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A multithreaded, Postgres-based ActiveJob backend for Ruby on Rails
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GoodJob is a multithreaded, Postgres-based, Active Job backend for Ruby on Rails.

Inspired by Delayed::Job and Que, GoodJob is designed for maximum compatibility with Ruby on Rails, Active Job, and Postgres to be simple and performant for most workloads.

  • Designed for Active Job. Complete support for async, queues, delays, priorities, timeouts, and retries with near-zero configuration.
  • Built for Rails. Fully adopts Ruby on Rails threading and code execution guidelines with Concurrent::Ruby.
  • Backed by Postgres. Relies upon Postgres integrity, session-level Advisory Locks to provide run-once safety and stay within the limits of schema.rb, and LISTEN/NOTIFY to reduce queuing latency.
  • Fully featured. Includes support for cron-like scheduled jobs, batches, concurrency and throttling controls, and a powerful Web Dashboard (check out the Demo).
  • Flexible and lightweight. Safely runnable within a single existing web process or scaled via an independent CLI process across development, test, and production environments.
  • For most workloads. Targets full-stack teams, economy-minded solo developers, and applications that enqueue 1-million jobs/day and more.

For more of the story of GoodJob, read the introductory blog post.

📊 Comparison of GoodJob with other job queue backends (click to expand)
Queues, priority, retries Database Concurrency Reliability/Integrity Latency
GoodJob ✅ Yes ✅ Postgres ✅ Multithreaded ✅ ACID, Advisory Locks ✅ Postgres LISTEN/NOTIFY
Solid Queue ✅ Yes ✅ Postgres and other databases ✨ 🔶 Multithreaded in forked process ✅ ACID, Advisory Locks 🔶 Polling
Que ✅ Yes 🔶️ Postgres, requires structure.sql ✅ Multithreaded ✅ ACID, Advisory Locks ✅ Postgres LISTEN/NOTIFY
Delayed Job ✅ Yes ✅ Postgres 🔴 Single-threaded ✅ ACID, record-based 🔶 Polling
Sidekiq ✅ Yes 🔴 Redis ✅ Multithreaded 🔴 Crashes lose jobs ✅ Redis BRPOP
Sidekiq Pro ✅ Yes 🔴 Redis ✅ Multithreaded ✅ Redis RPOPLPUSH ✅ Redis RPOPLPUSH

Table of contents

  • Set up
  • Compatibility
  • Configuration
    • Command-line options
      • good_job start
      • good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs
    • Configuration options
    • Global options
    • Dashboard
      • API-only Rails applications
      • Live polling
      • Extending dashboard views
    • Job priority
    • Concurrency controls
      • How concurrency controls work
    • Cron-style repeating/recurring jobs
    • Bulk enqueue
    • Batches
    • Updating
      • Upgrading minor versions
      • Upgrading v3 to v4
      • Upgrading v2 to v3
      • Upgrading v1 to v2
  • Go deeper
    • Exceptions, retries, and reliability
      • Exceptions
      • Retries
      • Action Mailer retries
      • Interrupts, graceful shutdown, and SIGKILL
    • Timeouts
    • Optimize queues, threads, and processes
    • Database connections
    • Production setup
    • Queue performance with Queue Select Limit
    • Execute jobs async / in-process
    • Migrate to GoodJob from a different Active Job backend
    • Monitor and preserve worked jobs
    • Write tests
    • PgBouncer compatibility
    • CLI HTTP health check probes
  • Doing your best job with GoodJob
    • Sizing jobs: mice and elephants
    • Isolating by total latency
    • Configuring your queues
    • Additional observations
  • Contribute
    • Gem development
      • Development setup
      • Rails development harness
      • Running tests
    • Release
  • License

Set up

  1. Add good_job to your application's Gemfile and install the gem:

    bundle add good_job
  2. Run the GoodJob install generator. This will generate a database migration to create a table for GoodJob's job records:

    bin/rails g good_job:install

    Run the migration:

    bin/rails db:migrate

    Optional: If using Rails' multiple databases with the migrations_paths configuration option, use the --database option:

    bin/rails g good_job:install --database animals
    bin/rails db:migrate:animals
  3. Configure the Active Job adapter:

    # config/application.rb or config/environments/{RAILS_ENV}.rb
    config.active_job.queue_adapter = :good_job
  4. Inside of your application, queue your job 🎉:


    GoodJob supports all Active Job features:

    YourJob.set(queue: :some_queue, wait: 5.minutes, priority: 10).perform_later
  5. In Rails' development environment, by default, GoodJob's Adapter executes jobs async in a background thread pool in rails server.

