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A Redis HTTP interface with JSON output
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Latest commit 1a2a281 Nicolas Favre-Felix Fix unused warning, use llabs instead of abs
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b64 Rename libb64 to b64 for compatibility reasons, move to DEPS.
formats Fix unused warning, use llabs instead of abs
hiredis Update to hiredis 0.13.1
http-parser Fixed indentation and whitespace
jansson Fix unused warning, use llabs instead of abs
md5 Added ETag and If-None-Match.
sha1 Started implementing the new WebSocket protocol
tests Allow test programs use custom port using environment variable or com…
.gitignore Started pub/sub test.
.travis.yml Fix travis yaml file
COPYING Added missing license file.
Dockerfile Add Dockerfile
Makefile Update to hiredis 0.13.1
README.markdown Write pidfile when daemonized (GitHub issue #10)
acl.c Disable SELECT command - issue #80
acl.h Fix ACLs
client.c Fixed indentation and whitespace
client.h Handle memory allocation issues better.
cmd.c Remove access to free'd memory in cmd_free
cmd.h Create new connection for new separate DBs.
conf.c Rename libb64 to b64 for compatibility reasons, move to DEPS.
conf.h Write pidfile when daemonized (GitHub issue #10)
http.c #89: Add Authorization to CORS headers
http.h Make pub/sub chunks async.
pool.c Schedule a reconnect if connecting fails
pool.h Free Redis context for custom connections
server.c Merge pull request #55 from littlefrog/master
server.h Fixed log buf, removed spin lock.
slog.c Remove comments mentioning borrowing code from redis repository.
slog.h Reopen logs on SIGHUP (GitHub issue #10)
version.h Version bump after release
webdis.c Partial rewrite, adding WebSockets, threads, pool.
webdis.json Handle SIGTERM & SIGINT (issue #10) Added fix-config.diff and install-target.diff by @jollyroger.
websocket.c Rename libb64 to b64 for compatibility reasons, move to DEPS.
websocket.h Removed endian.h
worker.c Fixed indentation and whitespace
worker.h Partial rewrite, adding WebSockets, threads, pool.



A very simple web server providing an HTTP interface to Redis. It uses hiredis, jansson, libevent, and http-parser.

Webdis depends on libevent-dev. You can install it on Ubuntu by typing sudo apt-get install libevent-dev or on OS X by typing brew install libevent.

make clean all

./webdis &

→ {"SET":[true,"OK"]}

→ {"GET":"world"}

curl -d "GET/hello"
→ {"GET":"world"}


  • GET and POST are supported, as well as PUT for file uploads.
  • JSON output by default, optional JSONP parameter (?jsonp=myFunction or ?callback=myFunction).
  • Raw Redis 2.0 protocol output with .raw suffix
  • MessagePack output with .msg suffix
  • HTTP 1.1 pipelining (70,000 http requests per second on a desktop Linux machine.)
  • Multi-threaded server, configurable number of worker threads.
  • WebSocket support (Currently using the “hixie-76” specification).
  • Connects to Redis using a TCP or UNIX socket.
  • Restricted commands by IP range (CIDR subnet + mask) or HTTP Basic Auth, returning 403 errors.
  • Possible Redis authentication in the config file.
  • Pub/Sub using Transfer-Encoding: chunked, works with JSONP as well. Webdis can be used as a Comet server.
  • Drop privileges on startup.
  • Custom Content-Type using a pre-defined file extension, or with ?type=some/thing.
  • URL-encoded parameters for binary data or slashes and question marks. For instance, %2f is decoded as / but not used as a command separator.
  • Logs, with a configurable verbosity.
  • Cross-origin requests, usable with XMLHttpRequest2 (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing - CORS).
  • File upload with PUT.
  • With the JSON output, the return value of INFO is parsed and transformed into an object.
  • Optional daemonize: set "daemonize": true and "pidfile": "/var/run/" in webdis.json.
  • Default root object: Add "default_root": "/GET/index.html" in webdis.json to substitute the request to / with a Redis request.
  • HTTP request limit with http_max_request_size (in bytes, set to 128MB by default).
  • Database selection in the URL, using e.g. /7/GET/key to run the command on DB 7.

Ideas, TODO...

  • Add better support for PUT, DELETE, HEAD, OPTIONS? How? For which commands?
    • This could be done using a “strict mode” with a table of commands and the verbs that can/must be used with each command. Strict mode would be optional, configurable. How would webdis know of new commands remains to be determined.
  • MULTI/EXEC/DISCARD/WATCH are disabled at the moment; find a way to use them.
  • Support POST of raw Redis protocol data, and execute the whole thing. This could be useful for MULTI/EXEC transactions.
  • Enrich config file:
    • Provide timeout (maybe for some commands only?). What should the response be? 504 Gateway Timeout? 503 Service Unavailable?
  • Multi-server support, using consistent hashing.
  • SSL?
    • Not sure if this is such a good idea.
  • SPDY?
    • SPDY is mostly useful for parallel fetches. Not sure if it would make sense for Webdis.
  • Send your ideas using the github tracker, on twitter @yowgi or by mail to

HTTP error codes

  • Unknown HTTP verb: 405 Method Not Allowed.
  • Redis is unreachable: 503 Service Unavailable.
  • Matching ETag sent using If-None-Match: 304 Not Modified.
  • Could also be used:
    • Timeout on the redis side: 503 Service Unavailable.
    • Missing key: 404 Not Found.
    • Unauthorized command (disabled in config file): 403 Forbidden.

