:newspaper: Pooled active support compliant caching with redis


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Readthis is a Redis backed cache client for Ruby. It is a drop in replacement
for any ActiveSupport compliant cache and can also be used for session
. Above all Readthis emphasizes performance,
simplicity, and explicitness.

For new projects there isn’t any reason to stick with Memcached. Redis is as
fast, if not faster in many scenarios, and is far more likely to be used
elsewhere in the stack. See this blog post for more details.

Rails 5.2+

Rails 5.2 and beyond has a Redis Cache built in. The built in Redis cache
supports many of the same features as Readthis, as well as multi-tier caches and
newer additions like cache key recycling.

Readthis is maintained for versions of Rails prior to 5.2 and new features will
not be supported. If you are using Rails 5.2+ you should migrate to the built in
Redis cache.

Footprint & Performance

See Performance


Add this line to your application’s Gemfile:

gem 'readthis'
gem 'hiredis' # Highly recommended


Use it the same way as any other ActiveSupport::Cache::Store. Within a
Rails environment config:

config.cache_store = :readthis_store, {
  expires_in: 2.weeks.to_i,
  namespace: 'cache',
  redis: { url: ENV.fetch('REDIS_URL'), driver: :hiredis }

Otherwise you can use it anywhere, without any reliance on ActiveSupport:

require 'readthis'

cache =
  expires_in: 2.weeks.to_i,
  redis: { url: ENV.fetch('REDIS_URL') }

You can also specify host, port, db or any other valid Redis options. For
more details about connection options see in redis gem documentation

Instances & Databases

An isolated Redis instance that is only used for caching is ideal. Dedicated
instances have numerous benefits like: more predictable performance, avoiding
expires in favor of LRU, and tuning the persistence mechanism. See Optimizing
Redis Usage for Caching
for more details.

At the very least, you’ll want to use a specific database for caching. In the
event the database needs to be purged you can do so with a single clear
command, rather than finding all keys in a namespace and deleting them.
Appending a number between 0 and 15 will specify the redis database, which
defaults to 0. For example, using database 2:



Be sure to use an integer value when setting expiration time. The default
representation of ActiveSupport::Duration values won’t work when setting
expiration time, which will cause all keys to have -1 as the TTL. Expiration
values are always cast as an integer on write. For example: 1.week) # don't do this 1.week.to_i) # do this

By using the refresh option the TTL for keys can be refreshed automatically
every time the key is read. This is helpful for ensuring commonly hit keys are
kept cached, effectively making the cache a hybrid LRU. true)

Be aware that refresh adds a slight overhead to all read operations, as they
are now all write operations as well.


Compression can be enabled for all actions by passing the compress flag. By
default all values greater than 1024k will be compressed automatically. If there
is any content has not been stored with compression, or perhaps was compressed
but is beneath the compression threshold, it will be passed through as is. This
means it is safe to enable or change compression with an existing cache. There
will be a decoding performance penalty in this case, but it should be minor.

config.cache_store = :readthis_store, {
  compress: true,
  compression_threshold: 2.kilobytes


Readthis uses Ruby’s Marshal module for serializing all values by default.
This isn’t always the fastest option, and depending on your use case it may be
desirable to use a faster but less flexible serializer.

By default Readthis knows about 3 different serializers:

  • Marshal
  • JSON
  • Passthrough

If all cached data can safely be represented as a string then use the
pass-through serializer: Readthis::Passthrough)

You can introduce up to four additional serializers by configuring serializers
on the Readthis module. For example, if you wanted to use the extremely fast Oj
library for JSON serialization:

Readthis.serializers << Oj

# Freeze the serializers to ensure they aren't changed at runtime.
Readthis.serializers.freeze! Oj)

Be aware that the order in which you add serializers matters. Serializers are
sticky and a flag is stored with each cached value. If you subsequently go to
deserialize values and haven’t configured the same serializers in the same order
your application will raise errors.

Fault Tolerance

In some situations it is desirable to keep serving requests from disk or the
database if Redis crashes. This can be achieved with connection fault tolerance
by enabling it at the top level:

Readthis.fault_tolerant = true

The default value is false, because while it may work for fetch operations,
it isn’t compatible with other state-based commands like increment.

Running Arbitrary Redis Commands

Readthis provides access to the underlying Redis connection pool, allowing you
to run arbitrary commands directly through the cache instance. For example, if
you wanted to expire a key manually using an instance of Rails.cache:

Rails.cache.pool.with { |client| client.expire('foo-key', 60) }

Differences From ActiveSupport::Cache

Readthis supports all of standard cache methods except for the following:

  • cleanup - Redis does this with TTL or LRU already.
  • mute and silence! - You must subscribe to the events /cache*.active_support/
    with ActiveSupport::Notifications to log cache calls manually.

Like other ActiveSupport::Cache implementations it is possible to cache nil
as a value. However, the fetch methods treat nil values as a cache miss and
re-generate/re-cache the value. Caching nil isn’t recommended.

Session Storage

By using ActionDispatch::Session::CacheStore it’s possible to
reuse :readthis_store or specify a new Readthis cache store for storing

Rails.application.config.session_store :cache_store

To specify a separate Readthis instance you can use the :cache option:

Rails.application.config.session_store :cache_store,
  expire_after: 2.weeks.to_i


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request