    • Because of Rails deferred autoloading, jobs enqueued via the rails console may not begin executing on a separate server process until the Rails application is fully initialized by loading a web page once.
    • Remember, only Active Job's perform_later sends jobs to the queue adapter; Active Job's perform_now executes the job immediately and does not invoke the queue adapter. GoodJob is not involved in perform_now jobs.
  6. In Rails' test environment, by default, GoodJob's Adapter executes jobs inline immediately in the current thread.

    • Future-scheduled jobs can be executed with GoodJob.perform_inline using a tool like Timecop or ActiveSupport::Testing::TimeHelpers.
    • Note that Active Job's TestAdapter, which powers test helpers (e.g. assert_enqueued_with), may override GoodJob's Adapter in some configurations.
  7. In Rails' production environment, by default, GoodJob's Adapter enqueues jobs in external mode to be executed by a separate execution process:

    • By default, GoodJob separates job enqueuing from job execution so that jobs can be scaled independently of the web server. Use the GoodJob command-line tool to execute jobs:

      bundle exec good_job start

      Ideally the command-line tool should be run on a separate machine or container from the web process. For example, on Heroku:

      web: rails server
      worker: bundle exec good_job start

      The command-line tool supports a variety of options, see the reference below for command-line configuration.

    • GoodJob can also be configured to execute jobs within the web server process to save on resources. This is useful for low-workloads when economy is paramount.

      GOOD_JOB_EXECUTION_MODE=async rails server

      Additional configuration is likely necessary, see the reference below for configuration.


  • Ruby on Rails: 6.0+
  • Ruby: Ruby 2.6+. JRuby 9.3+
  • Postgres: 10.0+


Command-line options

There are several top-level commands available through the good_job command-line tool.

Configuration options are available with help.

good_job start

good_job start executes queued jobs.

$ bundle exec good_job help start

  good_job start

  [--queues=QUEUE_LIST]           # Queues or pools to work from. (env var: GOOD_JOB_QUEUES, default: *)
  [--max-threads=COUNT]           # Default number of threads per pool to use for working jobs. (env var: GOOD_JOB_MAX_THREADS, default: 5)
  [--poll-interval=SECONDS]       # Interval between polls for available jobs in seconds (env var: GOOD_JOB_POLL_INTERVAL, default: 10)
  [--max-cache=COUNT]             # Maximum number of scheduled jobs to cache in memory (env var: GOOD_JOB_MAX_CACHE, default: 10000)
  [--shutdown-timeout=SECONDS]    # Number of seconds to wait for jobs to finish when shutting down before stopping the thread. (env var: GOOD_JOB_SHUTDOWN_TIMEOUT, default: -1 (forever))
  [--enable-cron]                 # Whether to run cron process (default: false)
  [--enable-listen-notify]        # Whether to enqueue and read jobs with Postgres LISTEN/NOTIFY (default: true)
  [--idle-timeout=SECONDS]        # Exit process when no jobs have been performed for this many seconds (env var: GOOD_JOB_IDLE_TIMEOUT, default: nil)
  [--daemonize]                   # Run as a background daemon (default: false)
  [--pidfile=PIDFILE]             # Path to write daemonized Process ID (env var: GOOD_JOB_PIDFILE, default: tmp/pids/
  [--probe-port=PORT]             # Port for http health check (env var: GOOD_JOB_PROBE_PORT, default: nil)
  [--probe-handler=PROBE_HANDLER] # Use 'webrick' to use WEBrick to handle probe server requests which is Rack compliant, otherwise default server that is not Rack compliant is used.
  [--queue-select-limit=COUNT]    # The number of queued jobs to select when polling for a job to run. (env var: GOOD_JOB_QUEUE_SELECT_LIMIT, default: nil)"

Executes queued jobs.

All options can be configured with environment variables.
See option descriptions for the matching environment variable name.

