Redis client library

redis - a node.js redis client

This is a complete Redis client for node.js. It supports all Redis commands, including many recently added commands like EVAL from experimental Redis server branches.

Install with:

npm install redis

Pieter Noordhuis has provided a binding to the official hiredis C library, which is non-blocking and fast. To use hiredis, do:

npm install hiredis redis

If hiredis is installed, node_redis will use it by default. Otherwise, a pure JavaScript parser will be used.

If you use hiredis, be sure to rebuild it whenever you upgrade your version of node. There are mysterious failures that can happen between node and native code modules after a node upgrade.

Simple example, included as examples/simple.js:

    var redis = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient();
    // if you'd like to select database 3, instead of 0 (default), call 
    //, function() { /* ... */ }); 
    client.on("error", function (err) {
        console.log("Error " + err);
    client.set("string key", "string val", redis.print);
    client.hset("hash key", "hashtest 1", "some value", redis.print);
    client.hset(["hash key", "hashtest 2", "some other value"], redis.print);
    client.hkeys("hash key", function (errreplies) {
        console.log(replies.length + " replies:");
        replies.forEach(function (replyi) {
            console.log("    " + i + "" + reply);

This will display:

mjr:~/work/node_redis (master)$ node example.js
Reply: OK
Reply: 0
Reply: 0
2 replies:
    0: hashtest 1
    1: hashtest 2
mjr:~/work/node_redis (master)$

Here are typical results of multi_bench.js which is similar to redis-benchmark from the Redis distribution. It uses 50 concurrent connections with no pipelining.

JavaScript parser:

PING: 20000 ops 42283.30 ops/sec 0/5/1.182
SET: 20000 ops 32948.93 ops/sec 1/7/1.515
GET: 20000 ops 28694.40 ops/sec 0/9/1.740
INCR: 20000 ops 39370.08 ops/sec 0/8/1.269
LPUSH: 20000 ops 36429.87 ops/sec 0/8/1.370
LRANGE (10 elements): 20000 ops 9891.20 ops/sec 1/9/5.048
LRANGE (100 elements): 20000 ops 1384.56 ops/sec 10/91/36.072

hiredis parser:

PING: 20000 ops 46189.38 ops/sec 1/4/1.082
SET: 20000 ops 41237.11 ops/sec 0/6/1.210
GET: 20000 ops 39682.54 ops/sec 1/7/1.257
INCR: 20000 ops 40080.16 ops/sec 0/8/1.242
LPUSH: 20000 ops 41152.26 ops/sec 0/3/1.212
LRANGE (10 elements): 20000 ops 36563.07 ops/sec 1/8/1.363
LRANGE (100 elements): 20000 ops 21834.06 ops/sec 0/9/2.287

The performance of node_redis improves dramatically with pipelining, which happens automatically in most normal programs.

Each Redis command is exposed as a function on the client object. All functions take either an args Array plus optional callback Function or a variable number of individual arguments followed by an optional callback. Here is an example of passing an array of arguments and a callback:

client.mset(["test keys 1", "test val 1", "test keys 2", "test val 2"], function (err, res) {});

Here is that same call in the second style:

client.mset("test keys 1", "test val 1", "test keys 2", "test val 2", function (err, res) {});

Note that in either form the callback is optional:

client.set("some key", "some val");
client.set(["some other key", "some val"]);

If the key is missing, reply will be null (probably):

client.get("missingkey", function(err, reply) {
    // reply is null when the key is missing

For a list of Redis commands, see Redis Command Reference

The commands can be specified in uppercase or lowercase for convenience. client.get() is the same as client.GET().

