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Uninterruptible gives you zero downtime restarts for your socket servers with nearly zero effort. Sounds good? Read on.

Small socket servers are great, sometimes you need a quick and efficient way of moving data between servers (or even processes on the same machine). Restarting these processes can be a bit hairy though, you either need to build your clients smart enough to keep trying to connect, potentially backing up traffic or you just leave your server and hope for the best.

You know that you'll need to restart it one day and cross your fingers that you can kill the old one and start the new one before anyone notices. Not ideal at all.

Just a quick switch

Uninterruptible gives your socket server magic restarting powers. Send your running Uninterruptible server USR1 and it will start a brand new copy of itself which will immediately start handling new requests while the old server stays alive until all of it's active connections are complete.

Basic Usage

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'uninterruptible'

To build your server all you need to do is include Uninterruptible::Server and implement handle_request. Let's build a simple echo server:

# echo_server.rb
class EchoServer
  include Uninterruptible::Server

  def handle_request(client_socket)
    received_data = client_socket.gets

To turn this into a running server you only need to configure a port to listen on and the command used to start the server and call run:

echo_server =
echo_server.configure do |config|
  config.bind_port = 6789
  config.start_command = 'ruby echo_server.rb'

To restart the server just send USR1, a new server will start listening on your port, the old one will quit once it's finished processing all of it's existing connections. To kill the server (allowing for all connections to finish) call TERM.

Configuration Options

echo_server.configure do |config|
  config.start_command = 'ruby echo_server.rb' # *Required* Command to execute to start a new server process
  config.bind = "tcp://" # *Required* Interface to listen on, falls back to on ENV['PORT']
  config.pidfile_path = 'tmp/pids/' # Location to write a pidfile, falls back to ENV['PID_FILE']
  config.log_path = 'log/echoserver.log' # Location to write logfile, defaults to STDOUT
  config.log_level = Logger::INFO # Log writing severity, defaults to Logger::INFO
  config.tls_version = 'TLSv1_2' # TLS version to use, defaults to TLSv1_2, falls back to ENV['TLS_VERSION']
  config.tls_key = nil # Private key to use for TLS, reads file from ENV['TLS_KEY'] if set
  config.tls_certificate = nil # Certificate to use for TLS, reads file from ENV['TLS_CERTIFICATE'] if set
  config.verify_client_tls_certificate = false # Should client TLS certificates be required and verifiyed? Falls back to ENV['VERIFY_CLIENT_TLS_CERTIFICATE']
  config.client_tls_certificate_ca = nil # Path to a trusted CA for client certificates. Implies `config.verify_client_tls_certificate = true`. Falls back to ENV['CLIENT_TLS_CERTIFICATE_CA']

Uninterruptible supports both TCP and UNIX sockets. To connect to a unix socket simply pass the path in the bind configuration parameter:

echo_server.configure do |config|
  config.bind = "unix:///tmp/echo_server.sock"

The Magic

Upon receiving USR1, your server will spawn a new copy of itself and pass the file descriptor of the open socket to the new server. The new server attaches itself to the file descriptor then sends a TERM signal to the original process. The original server stops listening on the socket and shuts itself down once all ongoing requests have completed.

Restart Flow


By default, Uninterruptible operates on a very simple one thread per connection concurrency model. If you'd like to use something more advanced such as a threadpool or an event driven pattern you can define this in your server class.

By overriding accept_client_connection you can change how connections are accepted and handled. It is recommended that you call process_request from this method and still implement handle_request to do the bulk of the work since process_request tracks the number of active connections to the server.

accept_client_connection is called whenever a connection is waiting to be accepted on the socket server.

If you wanted to implement a threadpool to process your requests you could do the following:

class EchoServer
  # ...

  def accept_client_connection
    @worker_threads ||= do { worker_loop }


  def worker_loop
    loop do
      client_socket = socket_server.accept

TLS Support

If you would like to encrypt your TCP socket, Uninterruptible supports TLSv1.1 and TLSv1.2. Simply set configuration.tls_key and configuration.tls_certificate (see "Configuration" above) and your TCP socket will automatically be wrapped with TLS.

To generate a key, run a command similar to the following:

openssl req -newkey rsa:4096 -nodes -sha512 -x509 -days 3650 -nodes -out tls_cert.pem -keyout tls_key.pem


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.