Retriable is an simple DSL to retry failed code blocks with randomized exponential backoff.


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Retriable is a simple DSL to retry failed code blocks with randomized exponential backoff time intervals. This is especially useful when interacting external api/services or file system calls.


Ruby 2.0.0+

If you need ruby 1.9.3 support, use the 2.x branch by specifying ~2.1 in your Gemfile.

If you need ruby 1.8.x to 1.9.2 support, use the 1.x branch by specifying ~1.4 in your Gemfile.


via command line:

gem install retriable

In your ruby script:

require 'retriable'

In your Gemfile:

gem 'retriable', '~> 3.0'


Code in a Retriable.retriable block will be retried if an exception is raised. By default, Retriable will rescue any exception inherited from StandardError, make 3 tries (including the initial attempt) before raising the last exception, and also use randomized exponential backoff to calculate each succeeding try interval. The default interval table with 10 tries looks like this (in seconds):

retry# retry interval randomized interval
1 0.5 [0.25, 0.75]
2 0.75 [0.375, 1.125]
3 1.125 [0.5625, 1.6875]
4 1.6875 [0.84375, 2.53125]
5 2.53125 [1.265625, 3.796875]
6 3.796875 [1.8984375, 5.6953125]
7 5.6953125 [2.84765625, 8.54296875]
8 8.54296875 [4.271484375, 12.814453125]
9 12.814453125 [6.4072265625, 19.2216796875]
10 19.2216796875 stop
require 'retriable'

class Api
  # Use it in methods that interact with unreliable services
  def get
    Retriable.retriable do
      # code here...


Here are the available options:

tries (default: 3) - Number of attempts to make at running your code block (includes intial attempt).

base_interval (default: 0.5) - The initial interval in seconds between tries.

max_interval (default: 60) - The maximum interval in seconds that any try can reach.

rand_factor (default: 0.25) - The percent range above and below the next interval is randomized between. The calculation is calculated like this:

randomized_interval = retry_interval * (random value in range [1 - randomization_factor, 1 + randomization_factor])

multiplier (default: 1.5) - Each successive interval grows by this factor. A multipler of 1.5 means the next interval will be 1.5x the current interval.

max_elapsed_time (default: 900 (15 min)) - The maximum amount of total time that code is allowed to keep being retried.

intervals (default: nil) - Skip generated intervals and provide your own array of intervals in seconds. Setting this option will ignore tries, base_interval, max_interval, rand_factor, and multiplier values.

timeout (default: nil) - Number of seconds to allow the code block to run before raising a Timeout::Error inside each try. Default is nil means the code block can run forever without raising error.

on (default: [StandardError]) - An Array of exceptions to rescue for each try, a Hash where the keys are Exception classes and the values can be a single Regexp pattern or a list of patterns, or a single Exception type. Subclasses of the listed exceptions will be retried and have their messages matched in the same way.

on_retry - (default: nil) - Proc to call after each try is rescued.


You can change the global defaults with a #configure block:

Retriable.configure do |c|
  c.tries = 5
  c.max_elapsed_time = 3600 # 1 hour


Retriable.retriable accepts custom arguments. This example will only retry on a Timeout::Error, retry 3 times and sleep for a full second before each try.

Retriable.retriable on: Timeout::Error, tries: 3, base_interval: 1 do
  # code here...

You can also specify multiple errors to retry on by passing an array of exceptions.

Retriable.retriable on: [Timeout::Error, Errno::ECONNRESET] do
  # code here...

You can also specify a Hash of exceptions where the values are a list or single Regexp pattern.

Retriable.retriable on: {
  ActiveRecord::RecordNotUnique => nil,
  ActiveRecord::RecordInvalid => [/Email has already been taken/, /Username has already been taken/],
  Mysql2::Error => /Duplicate entry/
} do
  # code here...

You can also specify a timeout if you want the code block to only try for X amount of seconds. This timeout is per try.

Retriable.retriable timeout: 60 do
  # code here...

If you need millisecond units of time for the sleep or the timeout:

Retriable.retriable base_interval: (200/1000.0), timeout: (500/1000.0) do
  # code here...

Custom Interval Array

You can also bypass the built-in interval generation and provide your own array of intervals. Supplying your own intervals overrides the tries, base_interval, max_interval, rand_factor, and multiplier parameters.

Retriable.retriable intervals: [0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 2.5] do
  # code here...

This example makes 5 total attempts, if the first attempt fails, the 2nd attempt occurs 0.5 seconds later.

Turn off Exponential Backoff

Exponential backoff is enabled by default, if you want to simply retry code every second, 5 times maximum, you can do this:

Retriable.retriable tries: 5, base_interval: 1.0, multiplier: 1.0, rand_factor: 0.0 do
  # code here...

This works by starting at a 1 second interval (base_interval), setting the multipler to 1.0 means each subsequent try will increase 1x, which is still 1.0 seconds, and then a rand_factor of 0.0 means that there's no randomization of that interval. By default, it would randomize 0.25 seconds, which would mean normally the intervals would randomize between 0.75 and 1.25 seconds, but in this case rand_factor is basically being disabled.

Another way to accomplish this would be to create an array with a fixed interval. In this example,, 1) creates an array with 5 elements, all with the value 1. The code block will retry up to 5 times, and wait 1 second between each attempt.

#, 1) # => [1, 1, 1, 1, 1]

Retriable.retriable intervals:, 1) do
  # code here...

If you don't want exponential backoff, but you still want some randomization between intervals, this code will run every 1 seconds with a randomization factor of 0.2, which means each interval will be a random value between 0.8 and 1.2 (1 second +/- 0.2):

Retriable.retriable base_interval: 1.0, multiplier: 1.0, rand_factor: 0.2 do
  # code here...


#retriable also provides a callback called :on_retry that will run after an exception is rescued. This callback provides the exception that was raised in the current try, the try_number, the elapsed_time for all tries so far, and the time in seconds of the next_interval. As these are specified in a Proc, unnecessary variables can be left out of the parameter list.

do_this_on_each_retry = do |exception, try, elapsed_time, next_interval|
  log "#{exception.class}: '#{exception.message}' - #{try} tries in #{elapsed_time} seconds and #{next_interval} seconds until the next try."

Retriable.retriable on_retry: do_this_on_each_retry do
  # code here...


What if I want to execute a code block at the end, whether or not an exception was rescued (ensure)? Or, what if I want to execute a code block if no exception is raised (else)? Instead of providing more callbacks, I recommend you just wrap retriable in a begin/retry/else/ensure block:

  Retriable.retriable do
    # some code
rescue => e
  # run this if retriable ends up re-rasing the exception
  # run this if retriable doesn't raise any exceptions
  # run this no matter what, exception or no exception

Kernel Extension

If you want to call Retriable.retriable without the Retriable module prefix and you don't mind extending Kernel, there is a kernel extension available for this.

In your ruby script:

require 'retriable/core_ext/kernel'

or in your Gemfile:

gem 'retriable', require: 'retriable/core_ext/kernel'

and then you can call #retriable in any context like this:

retriable do
  # code here...

Proxy Wrapper Object

@julik has created a gem called retriable_proxy that extends retriable with the ability to wrap objects and specify which methods you want to be retriable, like so:

# api_endpoint is an instance of some kind of class that connects to an API
RetriableProxy.for_object(api_endpoint, on: Net::TimeoutError)


The randomized exponential backoff implementation was inspired by the one used in Google's google-http-java-client project.