Command format

The URI /COMMAND/arg0/arg1/.../argN.ext executes the command on Redis and returns the response to the client. GET, POST, and PUT are supported:

  • GET /COMMAND/arg0/.../argN.ext
  • POST / with COMMAND/arg0/.../argN in the HTTP body.
  • PUT /COMMAND/arg0.../argN-1 with argN in the HTTP body (see section on file uploads.)

.ext is an optional extension; it is not read as part of the last argument but only represents the output format. Several formats are available (see below).

Special characters: / and . have special meanings, / separates arguments and . changes the Content-Type. They can be replaced by %2f and %2e, respectively.


Access control is configured in webdis.json. Each configuration tries to match a client profile according to two criterias:

Each ACL contains two lists of commands, enabled and disabled. All commands being enabled by default, it is up to the administrator to disable or re-enable them on a per-profile basis. Examples:

    "disabled": ["DEBUG", "FLUSHDB", "FLUSHALL"],

    "http_basic_auth": "user:password",
    "disabled": ["DEBUG", "FLUSHDB", "FLUSHALL"],
    "enabled":  ["SET"]

    "ip":       "",
    "enabled":  ["SET"]

    "http_basic_auth": "user:password",
    "ip":       "",
    "enabled":  ["SET", "DEL"]

ACLs are interpreted in order, later authorizations superseding earlier ones if a client matches several. The special value "*" matches all commands.

JSON output

JSON is the default output format. Each command returns a JSON object with the command as a key and the result as a value.


// string
$ curl

// number
$ curl

// list
$ curl

// status
$ curl

// error, which is basically a status
$ curl
{"MAKE-ME-COFFEE":[false,"ERR unknown command 'MAKE-ME-COFFEE'"]}

// JSONP callback:
$ curl  ""

RAW output

This is the raw output of Redis; enable it with the .raw suffix.

// string
$ curl

// number

// list
$ curl

// status
$ curl

// error, which is basically a status
$ curl
-ERR unknown command 'MAKE-ME-COFFEE'

Custom content-type

Several content-types are available:

  • .json for application/json (this is the default Content-Type).
  • .msg for application/x-msgpack. See for the specs.
  • .txt for text/plain
  • .html for text/html
  • xhtml for application/xhtml+xml
  • xml for text/xml
  • .png for image/png
  • jpg or jpeg for image/jpeg
  • Any other with the ?type=anything/youwant query string.
  • Add a custom separator for list responses with ?sep=, query string.
curl -v ""
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Content-Type: text/html
< Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 20:43:36 GMT
< Content-Length: 137
<!DOCTYPE html>

curl -v ""
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Content-Type: text/plain
< Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 20:43:36 GMT
< Content-Length: 137

curl -v ""
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Content-Type: application/pdf
< Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 20:45:12 GMT

File upload

Webdis supports file upload using HTTP PUT. The command URI is slightly different, as the last argument is taken from the HTTP body. For example: instead of /SET/key/value, the URI becomes /SET/key and the value is the entirety of the body. This works for other commands such as LPUSH, etc.

Uploading a binary file to webdis:

$ file redis-logo.png
redis-logo.png: PNG image, 513 x 197, 8-bit/color RGBA, non-interlaced

$ wc -c redis-logo.png
16744 redis-logo.png

$ curl -v --upload-file redis-logo.png
> PUT /SET/logo HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 OpenSSL/0.9.8k zlib/ libidn/1.15
> Host:
> Accept: */*
> Content-Length: 16744
> Expect: 100-continue
< HTTP/1.1 100 Continue
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Content-Type: application/json
< ETag: "0db1124cf79ffeb80aff6d199d5822f8"
< Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2011 16:48:19 GMT
< Content-Length: 19

$ curl -vs -o out.png
> GET /GET/logo.png HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 OpenSSL/0.9.8k zlib/ libidn/1.15
> Host:
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Content-Type: image/png
< ETag: "1991df597267d70bf9066a7d11969da0"
< Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2011 16:50:51 GMT
< Content-Length: 16744

$ md5sum redis-logo.png out.png
1991df597267d70bf9066a7d11969da0  redis-logo.png
1991df597267d70bf9066a7d11969da0  out.png

The file was uploaded and re-downloaded properly: it has the same hash and the content-type was set properly thanks to the .png extension.


Webdis supports WebSocket clients implementing dixie-76.
Web Sockets are supported with the following formats, selected by the connection URL:

  • JSON (on / or /.json)
  • Raw Redis wire protocol (on /.raw)


function testJSON() {
    var jsonSocket = new WebSocket("ws://");
    jsonSocket.onopen = function() {

        console.log("JSON socket connected!");
        jsonSocket.send(JSON.stringify(["SET", "hello", "world"]));
        jsonSocket.send(JSON.stringify(["GET", "hello"]));
    jsonSocket.onmessage = function(messageEvent) {
        console.log("JSON received:",;

This produces the following output:

JSON socket connected!
JSON received: {"SET":[true,"OK"]}
JSON received: {"GET":"world"}

Pub/Sub with chunked transfer encoding

Webdis exposes Redis PUB/SUB channels to HTTP clients, forwarding messages in the channel as they are published by Redis. This is done using chunked transfer encoding.

Example using XMLHttpRequest:

var previous_response_length = 0
xhr = new XMLHttpRequest()"GET", "", true);
xhr.onreadystatechange = checkData;

function checkData() {
    if(xhr.readyState == 3)  {
        response = xhr.responseText;
        chunk = response.slice(previous_response_length);
        previous_response_length = response.length;

Publish messages to redis to see output similar to the following:

{"SUBSCRIBE":["message","hello","some message"]}
{"SUBSCRIBE":["message","hello","some other message"]} 
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.