTT? ›

The maximum packet size is 256MB. Small packets less than 127 bytes have a 1 byte packet length field. Packets larger than 127 and less than 16383 will use 2 bytes.

How to use MQTT with REST API? ›

How to Access MQTT Data with a REST API
  1. Download and Install the Open Automation Software and Start the OAS Service. ...
  2. Configure Your MQTT Data Source. ...
  3. Configure Your Tags.
  4. OAS provides multiple ways to add and define tags: ...
  5. Access Data with the OAS REST API. ...
  6. Getting Started. ...
  7. Setting up the Page. ...
  8. Authenticate.

Why is MQTT popular? ›

MQTT was developed by Andy Stanford-Clark and Arlen Nipper, who were working at IBM's Cambridge software lab. The protocol has become very popular with the Internet of Things because it provides a publish and subscribe model, making it easy to create connectivity between various devices or sensors.

Why is MQTT efficient? ›

The main reason why is MQTT's open-source design and lightweight stature make it well suited to connect disparate devices to supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems as well as other industrial networks.

What are the disadvantages of REST web services? ›

Disadvantages of REST
  • Constraints. REST APIs are generally constrained by six architectural restrictions, including a unified interface, client-server nature, stateless operations, layered system design, and so on. ...
  • Lacks Security. ...
  • Learning Curve. ...
  • Limited Transfer Protocol Support.
Apr 21, 2022

Why is the REST API better for the internet of things? ›

Language-independent. Developers can use any language that uses HTTP to make web-based requests. This is another reason why REST APIs are so popular with developers. They give you the power to program using a language you're comfortable and familiar with to develop your IoT app.

When should REST API be used? ›

REST APIs work only when the data from one of the requests is successfully delivered. They allow you to migrate from one server to another and update the database at any moment.

What is the vulnerability of MQTT? ›

A Vulnerable MQTT Environment

“Thus, accessing the MQTT will allow a malicious actor to exfiltrate sensitive data, and abuse other vulnerabilities…to execute remote commands.” The MQTT protocol consists of a client that sends and receives messages, and a broker that routes messages to the appropriate clients.

Does MQTT run over HTTP? ›

They both run over TCP connections, and are both client-server in architecture, but MQTT allows messages to pass in both directions between clients and servers whereas HTTP servers only respond to requests from clients.

Is MQTT a server or broker? ›

An MQTT broker is a server that receives all messages from the clients and then routes the messages to the appropriate destination clients. An MQTT client is any device (from a micro controller up to a fully-fledged server) that runs an MQTT library and connects to an MQTT broker over a network.

Which protocol is not suitable in IoT? ›

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

As mentioned, the HTTP protocol is not preferred as an IoT standard because of its cost, battery life, huge power consumption, and weight issues.

How many layers are there in IoT? ›

The 4 Layers of IoT Architecture Working Together

Data Storage and Processing Layer: The cloud stores and processes the incoming data to generate alerts in real time and, when possible, reduce the total amount of data stored.

Which protocol is mostly used in network? ›

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

Through this process, the TCP/IP suite controls communication across the internet.

Which language is better for neural network? ›

Python. Python is the ideal coding language used for machine learning, NLP, and neural network connections. Python can be used even if you are new to AI development since it is flexible and comes with pre-existing libraries like Pandas, SciPy, and nltk. Python language is lauded for its simple syntax and minimal codes.

What are the top 3 languages on the Internet? ›

Languages most frequently used for web content as of January 2023, by share of websites
CharacteristicPercentage of websites
9 more rows
Feb 24, 2023

Which protocol is used to link all the devices in the IoT? ›

1. Which protocol is used to link all the devices in the IoT? Explanation: The internet of Thing is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet Protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link billions of devices worldwide.

How many connections can MQTT handle? ›

1,000 clients can easily be handled by any decent MQTT broker; there's a benchmark from Scalagent which shows that a PC with: a 3 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

How many layers are there in MQTT? ›

7Application LayerMQTT Protocol
4Transport LayerTCP (RFC 793)
3Network LayerIP (RFC 791)
2Link LayerIP (RFC 894)
1Physical LayerEthernet (IEEE 802.3)
2 more rows

Which network is MQTT designed for? ›

MQTT is an OASIS standard messaging protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport that is ideal for connecting remote devices with a small code footprint and minimal network bandwidth.

Is MQTT a two way communication? ›

MQTT is a publish and subscribe protocol with no direct connection between clients. However many applications require a client to client type connection.

Which applications use MQTT? ›

The following applications use message queuing telemetry transport (MQTT) to function:
  • Remote sensing. ...
  • Smart cities. ...
  • Social media platforms. ...
  • Home automation. ...
  • Smart farming. ...
  • Wearables. ...
  • Manufacturing. ...
  • Oil and gas industry.
Jul 11, 2022

Which port number is used by MQTT? ›

Port security
Connection typeProtocolPort number
Nonsecure*MQTT and HTTP1883 or 80
Secure (TLS)MQTT and HTTPS8883 or 443

Which IoT platform works on MQTT protocol? ›

HiveMQ is an open IoT standards based broker. As a result, it provides access to a wide range of MQTT clients. It is built for fast, efficient and reliable transfer of data to and from connected devices and servers. The MQTT protocol provides a simple method of performing messaging using the publish/subscribe model.