Minimal parsing is done on the replies. Commands that return a single line reply return JavaScript Strings, integer replies return JavaScript Numbers, "bulk" replies return node Buffers, and "multi bulk" replies return a JavaScript Array of node Buffers. HGETALL returns an Object with Buffers keyed by the hash keys.


client will emit some events about the state of the connection to the Redis server.

client will emit ready a connection is established to the Redis server and the server reports that it is ready to receive commands. Commands issued before the ready event are queued, then replayed just before this event is emitted.

client will emit connect at the same time as it emits ready unless client.options.no_ready_check is set. If this options is set, connect will be emitted when the stream is connected, and then you are free to try to send commands.

client will emit error when encountering an error connecting to the Redis server.

Note that "error" is a special event type in node. If there are no listeners for an "error" event, node will exit. This is usually what you want, but it can lead to some cryptic error messages like this:

mjr:~/work/node_redis (master)$ node example.js

    throw e;
Error: ECONNREFUSED, Connection refused
    at IOWatcher.callback (net:870:22)
    at node.js:607:9

Not very useful in diagnosing the problem, but if your program isn't ready to handle this, it is probably the right thing to just exit.

client will also emit error if an exception is thrown inside of node_redis for whatever reason. It would be nice to distinguish these two cases.

client will emit end when an established Redis server connection has closed.

client will emit drain when the TCP connection to the Redis server has been buffering, but is now writable. This event can be used to stream commands in to Redis and adapt to backpressure. Right now, you need to check client.command_queue.length to decide when to reduce your send rate. Then you can resume sending when you get drain.

client will emit idle when there are no outstanding commands that are awaiting a response.

  • redis.createClient() = redis.createClient(6379, '', {})
  • redis.createClient(options) = redis.createClient(6379, '', options)
  • redis.createClient(unix_socket, options)
  • redis.createClient(port, host, options)

If you have redis-server running on the same computer as node, then the defaults for port and host are probably fine. options in an object with the following possible properties:

  • parser: which Redis protocol reply parser to use. Defaults to hiredis if that module is installed. This may also be set to javascript.
  • return_buffers: defaults to false. If set to true, then all replies will be sent to callbacks as node Buffer objects instead of JavaScript Strings.
  • detect_buffers: default to false. If set to true, then replies will be sent to callbacks as node Buffer objects if any of the input arguments to the original command were Buffer objects. This option lets you switch between Buffers and Strings on a per-command basis, whereas return_buffers applies to every command on a client.
  • socket_nodelay: defaults to true. Whether to call setNoDelay() on the TCP stream, which disables the Nagle algorithm on the underlying socket. Setting this option to false can result in additional throughput at the cost of more latency. Most applications will want this set to true.
  • socket_keepalive defaults to true. Whether the keep-alive functionality is enabled on the underlying socket.
  • no_ready_check: defaults to false. When a connection is established to the Redis server, the server might still be loading the database from disk. While loading, the server not respond to any commands. To work around this, node_redis has a "ready check" which sends the INFO command to the server. The response from the INFO command indicates whether the server is ready for more commands. When ready, node_redis emits a ready event. Setting no_ready_check to true will inhibit this check.
  • enable_offline_queue: defaults to true. By default, if there is no active connection to the redis server, commands are added to a queue and are executed once the connection has been established. Setting enable_offline_queue to false will disable this feature and the callback will be execute immediately with an error, or an error will be thrown if no callback is specified.
  • retry_max_delay: defaults to null. By default every time the client tries to connect and fails time before reconnection (delay) almost doubles. This delay normally grows infinitely, but setting retry_max_delay limits delay to maximum value, provided in milliseconds.
  • connect_timeout defaults to false. By default client will try reconnecting until connected. Setting connect_timeout limits total time for client to reconnect. Value is provided in milliseconds and is counted once the disconnect occured.
  • max_attempts defaults to null. By default client will try reconnecting until connected. Setting max_attempts limits total amount of reconnects.
  • auth_pass defaults to null. By default client will try connecting without auth. If set, client will run redis auth command on connect.
  • family defaults to IPv4. The client connects in IPv4 if not specified or if the DNS resolution returns an IPv4 address. You can force an IPv6 if you set the family to 'IPv6'. See nodejs net or dns modules how to use the family type.
    var redis = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient({detect_buffers: true});
    client.set("foo_rand000000000000", "OK");
    // This will return a JavaScript String 
    client.get("foo_rand000000000000", function (errreply) {
        console.log(reply.toString()); // Will print `OK` 
    // This will return a Buffer since original key is specified as a Buffer 
    client.get(new Buffer("foo_rand000000000000"), function (errreply) {
        console.log(reply.toString()); // Will print `<Buffer 4f 4b>` 