== Configuring queues

Separate multiple queues with commas; exclude queues with a leading minus;
separate isolated execution pools with semicolons and threads with colons.

good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs

good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs destroys preserved job records. See GoodJob.preserve_job_records for when this command is useful.

$ bundle exec good_job help cleanup_preserved_jobs

  good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs

  [--before-seconds-ago=SECONDS] # Destroy records finished more than this many seconds ago (env var:  GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_PRESERVED_JOBS_BEFORE_SECONDS_AGO, default: 1209600 (14 days))

Manually destroys preserved job records.

By default, GoodJob automatically destroys job records when the job is performed
and this command is not required to be used.

Configuration options

Active Job configuration depends on where the code is placed:

  • config.active_job.queue_adapter = :good_job within config/application.rb or config/environments/*.rb.
  • ActiveJob::Base.queue_adapter = :good_job within an initializer (e.g. config/initializers/active_job.rb).

GoodJob configuration can be placed within Rails config directory for all environments (config/application.rb), within a particular environment (e.g. config/environments/development.rb), or within an initializer (e.g. config/initializers/good_job.rb).

Configuration examples:

# config/initializers/good_job.rb OR config/application.rb OR config/environments/{RAILS_ENV}.rb

Rails.application.configure do
  # Configure options individually...
  config.good_job.preserve_job_records = true
  config.good_job.retry_on_unhandled_error = false
  config.good_job.on_thread_error = -> (exception) { }
  config.good_job.execution_mode = :async
  config.good_job.queues = '*'
  config.good_job.max_threads = 5
  config.good_job.poll_interval = 30 # seconds
  config.good_job.shutdown_timeout = 25 # seconds
  config.good_job.enable_cron = true
  config.good_job.cron = { example: { cron: '0 * * * *', class: 'ExampleJob'  } }
  config.good_job.dashboard_default_locale = :en

  # ...or all at once.
  config.good_job = {
    preserve_job_records: true,
    retry_on_unhandled_error: false,
    on_thread_error: -> (exception) { },
    execution_mode: :async,
    queues: '*',
    max_threads: 5,
    poll_interval: 30,
    shutdown_timeout: 25,
    enable_cron: true,
    cron: {
      example: {
        cron: '0 * * * *',
        class: 'ExampleJob'
    dashboard_default_locale: :en,

Available configuration options are:

  • execution_mode (symbol) specifies how and where jobs should be executed. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_EXECUTION_MODE. It can be any one of:

    • :inline executes jobs immediately in whatever process queued them (usually the web server process). This should only be used in test and development environments.
    • :external causes the adapter to enqueue jobs, but not execute them. When using this option (the default for production environments), you’ll need to use the command-line tool to actually execute your jobs.
    • :async (or :async_server) executes jobs in separate threads within the Rails web server process (bundle exec rails server). It can be more economical for small workloads because you don’t need a separate machine or environment for running your jobs, but if your web server is under heavy load or your jobs require a lot of resources, you should choose :external instead. When not in the Rails web server, jobs will execute in :external mode to ensure jobs are not executed within rails console, rails db:migrate, rails assets:prepare, etc.
    • :async_all executes jobs in separate threads in any Rails process.
  • queues (string) sets queues or pools to execute jobs. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_QUEUES.

  • max_threads (integer) sets the default number of threads per pool to use for working jobs. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_MAX_THREADS.

  • poll_interval (integer) sets the number of seconds between polls for jobs when execution_mode is set to :async. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_POLL_INTERVAL. A poll interval of -1 disables polling completely.

    • production default: 10 seconds (in case of a LISTEN/NOTIFY blip)
    • development default: -1, disabled (because the application is likely being restarted often and won't be running unobserved). You can enable it by setting a poll_interval.
    • LISTEN/NOTIFY is enabled in both production and development, so polling is not strictly necessary.
    • If LISTEN/NOTIFY is disabled, you should configure polling for future-scheduled jobs. GoodJob will cache in memory the scheduled time and check for executable jobs at that time. If the cache is exceeded (10k scheduled jobs by default) that's another reason to poll just in case.
  • max_cache (integer) sets the maximum number of scheduled jobs that will be stored in memory to reduce execution latency when also polling for scheduled jobs. Caching 10,000 scheduled jobs uses approximately 20MB of memory. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_MAX_CACHE.

