Creating Apache Kafka topics automatically

You can set Kafka to automatically create a topic when a message is produced to a topic that does not exist. By default, in Aiven for Apache Kafka this features is turned off as safeguard against accidental topic creation and when a message is produced to a topic that does not yet exist. In such cases the common error message is the following:

KafkaTimeoutError: Failed to update metadata after 60.0 secs.

In such cases two options are available:

  1. Create topics beforehand

  2. Enable topic automatic creation

While option 2 seems the easier solution it has drawbacks like the risk of creating new topics in case of typos or accepting all the topic configuration default values set at service level such as partition count, replication factor, and retention time.

Creating topics beforehand is generally considered a preferred practice and recommended for production environments. However, for specific needs, you might want/need to enable automatic topic creation, which can be done by changing the auto_create_topics_enable parameter using the Aiven CLI or the Aiven web console by selecting the corresponding settings in the Advanced configuration section of the Overview page for your service.


Even when you enable automatic topic creation, the user account that produces a message to a non-existing topic must have admin permissions. Aiven for Apache Kafka validates the access control list (ACL) before creating the topic. To change user permissions, navigate to the Users tab in your service detail page in the Aiven web console.

Enable automatic topic creation with Aiven CLI

The Aiven CLI service update command enables to modify service parameters on an existing service. To enable the automatic creation of topics on an existing Aiven for Apache Kafka service set the auto_create_topics_enable to true by using the following command replacing the SERVICE_NAME with the name of your service:

avn service update SERVICE_NAME -c kafka.auto_create_topics_enable=true