createClient() returns a RedisClient object that is named client in all of the examples here.

When connecting to Redis servers that require authentication, the AUTH command must be sent as the first command after connecting. This can be tricky to coordinate with reconnections, the ready check, etc. To make this easier, client.auth() stashes password and will send it after each connection, including reconnections. callback is invoked only once, after the response to the very first AUTH command sent. NOTE: Your call to client.auth() should not be inside the ready handler. If you are doing this wrong, client will emit an error that looks something like this Error: Ready check failed: ERR operation not permitted.

Forcibly close the connection to the Redis server. Note that this does not wait until all replies have been parsed. If you want to exit cleanly, call client.quit() to send the QUIT command after you have handled all replies.

This example closes the connection to the Redis server before the replies have been read. You probably don't want to do this:

    var redis = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient();
    client.set("foo_rand000000000000", "some fantastic value");
    client.get("foo_rand000000000000", function (errreply) {

client.end() is useful for timeout cases where something is stuck or taking too long and you want to start over.

Call unref() on the underlying socket connection to the Redis server, allowing the program to exit once no more commands are pending.

This is an experimental feature, and only supports a subset of the Redis protocol. Any commands where client state is saved on the Redis server, e.g. *SUBSCRIBE or the blocking BL* commands will NOT work with .unref().

var redis = require("redis")
var client = redis.createClient()
    Calling unref() will allow this program to exit immediately after the get command finishes. Otherwise the client would hang as long as the client-server connection is alive.
client.get("foo", function (errvalue){
    if (err) throw(err)

Most Redis commands take a single String or an Array of Strings as arguments, and replies are sent back as a single String or an Array of Strings. When dealing with hash values, there are a couple of useful exceptions to this.

The reply from an HGETALL command will be converted into a JavaScript Object by node_redis. That way you can interact with the responses using JavaScript syntax.


client.hmset("hosts", "mjr", "1", "another", "23", "home", "1234");
client.hgetall("hosts", function (err, obj) {


{ mjr: '1', another: '23', home: '1234' }

Multiple values in a hash can be set by supplying an object:

client.HMSET(key2, {
    "0123456789": "abcdefghij", // NOTE: key and value will be coerced to strings
    "some manner of key": "a type of value"

The properties and values of this Object will be set as keys and values in the Redis hash.

Multiple values may also be set by supplying a list:

client.HMSET(key1, "0123456789", "abcdefghij", "some manner of key", "a type of value");

Here is a simple example of the API for publish / subscribe. This program opens two client connections, subscribes to a channel on one of them, and publishes to that channel on the other:

    var redis = require("redis"),
        client1 = redis.createClient(), client2 = redis.createClient(),
        msg_count = 0;
    client1.on("subscribe", function (channelcount) {
        client2.publish("a nice channel", "I am sending a message.");
        client2.publish("a nice channel", "I am sending a second message.");
        client2.publish("a nice channel", "I am sending my last message.");
    client1.on("message", function (channelmessage) {
        console.log("client1 channel " + channel + "" + message);
        msg_count += 1;
        if (msg_count === 3) {
    client1.incr("did a thing");
    client1.subscribe("a nice channel");

When a client issues a SUBSCRIBE or PSUBSCRIBE, that connection is put into a "subscriber" mode. At that point, only commands that modify the subscription set are valid. When the subscription set is empty, the connection is put back into regular mode.