  • shutdown_timeout (integer) number of seconds to wait for jobs to finish when shutting down before stopping the thread. Defaults to forever: -1. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_SHUTDOWN_TIMEOUT.

  • enable_cron (boolean) whether to run cron process. Defaults to false. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_ENABLE_CRON.

  • enable_listen_notify (boolean) whether to enqueue and read jobs with Postgres LISTEN/NOTIFY. Defaults to true. You can also set this with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_ENABLE_LISTEN_NOTIFY.

  • cron (hash) cron configuration. Defaults to {}. You can also set this as a JSON string with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_CRON

  • cleanup_discarded_jobs (boolean) whether to destroy discarded jobs when cleaning up preserved jobs using the $ good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs CLI command or calling GoodJob.cleanup_preserved_jobs. Defaults to true. Can also be set with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_DISCARDED_JOBS. This configuration is only used when {GoodJob.preserve_job_records} is true.

  • cleanup_preserved_jobs_before_seconds_ago (integer) number of seconds to preserve jobs when using the $ good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs CLI command or calling GoodJob.cleanup_preserved_jobs. Defaults to 1209600 (14 days). Can also be set with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_PRESERVED_JOBS_BEFORE_SECONDS_AGO. This configuration is only used when {GoodJob.preserve_job_records} is true.

  • cleanup_interval_jobs (integer) Number of jobs a Scheduler will execute before cleaning up preserved jobs. Defaults to 1000. Disable with false. Can also be set with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_INTERVAL_JOBS and disabled with 0).

  • cleanup_interval_seconds (integer) Number of seconds a Scheduler will wait before cleaning up preserved jobs. Defaults to 600 (10 minutes). Disable with false. Can also be set with the environment variable GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_INTERVAL_SECONDS and disabled with 0).

  • inline_execution_respects_schedule (boolean) Opt-in to future behavior of inline execution respecting scheduled jobs. Defaults to false.

  • logger (Rails Logger) lets you set a custom logger for GoodJob. It should be an instance of a Rails Logger (Default: Rails.logger).

  • preserve_job_records (boolean) keeps job records in your database even after jobs are completed. (Default: true)

  • smaller_number_is_higher_priority (boolean) allows you to specifiy that jobs should be run in ascending order of priority (smallest priority numbers first). This will be enabled by default in the next major version of GoodJob (v4.0), but jobs with the highest priority number are run first by default in all earlier versions of GoodJob.

  • retry_on_unhandled_error (boolean) causes jobs to be re-queued and retried if they raise an instance of StandardError. Be advised this may lead to jobs being repeated infinitely (see below for more on retries). Instances of Exception, like SIGINT, will always be retried, regardless of this attribute’s value. (Default: false)

  • on_thread_error (proc, lambda, or callable) will be called when there is an Exception. It can be useful for logging errors to bug tracking services, like Sentry or Airbrake. Example:

    config.good_job.on_thread_error = -> (exception) { }
  • probe_server_app (Rack application) allows you to specify a Rack application to be used for the probe server. Defaults to nil which uses the default probe server. Example:

    config.good_job.probe_app = -> (env) { [200, {}, ["OK"]] }
  • probe_handler (string) allows you to use WEBrick, a fully Rack compliant webserver instead of the simple default server. Note: You'll need to ensure WEBrick is in your load path as GoodJob doesn't have WEBrick as a dependency. Example:

    config.good_job.probe_handler = 'webrick'

By default, GoodJob configures the following execution modes per environment:

# config/environments/development.rb
config.active_job.queue_adapter = :good_job
config.good_job.execution_mode = :async

# config/environments/test.rb
config.active_job.queue_adapter = :good_job
config.good_job.execution_mode = :inline

# config/environments/production.rb
config.active_job.queue_adapter = :good_job
config.good_job.execution_mode = :external

Global options

Good Job’s general behavior can also be configured via attributes directly on the GoodJob module:

  • GoodJob.configure_active_record { ... } Inject Active Record configuration into GoodJob's base model, for example, when using multiple databases with Active Record or when other custom configuration is necessary for the Active Record model to connect to the Postgres database. Example:

    # config/initializers/good_job.rb
    GoodJob.configure_active_record do
      connects_to database: :special_database
      self.table_name_prefix = "special_application_"
  • GoodJob.active_record_parent_class (string) Alternatively, modify the Active Record parent class inherited by GoodJob's Active Record model GoodJob::Job (defaults to "ActiveRecord::Base"). Configure this The value must be a String to avoid premature initialization of Active Record.

