MQTT bridges are a powerful feature of Mosquitto that allows communication between different MQTT brokers. MQTT bridges are commonly used in large-scale IoT (Internet of Things) deployments where multiple MQTT brokers are used to manage different devices or networks. They can also be used to connect MQTT networks across different geographical locations, enabling real-time data exchange and synchronization. Bridging is further useful if it is desirable to share information between locations, but where not all the information needs to be shared. An example could be where a number of users are running a broker to help record power usage and for a number of other reasons. The power usage could be shared through bridging all of the user brokers to a common broker, allowing the power usage of all users to be collected and compared. The other information would remain local to each broker.
Mosquitto MQTT bridges work by creating a connection between two Mosquitto brokers, allowing messages to be exchanged between them. A Mosquitto broker is able to connect two MQTT broker via certain configuration settings in the
mosquitto.conf file. Only one broker needs to be configured in order to successfully create a bridge.
Basic Bridge Configuration
The basic configuration serves as a quick introduction to MQTT bridging. Below you can find full list of possible configuration parameter.
topic < topicname/wildcardpossible > < direction > < QoS > <'local prefix'/'remote prefix'>
connection: This variable marks the start of a new bridge connection. It is also used to give the bridge a name which is used as the client id on the remote broker.
adress: Add one or more ip? adresses to define where the bridge should connect to. The
round_robin setting decides on how the broker treats subsequent adresses.
topic: [direction | QoS | local prefix'/'remote prefix] A topic string to either publish and/or subscribe to, depending on the set < direction >.
direction: [ in | out | both ] The direction sets, if the given topic is being subscribed or published to. If set to both, the same topic.
QoS: Referes to the quality of service. Can be set to
'local prefix'/'remote prefix': The local-prefix and remote-prefix options allow topics to be remapped when publishing to and receiving from remote brokers. This allows a topic tree from the local broker to be inserted into the topic tree of the remote broker at an appropriate place.
topic # out 0
topic clients/total in 0 test/mosquitto/org/ $SYS/broker/
The example configuration connects a bridge to the broker at test.mosquitto.org. It subscribes to the remote topic $SYS/broker/clients/total and republishes the messages received to the local topic test/mosquitto/org/clients/total
In the following all possible configurations for MQTT bridges are shown. Apply them to the config file and restart the broker. Configurations are listed in alphabetical order, with some exceptions providing more clarity.
This variable marks the start of a new bridge connection. It is also used to give the bridge a name which is used as the client id on the remote broker.
bridge_attempt_unsubscribe [ true | false ]
If a bridge has topics that have "out" direction, the default behaviour is to send an unsubscribe request to the remote broker on that topic. This means that changing a topic direction from "in" to "out" will not keep receiving incoming messages. Sending these unsubscribe requests is not always desirable, setting bridge_attempt_unsubscribe to false will disable sending the unsubscribe request. Defaults to true.
bridge_bind_address ip address
If you need to have the bridge connect over a particular network interface, use bridge_bind_address to tell the bridge which local IP address the socket should bind to, e.g. bridge_bind_address 192.168.1.10.
If you wish to restrict the size of messages sent to a remote bridge, use this option. This sets the maximum number of bytes for the total message, including headers and payload. Note that MQTT v5 brokers may provide their own maximum-packet-size property. In this case, the smaller of the two limits will be used. Set to 0 for "unlimited".
bridge_outgoing_retain [ true | false ]
Some MQTT brokers do not allow retained messages. MQTT v5 gives a mechanism for brokers to tell clients that they do not support retained messages, but this is not possible for MQTT v3.1.1 or v3.1. If you need to bridge to a v3.1.1 or v3.1 broker that does not support retained messages, set the bridge_outgoing_retain option to false. This will remove the retain bit on all outgoing messages to that bridge, regardless of any other setting. Defaults to true.
Set the version of the MQTT protocol to use with for this bridge. Can be one of mqttv50, mqttv311 or mqttv31. Defaults to mqttv311.
cleansession [ true | false ]
Set the clean session option for this bridge. Setting to false (the default), means that all subscriptions on the remote broker are kept in case of the network connection dropping. If set to true, all subscriptions and messages on the remote broker will be cleaned up if the connection drops. Note that setting to true may cause a large amount of retained messages to be sent each time the bridge reconnects.
If you are using bridges with cleansession set to false (the default), then you may get unexpected behaviour from incoming topics if you change what topics you are subscribing to. This is because the remote broker keeps the subscription for the old topic. If you have this problem, connect your bridge with cleansession set to true, then reconnect with cleansession set to false as normal.
local_cleansession [ true | false]
The regular cleansession covers both the local subscriptions and the remote subscriptions. local_cleansession allows splitting this. Setting false will mean that the local connection will preserve subscription, independent of the remote connection.
