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Readthis is a Redis backed cache client for Ruby. It is a drop in replacement for any ActiveSupport compliant cache and can also be used for session storage. Above all Readthis emphasizes performance, simplicity, and explicitness.

For new projects there isn't any reason to stick with Memcached. Redis is as fast, if not faster in many scenarios, and is far more likely to be used elsewhere in the stack. See this blog post for more details.

Footprint & Performance

See Performance


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'readthis'
gem 'hiredis' # Highly recommended


Use it the same way as any other ActiveSupport::Cache::Store. Within a Rails environment config:

config.cache_store = :readthis_store, {
  expires_in: 2.weeks.to_i,
  namespace: 'cache',
  redis: { url: ENV.fetch('REDIS_URL'), driver: :hiredis }

Otherwise you can use it anywhere, without any reliance on ActiveSupport:

require 'readthis'

cache =
  expires_in: 2.weeks.to_i,
  redis: { url: ENV.fetch('REDIS_URL') }

You can also specify host, port, db or any other valid Redis options. For more details about connection options see in redis gem documentation

Instances & Databases

An isolated Redis instance that is only used for caching is ideal. Dedicated instances have numerous benefits like: more predictable performance, avoiding expires in favor of LRU, and tuning the persistence mechanism. See Optimizing Redis Usage for Caching for more details.

At the very least, you'll want to use a specific database for caching. In the event the database needs to be purged you can do so with a single clear command, rather than finding all keys in a namespace and deleting them. Appending a number between 0 and 15 will specify the redis database, which defaults to 0. For example, using database 2:



Be sure to use an integer value when setting expiration time. The default representation of ActiveSupport::Duration values won't work when setting expiration time, which will cause all keys to have -1 as the TTL. Expiration values are always cast as an integer on write. For example: 1.week) # don't do this 1.week.to_i) # do this

By using the refresh option the TTL for keys can be refreshed automatically every time the key is read. This is helpful for ensuring commonly hit keys are kept cached, effectively making the cache a hybrid LRU. true)

Be aware that refresh adds a slight overhead to all read operations, as they are now all write operations as well.


Compression can be enabled for all actions by passing the compress flag. By default all values greater than 1024k will be compressed automatically. If there is any content has not been stored with compression, or perhaps was compressed but is beneath the compression threshold, it will be passed through as is. This means it is safe to enable or change compression with an existing cache. There will be a decoding performance penalty in this case, but it should be minor.

config.cache_store = :readthis_store, {
  compress: true,
  compression_threshold: 2.kilobytes


Readthis uses Ruby's Marshal module for serializing all values by default. This isn't always the fastest option, and depending on your use case it may be desirable to use a faster but less flexible serializer.

By default Readthis knows about 3 different serializers:

  • Marshal
  • JSON
  • Passthrough

If all cached data can safely be represented as a string then use the pass-through serializer: Readthis::Passthrough)

You can introduce up to four additional serializers by configuring serializers on the Readthis module. For example, if you wanted to use the extremely fast Oj library for JSON serialization:

Readthis.serializers << Oj

# Freeze the serializers to ensure they aren't changed at runtime.
Readthis.serializers.freeze! Oj)

Be aware that the order in which you add serializers matters. Serializers are sticky and a flag is stored with each cached value. If you subsequently go to deserialize values and haven't configured the same serializers in the same order your application will raise errors.

Fault Tolerance

In some situations it is desirable to keep serving requests from disk or the database if Redis crashes. This can be achieved with connection fault tolerance by enabling it at the top level:

Readthis.fault_tolerant = true

The default value is false, because while it may work for fetch operations, it isn't compatible with other state-based commands like increment.

Running Arbitrary Redis Commands

Readthis provides access to the underlying Redis connection pool, allowing you to run arbitrary commands directly through the cache instance. For example, if you wanted to expire a key manually using an instance of Rails.cache:

Rails.cache.pool.with { |client| client.expire('foo-key', 60) }

Differences From ActiveSupport::Cache

Readthis supports all of standard cache methods except for the following:

  • cleanup - Redis does this with TTL or LRU already.
  • mute and silence! - You must subscribe to the events /cache*.active_support/ with ActiveSupport::Notifications to log cache calls manually.

Like other ActiveSupport::Cache implementations it is possible to cache nil as a value. However, the fetch methods treat nil values as a cache miss and re-generate/re-cache the value. Caching nil isn't recommended.

Session Storage

By using ActionDispatch::Session::CacheStore it's possible to reuse :readthis_store or specify a new Readthis cache store for storing sessions.

Rails.application.config.session_store :cache_store

To specify a separate Readthis instance you can use the :cache option:

Rails.application.config.session_store :cache_store,
  expire_after: 2.weeks.to_i


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request