Sidekiq Background Workers

Rails applications commonly defer complex tasks that take a long to complete to a background worker to make web responses seem fast. This guide shows how to use Sidekiq, a popular open-source Rails background job framework, to set up background workers, but it could be done with other great libraries like Good Job, Resque, etc.

Provision a Redis server

Sidekiq depends on Redis to communicate between the Rails server process and the background workers. Follow the Redis setup guide to provision a Redis server and set a REDIS_URL within the Rails app. Be sure to set the REDIS_URL via a secret as demonstrated here.

Verify the REDIS_URL is available to your Rails application before you continue by running:

fly ssh console -C "printenv REDIS_URL"

If you don’t see REDIS_URL in the command above, Sidekiq won’t be able to connect and process background jobs.

Run multiple processes

Most production Rails applications run background workers in a separate process. There’s a few ways of accomplishing that on Fly that are outlined in the multiple-processes docs.

The quickest way to run multiple processes in one region is via the processes directive in the fly.toml file.

The [processes] directive currently only works within a single Fly region. Scaling a Rails application to multiple regions requires a different approach to running multiple processes.

Add the following to the fly.toml:

app = "bin/rails server"
worker = "bundle exec sidekiq"

Then under the [http_service] directive, add processes = ["app"]. The configuration file should look something like this:

  processes = ["app"] # this service only applies to the app process
  internal_port = 3000
  force_https = true
  auto_stop_machines = true
  auto_start_machines = true
  min_machines_running = 0

This associates the process with the service that Fly launches.

Deploy and test

Once multiple processes are configured in the fly.toml file, deploy them via:

fly deploy

If all goes well the application should launch with both app and worker processes. Be sure to run through the application and test features that kick-off background jobs. If you’re having issues getting it working, run fly logs to see errors.


Scaling up and down processes may be accomplished by running:

fly scale count app=3 worker=3

To view the current state of the application’s scale, run:

fly status
  Name     = my-rails-app
  Owner    = personal
  Version  = 41
  Status   = running
  Hostname =

15088508  worker  41      ord     run     running                     0         34s ago
8789ef49  app     41      ord     run     running 1 total, 1 passing  0         2022-07-26T16:06:34Z
c419942b  app     41      ord     run     running 1 total, 1 passing  0         2022-07-26T16:05:52Z
ea7af986  app     41      ord     run     running 1 total, 1 passing  0         2022-07-26T16:05:52Z
d681c33d  worker  41      ord     run     running                     0         2022-07-26T15:42:30Z
d8d8dc08  worker  41      ord     run     running                     0         2022-07-26T15:42:30Z

In this case, we can see that 3 worker processes and 3 app processes are running in the ord region.