Resque is widely used Redis-backed Ruby library for creating background jobs. One thing we thought Resque missed, is killing a forked child of Resque worker based on consumed memories.

resque-worker-killer gem provides automatic kill of a forked child of Resque worker based on process memory size (RSS) not to exceed the maximum allowed memory size.

The name was inspired by unicorn-worker-killer :-p


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'resque-worker-killer'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install resque-worker-killer


Use the plugin:

require 'resque'
require 'resque-worker-killer'

class MyJob
  extend Resque::Plugins::WorkerKiller
  @queue = :example_queue

  extend Resque::Plugins::WorkerKiller
  @worker_killer_monitor_interval = 0.5 # sec
  @worker_killer_mem_limit = 300_000 # KB
  @worker_killer_max_term = 10 # try TERM 10 times, then KILL
  @worker_killer_verbose = false # verbose log
  @worker_killer_logger = Resque.logger

  def self.perform(*args)
    puts 'started'
    sleep 10
    puts 'finished'
  rescue Resque::TermException => e # env TERM_CHILD=1
    puts 'terminated'


Resque requires to set TERM_CHILD environment variable to accept killing a forked child with SIGTERM.

$ TERM_CHILD=1 bundle exec rake resque:work


  • Without TERM_CHILD=1, set @worker_killter_max_term = 0 to send SIGKILL immediately
  • With TERM_CHILD=1, set @worker_killer_max_term > 0 to try SIGTERM first, then SIGKILL

With TERM_CHILD=1, Resque::TermException is raised if a forked child is killed by SIGTERM.


Options are:

  • @worker_killer_monitor_interval: Monotring interval to check RSS size (default: 1.0 sec)
  • @worker_killer_mem_limit: RSS usage limit, in killobytes (default: 300MB)
  • @worker_killer_max_term: Try kiling child process with SIGTERM in max_term times, then SIGKILL if it still does not die. Please note that setting TERM_CHILD environment variable is required to accept killing the child with SIGTERM. The default is, 10 with TERM_CHILD=1, 0 without TERM_CHILD=1.
  • @worker_killer_verbose: Verbose log
  • @worker_killer_logger: Logger instance (default: Resque.logger)


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributor Covenant code of conduct.


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.