Defaults to the value of bridge.cleansession unless explicitly specified.
Set the number of seconds after which the bridge should send a ping if no other traffic has occurred. Defaults to 60. A minimum value of 5 seconds is allowed.
Set the amount of time a bridge using the lazy start type must be idle before it will be stopped. Defaults to 60 seconds.
Set the clientid to use on the local broker. If not defined, this defaults to local. < remote_clientid>. If you are bridging a broker to itself, it is important that local_clientid and remote_clientid do not match.
Configure the password to be used when connecting this bridge to the local broker. This may be important when authentication and ACLs are being used.
Configure the username to be used when connecting this bridge to the local broker. This may be important when authentication and ACLs are being used.
notifications [ true | false ]
If set to true, publish notification messages to the local and remote brokers giving information about the state of the bridge connection. Retained messages are published to the topic $SYS/broker/connection/< remote_clientid>/state unless otherwise set with notification_topics. If the message is 1 then the connection is active, or 0 if the connection has failed. Defaults to true.
This uses the Last Will and Testament (LWT) feature.
notifications_local_only [ true | false ]
If set to true, only publish notification messages to the local broker giving information about the state of the bridge connection. Defaults to false.
Choose the topic on which notifications will be published for this bridge. If not set the messages will be sent on the topic $SYS/broker/connection/< remote_clientid>/state.
Set the client id for this bridge connection. If not defined, this defaults to 'name.hostname', where name is the connection name and hostname is the hostname of this computer.
This replaces the old "clientid" option to avoid confusion with local/remote sides of the bridge. "clientid" remains valid for the time being.
Configure a password for the bridge. This is used for authentication purposes when connecting to a broker that supports MQTT v3.1 and up and requires a username and/or password to connect. This option is only valid if a remote_username is also supplied.
This replaces the old "password" option to avoid confusion with local/remote sides of the bridge. "password" remains valid for the time being.
Configure a username for the bridge. This is used for authentication purposes when connecting to a broker that supports MQTT v3.1 and up and requires a username and/or password to connect. See also the remote_password option.
This replaces the old "username" option to avoid confusion with local/remote sides of the bridge. "username" remains valid for the time being.
restart_timeout base cap,
Set the amount of time a bridge using the automatic start type will wait until attempting to reconnect.
This option can be configured to use a constant delay time in seconds, or to use a backoff mechanism based on "Decorrelated Jitter", which adds a degree of randomness to when the restart occurs, starting at the base and increasing up to the cap. Set a constant timeout of 20 seconds:
Set backoff with a base (start value) of 10 seconds and a cap (upper limit) of 60 seconds:
restart_timeout 10 30
Defaults to jitter with a base of 5 seconds and cap of 30 seconds.
round_robin [ true | false ]
If the bridge has more than one address given in the address/addresses configuration, the round_robin option defines the behaviour of the bridge on a failure of the bridge connection. If round_robin is false, the default value, then the first address is treated as the main bridge connection. If the connection fails, the other secondary addresses will be attempted in turn. Whilst connected to a secondary bridge, the bridge will periodically attempt to reconnect to the main bridge until successful.
If round_robin is true, then all addresses are treated as equals. If a connection fails, the next address will be tried and if successful will remain connected until it fails.
start_type [ automatic | lazy | once ]
Set the start type of the bridge. This controls how the bridge starts and can be one of three types: automatic, lazy and once. Note that RSMB provides a fourth start type "manual" which isn't currently supported by mosquitto.
"automatic" is the default start type and means that the bridge connection will be started automatically when the broker starts and also restarted after a short delay (30 seconds) if the connection fails.
Bridges using the "lazy" start type will be started automatically when the number of queued messages exceeds the number set with the threshold option. It will be stopped automatically after the time set by the idle_timeout parameter. Use this start type if you wish the connection to only be active when it is needed.
A bridge using the "once" start type will be started automatically when the broker starts but will not be restarted if the connection fails.
Set the number of messages that need to be queued for a bridge with lazy start type to be restarted. Defaults to 10 messages.
topic pattern [[[ out | in | both ] qos-level] local-prefix remote-prefix]
Define a topic pattern to be shared between the two brokers. Any topics matching the pattern (which may include wildcards) are shared. The second parameter defines the direction that the messages will be shared in, so it is possible to import messages from a remote broker using in, export messages to a remote broker using out or share messages in both directions. If this parameter is not defined, the default of out is used. The QoS level defines the publish/subscribe QoS level used for this topic and defaults to 0.