Can MQTT store data? ›

Enabling MQTT persistence will allow users to ensure that no data is lost during any instances. Provides reliable storage and delivery of MQTT messages.

How fast is MQTT? ›

The real advantage of MQTT over HTTP occurs when we reuse the single connection for sending multiple messages in which the average response per message converges to around 40 ms and the data amount per message converges to around 400 bytes.

Can MQTT broker store data? ›

Data is stored to disk during communication failure to MQTT broker. This feature will automatically retain data in order it is received during a network failure to the MQTT broker, data is buffered until the network can be restored when all data is then published in the order it was received.

How to send data through REST API? ›

To send data to the REST API server, you must make an HTTP POST request and include the POST data in the request's body. You also need to provide the Content-Type: application/json and Content-Length request headers. Below is an example of a REST API POST request to a ReqBin API endpoint.

How to automate using REST API? ›

We'll cover how to:
  1. Send API commands to the server and validate responses.
  2. Use values from responses as parameters in test steps.
  3. Combine REST API and recorded UI steps within the same automated test to achieve end-to-end testing.
  4. Analyze reports.
Mar 17, 2020

How to store data from MQTT? ›

How to Log MQTT Data to a Database
  1. Download and Install the Open Automation Software and Start the OAS Service. If you have not already done so, you will need to download and install the OAS platform. ...
  2. Configure Your MQTT Data Source. ...
  3. Configure Your Tags.
  4. Configure Data Logging.

What is the difference between REST and RESTful in IoT? ›

Put simply, there are no differences between REST and RESTful as far as APIs are concerned. REST is the set of constraints. RESTful refers to an API adhering to those constraints. It can be used in web services, applications, and software.

Is MQTT an API? ›

MQTT is a machine-to-machine (M2M)/“Internet of Things” connectivity protocol. It was designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport.

What is the difference between API and IoT? ›

IoT devices offer many benefits as they are connected to the internet. This means they collect data and can communicate with other computers and applications. APIs, or applications programming interfaces, are what make it possible to communicate with a connected device, based on a set of rules.

Why is the REST API better for the Internet of things? ›

Language-independent. Developers can use any language that uses HTTP to make web-based requests. This is another reason why REST APIs are so popular with developers. They give you the power to program using a language you're comfortable and familiar with to develop your IoT app.

What is the major difference between API and REST API? ›

A web API lets you interact with a web server through HTTP requests, while a REST API lets you interact with any kind of server over HTTP. REST APIs are web services that use HTTP and provide an interface for clients to interact with the service.

What is the difference between REST API and RESTful API with example? ›

REST API uses web services and is based on request and response, whereas RESTful API works completely based on REST application and infrastructure. REST apps have strong protocols and pre-configured architecture layers as security measures, whereas RESTful apps have multi-layered transport protocols.

Is MQTT still being used? ›

Although MQTT started as a proprietary protocol used to communicate with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in the oil and gas industry, it has become popular in the smart device arena and today is the leading open source protocol for connecting internet of things (IoT) and industrial IoT (IIoT) ...

Is MQTT a gateway? ›

MQTT Gateway acts as an intermediate agent between the sensors and the MQTT Broker/Server providing a data logging solution. It has built-in functionality to detect all available sensors on the network running around the gateway.

Why MQTT is used over HTTP? ›

The MQTT protocol can keep a connection open for as long as possible, sending only a single data packet. Unlike HTTP communication, which requires you to open and close a connection (including TCP) for every data packet you want to send, you can significantly reduce CPU usage.

What is difference between MQTT and HTTP? ›

They both run over TCP connections, and are both client-server in architecture, but MQTT allows messages to pass in both directions between clients and servers whereas HTTP servers only respond to requests from clients.

What protocol is used by REST APIs? ›

When a request for data is sent to a REST API, it's usually done through hypertext transfer protocol (commonly referred to as HTTP).

Which API is used in IoT devices? ›

API Application In IoT. Application Programming Interface (API) is an interfacing software platform that allows the exchange of any information or data and supports the interaction among different applications or any such intermediaries.

What are the two popular communication APIs used in IoT? ›

Communication APIs can use different technologies, including: REST (Representational State Transfer) SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) gRPC (google Remote Procedure Call)

Why do we need APIs in IoT? ›

The APIs are also essential in IoT security. With the increasing number of connected devices, security is a significant concern. APIs enable devices to communicate securely with each other and with other software applications. This ensures that data is protected, and devices aren't vulnerable to cyber-attacks.


1. Internet Of Things | Tutorial #5 | IoT Protocols - MQTT
2. Send Data to Azure IoT with MQTT via Python
(Martin Lalanne)
3. How to Get Started with MQTT
(Opto Video)
4. Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) in IoT | MQTT Protocol in iot | Lec-25
(Er Sahil ka Gyan)
5. Difference between COAP and MQTT / comparison between MQTT and COAP / MQTT VS COAP/ what is COAP
(Is It Actually)
6. Creating IIoT Data Pipeline Using MQTT and Kafka: A Step-by-Step Guide


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