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[DEPRECATED] This project is no longer maintained

As of December 2022, Asana is no longer using bazels3cache internally. See the Bazel documentation for potential alternatives.

Web server for proxying Bazel remote cache requests to S3.

bazels3cache is a simple web server that supports basic WebDAV (GET, PUT, HEAD, and DELETE), and proxies those requests through to S3. You can use it with bazel --remote_http_cache=..., so that you can use S3 for your Bazel cache.

Quick start

  • Download and install bazels3cache:

    npm install -g bazels3cache
  • Launch bazels3cache like this (by default it listens on port 7777):

    bazels3cache --bucket=MY_S3_BUCKET
  • When you launch Bazel, tell it where the cache is:

    bazel build --remote_http_cache=http://localhost:7777 ...

Main features

  • Use an S3 bucket as the storage area for your Bazel remote cache.
  • Keep working (gracefully degrading to no cache) even if you are offline.
  • Asynchronous uploading to S3, to avoid slowing down your Bazel build.
  • Local in-memory cache of recently accessed data (off by default).

Detailed description

If you want Bazel to use S3 as its backing store, you could really use any WebDAV-to-S3 proxy. But the key feature of bazels3cache that differentiates it from a general-purpose proxy is that if you are offline, it will report to Bazel that "everything is fine, I just can't find the items you're looking for in the cache." Even if Bazel tries to upload something to the cache, bazels3cache will pretend the upload succeeded. (This is harmless; it's just a cache, after all.) This means that Bazel will gracefully fall back to working locally if you go offline.

Another feature (but off by default): In-memory cache. Bazel actually uses the cache only as Content-addressable storage (CAS). What this means is that the "key" (in this case, the URL) of any entry in the cache is actually a hash of that entry's contents. Because of this, you can be guaranteed that any cached data for a given key is definitely still valid.

bazels3cache takes advantage of that fact, and optionally keeps a local (currently in-memory) cache of the data it has previously downloaded or uploaded. This can allow for faster cache response: Sometimes it will not be necessary to make a round-trip to S3. (This feature is OFF by default. Use --cache.enabled=true to enable it.)


bazels3cache will look for AWS credentials in the standard AWS-defined places, including the environment (AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY) and ~/.aws/credentials.


A clean shutdown:

curl http://localhost:7777/shutdown

Or the brute-force way:

pkill -f bazels3cache

Also, if idleMinutes is greater than zero, bazels3cache will cleanly terminate itself after it has received no requests for that many minutes.

Printing debug info to the console

bazels3cache uses the debug Node package, so if you want to see debugging output, run it with the DEBUG environment variable:

DEBUG=bazels3cache* bin/bazels3cache

Offline usage

As mentioned above, it is often desirable to have Bazel continue to work even if you are offline. By default, if bazels3cache is unable to reach S3, it will not report error messages back to Bazel; it will continue to function, passing appropriate success codes back to Bazel.

The way this works is:

  • GET and HEAD: If bazels3cache can find the item in its local cache, it will return it, along with a status code of 200 OK; otherwise, it will return 404 Not Found. Bazel will simply treat this the same as any other cache miss. bazels3cache will never report back any other errors.
  • PUT: bazels3cache will store the item in its local cache and then report back 200 OK. It will never let Bazel know that it was unable to upload the item to S3.

To be clear: The only errors that will be ignored in this way are connectivity errors. Other S3 errors, such as invalid key, access denied, etc., will be passed on to Bazel as errors.

Automatic pause of S3 access

Repeatedly attempting to access S3 while offline can be slow. So after bazels3cache has gotten back three consecutive connectivity errors from S3, it temporarily pauses all S3 access (for five minutes). During that time, only the local in-memory cache will be used. This pause will be transparent to Bazel.

Asynchronous uploading to S3

When bazels3cache receives a PUT (an upload request) from Bazel, it needs to upload the content to S3, and send a success/failure response back to Bazel. There are two ways it can handle the response to Bazel:

  • If asynchronous uploading is enabled (the default), then bazels3cache immediately sends a success response back to Bazel, even before it has uploaded to S3. This allows the Bazel build to complete much more quickly. Of course, the upload to S3 might fail; but it's okay if Bazel doesn't know that.

    In this case, bazels3cache might even drop some uploads if it falls too far behind. Since the remote cache is just a cache, this is usually acceptable.

  • If asynchronous uploading is disabled (the "asyncUpload" section of config.default.json, or --asyncUpload.enabled=false on the command line), then the response code will not be sent back to Bazel until the upload to S3 has completed.


config.default.json shows all configurable settings, including comments describing them, and their default values. You can override these defaults in a couple of ways. The overrides are loaded in the order listed below -- for example, if you have both a ~/.config/bazels3cache/config.json file and command-line arguments, then the command-line arguments win.

  1. A user-wide config file: ~/.config/bazels3cache/config.json

  2. A config file specified with --config:

    bazels3cache --config=myconfig.json

    Your config file only needs to include the values you want to override.

  3. Command line arguments with the same names as the names from the config file, but with dots for nested elements. For example, the config file includes this:

        "cache": {
            "maxEntrySizeBytes": 1000000

    To override this, use dashes:

    bazels3cache --cache.maxEntrySizeBytes=<NUMBER>


Small web server for a Bazel cache, proxies to S3; allows Bazel to work offline; async uploads to make Bazel faster







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