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Abstraction for exponential and custom retry strategies for failed operations.


npm install retry

Current Status

This module has been tested and is ready to be used.


The example below will retry a potentially failing dns.resolve operation 10 times using an exponential backoff strategy. With the default settings, this means the last attempt is made after 17 minutes and 3 seconds.

var dns = require('dns');
var retry = require('retry');

function faultTolerantResolve(address, cb) {
  var operation = retry.operation();

  operation.attempt(function(currentAttempt) {
    dns.resolve(address, function(err, addresses) {
      if (operation.retry(err)) {

      cb(err ? operation.mainError() : null, addresses);

faultTolerantResolve('', function(err, addresses) {
  console.log(err, addresses);

Of course you can also configure the factors that go into the exponential backoff. See the API documentation below for all available settings. currentAttempt is an int representing the number of attempts so far.

var operation = retry.operation({
  retries: 5,
  factor: 3,
  minTimeout: 1 * 1000,
  maxTimeout: 60 * 1000,
  randomize: true,



Creates a new RetryOperation object. See the retry.timeouts() function below for available options.


Returns an array of timeouts. All time options and return values are in milliseconds. If options is an array, a copy of that array is returned.

options is a JS object that can contain any of the following keys:

  • retries: The maximum amount of times to retry the operation. Default is 10.
  • factor: The exponential factor to use. Default is 2.
  • minTimeout: The number of milliseconds before starting the first retry. Default is 1000.
  • maxTimeout: The maximum number of milliseconds between two retries. Default is Infinity.
  • randomize: Randomizes the timeouts by multiplying with a factor between 1 to 2. Default is false.

The formula used to calculate the individual timeouts is:

var Math.min(random * minTimeout * Math.pow(factor, attempt), maxTimeout);

Have a look at this article for a better explanation of approach.

If you want to tune your factor / times settings to attempt the last retry after a certain amount of time, you can use wolfram alpha. For example in order to tune for 10 attempts in 5 minutes, you can use this equation:


Explaining the various values from left to right:

  • k = 0 ... 9: The retries value (10)
  • 1000: The minTimeout value in ms (1000)
  • x^k: No need to change this, x will be your resulting factor
  • 5 * 60 * 1000: The desired total amount of time for retrying in ms (5 minutes)

To make this a little easier for you, use wolfram alpha to do the calculations:*x^k%2C+{k%2C+0%2C+9}%5D+%3D+5+*+60+*+1000

retry.createTimeout(attempt, opts)

Returns a new timeout (integer in milliseconds) based on the given parameters.

attempt is an integer representing for which retry the timeout should be calculated. If your retry operation was executed 4 times you had one attempt and 3 retries. If you then want to calculate a new timeout, you should set attempt to 4 (attempts are zero-indexed).

opts can include factor, minTimeout, randomize (boolean) and maxTimeout. They are documented above.

retry.createTimeout() is used internally by retry.timeouts() and is public for you to be able to create your own timeouts for reinserting an item, see issue #13.

retry.wrap(obj, [options], [methodNames])

Wrap all functions of the obj with retry. Optionally you can pass operation options and an array of method names which need to be wrapped.


retry.wrap(obj, ['method1', 'method2']);

retry.wrap(obj, {retries: 3});

retry.wrap(obj, {retries: 3}, ['method1', 'method2']);

The options object can take any options that the usual call to retry.operation can take.

new RetryOperation(timeouts)

Creates a new RetryOperation where timeouts is an array where each value is a timeout given in milliseconds.


Returns an array of all errors that have been passed to retryOperation.retry() so far.


A reference to the error object that occured most frequently. Errors are compared using the error.message property.

If multiple error messages occured the same amount of time, the last error object with that message is returned.

If no errors occured so far, the value is null.

retryOperation.attempt(fn, timeoutOps)

Defines the function fn that is to be retried and executes it for the first time right away. The fn function can receive an optional currentAttempt callback that represents the number of attempts to execute fn so far.

Optionally defines timeoutOps which is an object having a property timeout in miliseconds and a property cb callback function. Whenever your retry operation takes longer than timeout to execute, the timeout callback function cb is called.


This is an alias for retryOperation.attempt(fn). This is deprecated.


This is an alias for retryOperation.attempt(fn). This is deprecated.


Returns false when no error value is given, or the maximum amount of retries has been reached.

Otherwise it returns true, and retries the operation after the timeout for the current attempt number.


Returns an int representing the number of attempts it took to call fn before it was successful.


retry is licensed under the MIT license.


0.7.0 Some bugfixes and made retry.createTimeout() public. Fixed issues #10, #12, and #13.

0.6.0 Introduced optional timeOps parameter for the attempt() function which is an object having a property timeout in miliseconds and a property cb callback function. Whenever your retry operation takes longer than timeout to execute, the timeout callback function cb is called.

0.5.0 Some minor refactorings.

0.4.0 Changed retryOperation.try() to retryOperation.attempt(). Deprecated the aliases start() and try() for it.

0.3.0 Added retryOperation.start() which is an alias for retryOperation.try().

0.2.0 Added attempts() function and parameter to retryOperation.try() representing the number of attempts it took to call fn().

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