(c) Joe Damato @joedamato

Memprof is a Ruby level memory profiler that can help you find reference leaks in your application.

Memprof can also do very lightweight function call tracing to figure out which system and library calls are happening in your code.


gem install memprof



12.times{ "abc" }

Start tracking file/line information for objects created after calling Memprof.start, and print out a summary of file:line/class pairs created.

12 file.rb:2:String

Note: Call Memprof.stats again after GC.start to see which objects are cleaned up by the garbage collector:

10.times{ $last_str = "abc" }

puts '=== Before GC'

puts '=== After GC'


After GC.start, only the very last instance of "abc" will still exist:

=== Before GC
     10 file.rb:2:String
=== After GC
      1 file.rb:2:String

Note: Use Memprof.stats("/path/to/file") to write results to a file.

Note: Use Memprof.stats! to clear out tracking data after printing out results.


Simple wrapper for Memprof.stats that will start/stop memprof around a given block of ruby code.

  100.times{ "abc" }
  100.times{ 1.23 + 1 }
  100.times{ }

For the block of ruby code, print out file:line/class pairs for ruby objects created.

100  file.rb:2:String
100  file.rb:3:Float
100  file.rb:4:Module

Note: You can call GC.start at the end of the block to print out only objects that are 'leaking' (i.e. objects that still have inbound references).

Note: Use Memprof.track("/path/to/file") to write the results to a file instead of stdout.


  "hello" + "world"

Dump out all objects created in a given ruby block as detailed json objects.

  "_id": "0x15e5018",

  "file": "file.rb",
  "line": 2,

  "type": "string",
  "class_name": "String",

  "length": 10,
  "data": "helloworld"

Note: Use Memprof.dump("/path/to/filename") to write the json output to a file, one per line.



Dump out all live objects inside the Ruby VM to myapp_heap.json, one per line. heap visualizer

# load memprof before requiring rubygems, so objects created by
# rubygems itself are tracked by memprof too
require `gem which memprof/signal`.strip

require 'rubygems'
require 'myapp'

Installs a URG signal handler and starts tracking file/line information for newly created ruby objects. When the process receives SIGURG, it will fork and call Memprof.dump_all to write out the entire heap to a json file.

Use the memprof command to send the signal and upload the heap to

memprof --pid <PID> --name my_leaky_app --key <API_KEY>


require 'open-uri'
require 'mysql'
require 'memcached'

  10.times{ }
  10.times{ GC.start }
  10.times{ open('') }
  10.times{ Mysql.connect.query("select 1+2") }
  10.times{'memprof') }

For a given block of ruby code, count:

  • number of objects created per type
  • number of calls to and time spent in GC
  • number of calls to and time spent in connect/read/write/select
  • number of calls to and time spent in mysql queries
  • number of calls to and responses to memcached commands
  • number of calls to and bytes through malloc/realloc/free

The resulting json report looks like:

  "objects": {
    "created": 10,
    "types": {
      "module": 10,  #

  "gc": {
    "calls": 10,     # GC.start
    "time": 0.17198

  "fd": {
    "connect": {
      "calls": 10,   # open('')
      "time": 0.0110

  "mysql": {
    "queries": 10,   # Mysql.connect.query("select 1+2")
    "time": 0.0006

  "memcache": {
    "get": {
      "calls": 10,   #'memprof')
      "responses": {
        "notfound": 10

Note: To write json to a file instead, set Memprof.trace_filename = "/path/to/file.json"


Memprof.trace_request(env){ }

Like Memprof.trace, but assume an incoming Rack request and include information about the request itself.

  "start" : 1272424769750716,
  "tracers" : {
    /* ... */
  "rails" : {
    "controller" : "home",
    "action" : "index"
  "request" : {
    "REQUEST_URI" : "/home",
    "REMOTE_ADDR" : "",
    "QUERY_STRING" : null
  "time" : 1.3442



require 'memprof/middleware'

Wrap each request in a Memprof.track to print out all object location/type pairs created during that request.

Note: It is preferable to run this in staging or production mode with Rails applications, since development mode creates a lot of unnecessary objects during each request.

Note: To force a GC run before printing out a report, pass in :force_gc => true to the middleware.


require 'memprof/tracer'
config.middleware.insert(0, Memprof::Tracer)

Wrap each request in a Memprof.trace_request and write results to /tmp/memprof_tracer-PID.json


Similar to Memprof::Tracer, but for legacy Rails 2.2 applications.

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  require 'memprof/tracer'


Memprof supports all 1.8.x (MRI and REE) VMs, as long as they are 64-bit and contain debugging symbols. For best results, use RVM to compile ruby and make sure you are on a 64-bit machine.

The following ruby builds are not supported:

  • Ruby on small/medium EC2 instances (32-bit machines)
  • OSX's default system ruby (no debugging symbols, fat 32/64-bit binary)

Note: Many linux distributions do not package debugging symbols by default. You can usually install these separately, for example using apt-get install libruby1.8-dbg

Coming soon

  • support for Ruby 1.9
  • support for i386/i686 ruby builds


  • Jake Douglas for the Mach-O Snow Leopard support
  • Aman Gupta for various bug fixes and other cleanup
  • Rob Benson for initial 1.9 support and cleanup
  • Paul Barry for force_gc support in Memprof::Middleware