MQTT Basics for Beginners Course

This course is for complete beginners wanting to understand the fundamentals of the MQTT protocol and how to use it in IOT Projects.

The course consists of a series of tutorials, videos and examples that take you through the basics of the MQTT protocol, and then the important features.

At the end of the course you should have a very good understanding of MQTT and the most important features.

Although many of  the tutorials include examples written in Python no programming will be required. However demo scripts are available to download for many of the examples.

MQTT Basics

How MQTT Works  – In this tutorial we look at the publish and subscribe model used by MQTT and its advantages over the client server model used by http

Understanding MQTT Topics and Topic Structure – MQTT clients don;t have address like you are familiar with in services like email but use topics to share messages.

MQTT Publishing,Subscribing and Message Exchange – Covers how messages are exchanged between MQTT clients.


MQTT Basics

A test of MQTT Basics

MQTT v3.1 Features

There are several important features that you need to be aware of and understand how to use, These tutorial go into these features in detail and include example usage:

Clean Sessions and Persistent Connections

When a client connects to a broker it can connect using either

  • a non persistent connection (clean session) or
  • a persistent connection..

With a non persistent connection the broker doesn’t store any subscription information or undelivered messages for the client.

This mode is ideal when the client only publishes messages.

It can also connect as a durable client using a persistent connection.

In this mode the broker/server will, depending on the QOS of the published messages and subscribing client, store messages for the client if it is disconnected.

The Understanding Persistent Connections- Python Examples tutorial demonstrates the various options using python and includes sample code.

Retained Messages

We mention retained messages earlier when we talked about publishing messages.

Normally if a publisher publishes a message to a topic, and no one is subscribed to that topic the message is simply discarded by the broker.

However the publisher can tell the broker to keep the last message on that topic by setting the retained message flag.

This can be very useful, as for example, if you have sensor publishing its status with long time intervals

The MQTT Retained Messages Explained tutorial covers this in detail with examples using Python.

Last Will and Testament

The last will and testament message is used to notify subscribers of an unexpected shut down of the publisher.

Each topic can have a last will and testament message stored on the broker.

The Last will and testament-

tutorial takes you through setting the last will and testament and triggering it.

Keep Alives

MQTT uses a TCP/IP connection which is normally left open by the client so that is can send and receive data at any time.

If no data flows over an open connection for a certain time period then the client will generate a PINGREQ and expect to receive a PINGRESP from the broker.

If this fails then the server considers the connection broken and closes it.  The MQTT keep alive tutorial covers this process with examples.

Authentication mechanisms

MQTT supports various authentications and data security mechanisms.

It is important to note that these security mechanisms are configured on the MQTT broker, and it is up to the client to comply with the mechanisms in place.

See An Introduction to MQTT Security Mechanisms


Websockets allows you to receive MQTT data directly into a web browser.

This is important as the web browser may become the DE-facto interface for displaying MQTT data.

MQTT websocket support for web browsers is provided by the Javascript MQTT Client.

The Using MQTT Over WebSockets tutorial cover this is detail and includes example scripts.


MQTT Basics -Retained Messages,Clean Sessions and Last Will

This quiz Tests your Knowledge of Retained messages,last will messages and clean sessions.

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