If you need to send regular commands to Redis while in subscriber mode, just open another connection.

If a client has subscriptions active, it may emit these events:

Client will emit message for every message received that matches an active subscription. Listeners are passed the channel name as channel and the message Buffer as message.

Client will emit pmessage for every message received that matches an active subscription pattern. Listeners are passed the original pattern used with PSUBSCRIBE as pattern, the sending channel name as channel, and the message Buffer as message.

Client will emit subscribe in response to a SUBSCRIBE command. Listeners are passed the channel name as channel and the new count of subscriptions for this client as count.

Client will emit psubscribe in response to a PSUBSCRIBE command. Listeners are passed the original pattern as pattern, and the new count of subscriptions for this client as count.

Client will emit unsubscribe in response to a UNSUBSCRIBE command. Listeners are passed the channel name as channel and the new count of subscriptions for this client as count. When count is 0, this client has left subscriber mode and no more subscriber events will be emitted.

Client will emit punsubscribe in response to a PUNSUBSCRIBE command. Listeners are passed the channel name as channel and the new count of subscriptions for this client as count. When count is 0, this client has left subscriber mode and no more subscriber events will be emitted.

MULTI commands are queued up until an EXEC is issued, and then all commands are run atomically by Redis. The interface in node_redis is to return an individual Multi object by calling client.multi().

    var redis  = require("./index"),
        client = redis.createClient(), set_size = 20;
    client.sadd("bigset", "a member");
    client.sadd("bigset", "another member");
    while (set_size > 0) {
        client.sadd("bigset", "member " + set_size);
        set_size -= 1;
    // multi chain with an individual callback 
        .keys("*", function (errreplies) {
            // NOTE: code in this callback is NOT atomic 
            // this only happens after the the .exec call finishes. 
            client.mget(replies, redis.print);
        .exec(function (errreplies) {
            console.log("MULTI got " + replies.length + " replies");
            replies.forEach(function (replyindex) {
                console.log("Reply " + index + "" + reply.toString());

client.multi() is a constructor that returns a Multi object. Multi objects share all of the same command methods as client objects do. Commands are queued up inside the Multi object until Multi.exec() is invoked.

The callback of .exec() will get invoked with two arguments:

  • err type: null | Array err is either null or an array of Error Objects corresponding the the sequence the commands where chained. The last item of the array will always be an EXECABORT type of error originating from the .exec() itself.
  • results type: null | Array results is an array of responses corresponding the the sequence the commands where chained.

You can either chain together MULTI commands as in the above example, or you can queue individual commands while still sending regular client command as in this example:

    var redis  = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient(), multi;
    // start a separate multi command queue 
    multi = client.multi();
    multi.incr("incr thing", redis.print);
    multi.incr("incr other thing", redis.print);
    // runs immediately 
    client.mset("incr thing", 100, "incr other thing", 1, redis.print);
    // drains multi queue and runs atomically 
    multi.exec(function (errreplies) {
        console.log(replies); // 101, 2 
    // you can re-run the same transaction if you like 
    multi.exec(function (errreplies) {
        console.log(replies); // 102, 3 

In addition to adding commands to the MULTI queue individually, you can also pass an array of commands and arguments to the constructor:

    var redis  = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient(), multi;
        ["mget", "multifoo", "multibar", redis.print],
        ["incr", "multifoo"],
        ["incr", "multibar"]
    ]).exec(function (errreplies) {

Redis supports the MONITOR command, which lets you see all commands received by the Redis server across all client connections, including from other client libraries and other computers.

After you send the MONITOR command, no other commands are valid on that connection. node_redis will emit a monitor event for every new monitor message that comes across. The callback for the monitor event takes a timestamp from the Redis server and an array of command arguments.

