Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) was initially a proprietary protocol developed by Macromedia for streaming audio, video and data over the Internet, between a Flash player and a server. Macromedia is now owned by Adobe, which has released an incomplete version of the specification of the protocol for public use.The "plain" protocol which works on top of and uses TCP port number 1935 by default. RTMPS, which is RTMP over a TLS/SSL connection. RTMPE, which is RTMP encrypted using Adobe's own security mechanism. While the details of the implementation are proprietary, the mechanism uses industry standard cryptographic primitives. RTMPT, which is encapsulated within HTTP requests to traverse firewalls. RTMPT is frequently found utilizing cleartext requests on TCP ports 80 and 443 to bypass most corporate traffic filtering.

RTMP is a TCP-based protocol which maintains persistent connections and allows low-latency communication. To deliver streams smoothly and transmit as much information as possible, it splits streams into fragments, and their size is negotiated dynamically between the client and server. Sometimes, it is kept unchanged; the default fragment sizes are 64 bytes for audio data, and 128 bytes for video data and most other data types. Fragments from different streams may then be interleaved, and multiplexed over a single connection. With longer data chunks, the protocol thus carries only a one-byte header per fragment, so incurring very little overhead. However, in practice, individual fragments are not typically interleaved. Instead, the interleaving and multiplexing is done at the packet level, with RTMP packets across several different active channels being interleaved in such a way as to ensure that each channel meets its bandwidth, latency, and other quality-of-service requirements.