Sidekiq and Upstart


The best and most reliable way to manage multiple Sidekiq processes is with Upstart. Many developers know little to nothing about Upstart so I wanted to write up how to integrate Sidekiq with Upstart. With Upstart doing the hard work, it becomes easy to manage deployments with Capistrano or another similar tool.

Starting Sidekiq

The Sidekiq repo has example .conf files you can use as a template to create your own services. Customize the .conf files as necessary and place them in /etc/init; they tell Upstart when and how to start the associated processes.

The workers service is a “fake” service which knows how to start/stop N sidekiq processes. Upon machine boot, Upstart will start workers which will start those N processes. Within workers.conf we’ve declared how many processes we want to start:


If you want to quickly shut down all Sidekiq processes, run stop workers. Start them back up with start workers. Of course you can do both with restart workers. It literally can’t be any easier!

The sidekiq service is an “instance” service, allowing you to create N processes. It requires an index parameter to define which instance you are controlling:

$ start sidekiq index=0
$ start sidekiq index=1
$ stop sidekiq index=2


Deployment should do two things: quiet Sidekiq as early as possible and restart as late as possible.

Quieting Sidekiq

During a deployment, we want to signal Sidekiq to stop processing jobs as early as possible so Sidekiq has as much time as possible to finish any jobs in progress. We do this by sending each process the USR1 signal, here’s a Capistrano task which does that:

task :quiet do
  on roles(:worker) do
    puts capture("sudo pgrep -f 'sidekiq' | xargs kill -USR1")

Note that workers does not support reload since it doesn’t map to a single process so we have to use that pgrep hack.

You can use Upstart’s reload command to quiet a specific instance:

$ reload sidekiq index=X

Restarting Sidekiq

Restarting is easy: restart workers. This will actually stop and then start the processes.

task :restart do
  on roles(:worker) do
    puts capture("sudo restart workers")


In other words, stop reinventing the wheel and let the operating system do the hard work for you! I hope this makes your Sidekiq deployment cleaner and more stable.