Here is a simple example:

    var client  = require("redis").createClient(),
        util = require("util");
    client.monitor(function (errres) {
        console.log("Entering monitoring mode.");
    client.on("monitor", function (timeargs) {
        console.log(time + "" + util.inspect(args));


Some other things you might like to know about.

After the ready probe completes, the results from the INFO command are saved in the client.server_info object.

The versions key contains an array of the elements of the version string for easy comparison.

> client.server_info.redis_version
> client.server_info.versions
[ 2, 3, 0 ]

A handy callback function for displaying return values when testing. Example:

    var redis = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient();
    client.on("connect", function () {
        client.set("foo_rand000000000000", "some fantastic value", redis.print);
        client.get("foo_rand000000000000", redis.print);

This will print:

Reply: OK
Reply: some fantastic value

Note that this program will not exit cleanly because the client is still connected.

Boolean to enable debug mode and protocol tracing.

    var redis = require("redis"),
        client = redis.createClient();
    redis.debug_mode = true;
    client.on("connect", function () {
        client.set("foo_rand000000000000", "some fantastic value");

This will display:

mjr:~/work/node_redis (master)$ node ~/example.js
send command: *3
some fantastic value

on_data: +OK

send command is data sent into Redis and on_data is data received from Redis.

To execute redis multi-word commands like SCRIPT LOAD or CLIENT LIST pass the second word as first parameter:

client.script('load', 'return 1');
client.multi().script('load', 'return 1').exec(...);
client.multi([['script', 'load', 'return 1']]).exec(...);

Used internally to send commands to Redis. For convenience, nearly all commands that are published on the Redis Wiki have been added to the client object. However, if I missed any, or if new commands are introduced before this library is updated, you can use send_command() to send arbitrary commands to Redis.

All commands are sent as multi-bulk commands. args can either be an Array of arguments, or omitted.

Boolean tracking the state of the connection to the Redis server.

The number of commands that have been sent to the Redis server but not yet replied to. You can use this to enforce some kind of maximum queue depth for commands while connected.

Don't mess with client.command_queue though unless you really know what you are doing.

The number of commands that have been queued up for a future connection. You can use this to enforce some kind of maximum queue depth for pre-connection commands.

Current delay in milliseconds before a connection retry will be attempted. This starts at 250.

Multiplier for future retry timeouts. This should be larger than 1 to add more time between retries. Defaults to 1.7. The default initial connection retry is 250, so the second retry will be 425, followed by 723.5, etc.

This applies to anything that uses an optional [WITHSCORES] or [LIMIT offset count] in the documentation.


var args = [ 'myzset', 1, 'one', 2, 'two', 3, 'three', 99, 'ninety-nine' ];
client.zadd(args, function (errresponse) {
    if (err) throw err;
    console.log('added '+response+' items.');
    // -Infinity and +Infinity also work 
    var args1 = [ 'myzset', '+inf', '-inf' ];
    client.zrevrangebyscore(args1, function (errresponse) {
        if (err) throw err;
        console.log('example1', response);
        // write your code here 
    var max = 3, min = 1, offset = 1, count = 2;
    var args2 = [ 'myzset', max, min, 'WITHSCORES', 'LIMIT', offset, count ];
    client.zrevrangebyscore(args2, function (errresponse) {
        if (err) throw err;
        console.log('example2', response);
        // write your code here 

Better tests for auth, disconnect/reconnect, and all combinations thereof.

Stream large set/get values into and out of Redis. Otherwise the entire value must be in node's memory.

Performance can be better for very large values.

I think there are more performance improvements left in there for smaller values, especially for large lists of small values.

  • open a pull request and then wait for feedback (if DTrejo does not get back to you within 2 days, comment again with indignation!)

Some people have have added features and fixed bugs in node_redis other than me.

Ordered by date of first contribution. Auto-generated on Wed Jul 25 2012 19:14:59 GMT-0700 (PDT).


Copyright (c) 2010 Matthew Ranney,

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.