Integrating Action Cable with Passenger + Nginx

Passenger + Nginx is fully compatible with Action Cable. You need at least Passenger version 5.0.24.

There are two ways to setup Action Cable with Passenger + Nginx:

  1. Running the Action Cable server on the same host and port, under a sub-URI
  2. Running the Action Cable server on a different host or port

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Requirements

  • You need at least Passenger 5.0.24.
  • You need Redis, PostgreSQL, or any other inter-process adapter supported by Action Cable.

Preparation: edit 'config/cable.yml'

Passenger runs the Action Cable internally as a separate process. Action Cable defaults to the 'async' adapter, which does not work when multiple processes are involved. So you need to configure Action Cable to use a different adapter, such as Redis or PostgreSQL.

Here is an example that configures config/cable.yml to use Redis:

For example:

production:
  adapter: redis
  url: redis://redis.example.com:6379

local: &local
  adapter: redis
  url: redis://localhost:6379

development: *local
test: *local

Don't forget to start Redis.

Running the Action Cable server on the same host and port, under a sub-URI

This is the default setup as recommended by Rails and is also the easiest. It works by mounting ActionCable.server to a certain path in your config/routes.rb. That way, your Action Cable server will be running on the same host and port as your application, but under a sub-URI.

For example, your routes.rb may contain:

# Serve websocket cable requests in-process
mount ActionCable.server => '/cable'

(Although the routes.rb comment says that mounting ActionCable.server is meant for serving it in-process, Passenger actually insists on running it as a separate process.)

To make this work in Passenger + Nginx, you need to add a snippet to your Nginx virtual host. Suppose that you already had a virtual host for your application, which looks like this:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name www.foo.com;
    root /path-to-your-app/public;
    passenger_enabled on;
}

You need to insert a location block which configures the Action Cable end point, like thisL

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name www.foo.com;
    root /path-to-your-app/public;
    passenger_enabled on;

    ### INSERT THIS!!! ###
    location /cable {
        passenger_app_group_name YOUR_APP_NAME_HERE_action_cable;
        passenger_force_max_concurrent_requests_per_process 0;
    }
}

Running the Action Cable server on a different host or port

You can also run the Action Cable server on a different host and port. This approach allows you to scale out the Action Cable server separately from the normal Rails application processes.

Preparation: configure an Action Cable host and port

Before configuring Passenger, you need to decide on a hostname and port for your Action Cable server. Open config/environments/development.rb or config/environments/production.rb and specify your choice in the config.action_cable.url option.

Step 1: create a Rackup file

This setup requires a Rackup configuration file specifically for Action Cable. It is recommended that you call it cable/config.ru. A basic Rackup configuration for Action Cable looks as follows:

require ::File.expand_path('../../config/environment', __FILE__)
Rails.application.eager_load!

run ActionCable.server

Step 2: create a virtual host for your Action Cable server

Create a virtual host entry as follows:

server {
    listen YOUR_ACTION_CABLE_PORT_NUMBER_HERE;
    server_name YOUR_ACTION_CABLE_HOST_NAME_HERE;
    root /path-to-your-app/public;
    passenger_enabled on;
    passenger_app_group_name YOUR_APP_NAME_HERE_action_cable;
    passenger_app_type rack;
    passenger_startup_file config/cable.ru;
    passenger_force_max_concurrent_requests_per_process 0;
}

Restarting the Action Cable server

Main article: Restarting applications

If you want to restart the Action Cable server, then you must use the passenger-config restart-app command. Touching restart.txt does not work well, because restart.txt is checked at the beginning of every new request. But WebSockets are persistent, so restart.txt won't be checked often.

See also