The local-prefix and remote-prefix options allow topics to be remapped when publishing to and receiving from remote brokers. This allows a topic tree from the local broker to be inserted into the topic tree of the remote broker at an appropriate place.
For incoming topics, the bridge will prepend the pattern with the remote prefix and subscribe to the resulting topic on the remote broker. When a matching incoming message is received, the remote prefix will be removed from the topic and then the local prefix added.
For outgoing topics, the bridge will prepend the pattern with the local prefix and subscribe to the resulting topic on the local broker. When an outgoing message is processed, the local prefix will be removed from the topic then the remote prefix added.
When using topic mapping, an empty prefix can be defined using the place marker "". Using the empty marker for the topic itself is also valid. The table below defines what combination of empty or value is valid. The Full Local Topic and Full Remote Topic show the resulting topics that would be used on the local and remote ends of the bridge. For example, for the first table row if you publish to L/topic on the local broker, then the remote broker will receive a message on the topic R/topic.
|Full Local Topic
|Full Remote Topic
|valid (no remapping)
|valid (remap single local topic to remote)
To remap an entire topic tree, use e.g.:
topic # both 2 local/topic/ remote/topic/
This option can be specified multiple times per bridge.
Care must be taken to ensure that loops are not created with this option. If you are experiencing high CPU load from a broker, it is possible that you have a loop where each broker is forever forwarding each other the same messages. See also the
cleansession option if you have messages arriving on unexpected topics when using incoming topics.
try_private [ true | false ]
If try_private is set to true, the bridge will attempt to indicate to the remote broker that it is a bridge not an ordinary client. If successful, this means that loop detection will be more effective and that retained messages will be propagated correctly. Not all brokers support this feature so it may be necessary to set try_private to false if your bridge does not connect properly.
Defaults to true.
The following options are available for all bridges to configure SSL/TLS support.
Configure the application layer protocol negotiation option for the TLS session. Useful for brokers that support both websockets and MQTT on the same port.
bridge_cafile file path
One of bridge_cafile or bridge_capath must be provided to allow SSL/TLS support.
bridge_cafile is used to define the path to a file containing the PEM encoded CA certificates that have signed the certificate for the remote broker.
bridge_capath file path
One of bridge_capath or bridge_cafile must be provided to allow SSL/TLS support.
bridge_capath is used to define the path to a directory containing the PEM encoded CA certificates that have signed the certificate for the remote broker. For bridge_capath to work correctly, the certificate files must have ".crt" as the file ending and you must run "openssl rehash < path to bridge_capath>" each time you add/remove a certificate.
bridge_certfile file path
Path to the PEM encoded client certificate for this bridge, if required by the remote broker.
Pre-shared-key encryption provides an alternative to certificate based encryption. A bridge can be configured to use PSK with the bridge_identity and bridge_psk options. This is the client identity used with PSK encryption. Only one of certificate and PSK based encryption can be used on one bridge at once.
bridge_insecure [ true | false ]
When using certificate based TLS, the bridge will attempt to verify the hostname provided in the remote certificate matches the host/address being connected to. This may cause problems in testing scenarios, so bridge_insecure may be set to true to disable the hostname verification.
Setting this option to true means that a malicious third party could potentially impersonate your server, so it should always be set to false in production environments.
bridge_keyfile file path
Path to the PEM encoded private key for this bridge, if required by the remote broker.
Pre-shared-key encryption provides an alternative to certificate based encryption. A bridge can be configured to use PSK with the bridge_identity and bridge_psk options. This is the pre-shared-key in hexadecimal format with no "0x". Only one of certificate and PSK based encryption can be used on one bridge at once.
bridge_require_ocsp [ true | false ]
When set to true, the bridge requires OCSP on the TLS connection it opens as client.
Configure the version of the TLS protocol to be used for this bridge. Possible values are tlsv1.3, tlsv1.2 and tlsv1.1. Defaults to tlsv1.2. The remote broker must support the same version of TLS for the connection to succeed.
Multiple bridges (connections to other brokers) can be configured using the following variables. Bridges cannot currently be reloaded on reload signal.
address address[:port] [address[:port]],
addresses address[:port] [address[:port]]
Specify the address and optionally the port of the bridge to connect to. This must be given for each bridge connection. If the port is not specified, the default of 1883 is used. If you use an IPv6 address, then the port is not optional. Multiple host addresses can be specified on the address config. See the round_robin option for more details on the behaviour of bridges with multiple addresses.