Helps you run multiple instances of your service, provides graceful, zero downtime restart on signals, and handles errors. Does not require a seperate command line tool, nor does it daemonise your process, for better integration into other process monitors such as upstart.
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srv is a node.js module that lets you run multiple instances of your node.js server application: each in a different process, but all sharing the same listening ports (if any).

What is 'srv'?

srv is a very thin layer ontop of the node 0.8 cluster API that:

  • Implements zero-downtime restarts
  • Implements graceful restarts and shutdowns (i.e. without kicking out any connected users)
  • Handles process crashes by starting a replacement worker
  • Lets you manage it (restart, graceful shutdown) via UNIX signals

Unlike other similar modules (forever, always and naught), srv:

  • Does not require a seperate command line tool: management is done using UNIX signals and process monitoring
  • Does not require a global package install
  • Won't daemonise your process - I think this is best done using another process monitor, usually built into the system (see below).
  • Won't write PIDs
  • Won't handle log files for you
  • Does not implement a complicated event system and instead tries to built ontop of what node and UNIX provide
  • Requires integration at development time
  • Is less general purpose
  • Is basically untested. Use at your own risk.


$ npm install srv

You do not need to download the source code on this page unless you want to change it.


require('srv') will return a function, this function can be called two ways:

  • srv(options object, callback function)
  • srv(callback function)

When called, this function will fork the process into the specified number of child processes, using the standard cluster API and execute your callback in each of them.

For example, in coffeescript:

srv = require 'srv'
cluster = require 'cluster'

srv ->
  console.log "Hello from #{}"

  cluster.worker.on 'disconnect', ->
    console.log "Goodbye from #{}"

Besides log statements, this will output something like the following:

Hello from 33724
Hello from 33723
Hello from 33725
Hello from 33726

When you press CTRL+C, it will output the following then terminate:

Goodbye from 33726
Goodbye from 33723
Goodbye from 33725
Goodbye from 33724


Pass these in as a JSON object tree as the first argument to the srv call.

Property Default Description
worker.count 4 Number of worker processes to spawn
worker.ignoreSigint true Whether the worker should ignore SIGINT automatically.
worker.require 'online' Must be either 'online' or 'listen'. Defines the state the worker must be in before we consider the process to have successfully started.
worker.timeout 2000 How long (ms) to wait for a successful startup before killing the worker and starting a new one.
recycle.timeout 15000 How long (ms) to wait for each worker to gracefully cleanup during a recycle.
shutdown.timeout 15000 How long (ms) to wait for each worker to gracefully cleanup during a shutdown.
restart.delay 5000 How long (ms) to wait after a worker crashes before starting a new one.

Note: The dot in the property names above means sub-object.

Signals and events


  • SIGINT (Ctrl+C), SIGTERM: Graceful shutdown
  • SIGHUP: Recycle workers


  • cluster.worker.on('disconnect', func): Called when master disconnects from worker

Process monitoring

As I mentioned above, srv is not a generic process monitor. It will not handle starting your service in the first place, nor does it provide you with any administrative interface to see if it's running or stop it, other than terminating itself gracefully when told to by SIGTERM.

On Linux, would recommend against traditional init, and instead suggest:

  • upstart on Ubuntu and others. Note: As I use Ubuntu, I will be providing an example Upstart script shortly!
  • systemd on Fedora, Arch and others

On Windows, I would suggest launching the node process with the Non-Sucking Service Manager.

I presume nobody hosts anything on a Mac. :)

All of these solutions work best if you have a process that doesn't daemonize itself, which is what "inspired" me to write srv.


srv is not a special piece of well segregated, battle hardened code that is specifically engineered to never allow a worker failure to disrupt the service. It is meant to help you start a generally reliable set of clustered processes. I do not, however, expect that it will be hard to find ways to take the master process down from inside the worker processes, but hopefully that won't be something you can do unless you mean to do it.

If you want real reliability, I would suggest multiple entirely seperate node processes (not clustered), managed by your system's process monitor, and load balanced by something such as HAProxy or nginx, with each part of the stack running under a seperate user so that failures can't propagate as easily, and heartbeating used throughout. If you are really bothered about reliability, you will need multiple machines anyway.

What srv is meant to be is a 95% solution. It should be fine for any non-essential service, where you can configure your process monitor just to restart it if it crashes. It should go some way toward ironing out latency spikes and would be a good second reliability defence at any rate.


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