You’ll generally want to configure these in config/initializers/good_job.rb, like so:

# config/initializers/good_job.rb
GoodJob.active_record_parent_class = "ApplicationRecord"

The following options are also configurable via accessors, but you are encouraged to use the configuration attributes instead because these may be deprecated and removed in the future:

  • GoodJob.logger (Rails Logger) lets you set a custom logger for GoodJob. It should be an instance of a Rails Logger.
  • GoodJob.preserve_job_records (boolean) keeps job records in your database even after jobs are completed. (Default: true)
  • GoodJob.retry_on_unhandled_error (boolean) causes jobs to be re-queued and retried if they raise an instance of StandardError. Be advised this may lead to jobs being repeated infinitely (see below for more on retries). Instances of Exception, like SIGINT, will always be retried, regardless of this attribute’s value. (Default: false)
  • GoodJob.on_thread_error (proc, lambda, or callable) will be called when there is an Exception. It can be useful for logging errors to bug tracking services, like Sentry or Airbrake.


Dashboard UI

🚧 GoodJob's dashboard is a work in progress. Please contribute ideas and code on Github.

GoodJob includes a Dashboard as a mountable Rails::Engine.

  1. Mount the engine in your config/routes.rb file. The following will mount it at

    # config/routes.rb
    # ...
    mount GoodJob::Engine => 'good_job'
  2. Configure authentication. Because jobs can potentially contain sensitive information, you should authorize access. For example, using Devise's authenticate helper, that might look like:

    # config/routes.rb
    # ...
    authenticate :user, ->(user) { user.admin? } do
      mount GoodJob::Engine => 'good_job'

    Another option is using basic auth like this:

    # config/initializers/good_job.rb
    GoodJob::Engine.middleware.use(Rack::Auth::Basic) do |username, password|
      ActiveSupport::SecurityUtils.secure_compare(Rails.application.credentials.good_job_username, username) &
        ActiveSupport::SecurityUtils.secure_compare(Rails.application.credentials.good_job_password, password)

    To support custom authentication, you can extend GoodJob's ApplicationController using the following hook:

    # config/initializers/good_job.rb
    ActiveSupport.on_load(:good_job_application_controller) do
      # context here is GoodJob::ApplicationController
      before_action do
        raise'Not Found') unless current_user&.admin?
      def current_user
        # load current user

To view finished jobs (succeeded and discarded) on the Dashboard, GoodJob must be configured to preserve job records. Preservation is enabled by default.

Troubleshooting the Dashboard: Some applications are unable to autoload the Goodjob Engine. To work around this, explicitly require the Engine at the top of your config/application.rb file, immediately after Rails is required and before Bundler requires the Rails' groups.

# config/application.rb
require_relative 'boot'
require 'rails/all'
require 'good_job/engine' # <= Add this line
# ...

API-only Rails applications

API-only Rails applications may not have all of the required Rack middleware for the GoodJob Dashboard to function. To re-add the middleware:

# config/application.rb
module MyApp
  class Application < Rails::Application
    config.middleware.use Rack::MethodOverride
    config.middleware.use ActionDispatch::Flash
    config.middleware.use ActionDispatch::Cookies
    config.middleware.use ActionDispatch::Session::CookieStore

Live polling

The Dashboard can be set to automatically refresh by checking "Live Poll" in the Dashboard header, or by setting ?poll=10 with the interval in seconds (default 30 seconds).

Extending dashboard views

GoodJob exposes some views that are intended to be overriden by placing views in your application:

Warning: these partials expose classes (such as GoodJob::Job) that are considered internal implementation details of GoodJob. You should always test your custom partials after upgrading GoodJob.

For example, if your app deals with widgets and you want to show a link to the widget a job acted on, you can add the following to app/views/good_job/_custom_job_details.html.erb:

<%# file: app/views/good_job/_custom_job_details.html.erb %>
<% arguments = job.active_job.arguments rescue [] %>
<% widgets = { |arg| arg.is_a?(Widget) } %>
<% if widgets.any? %>
  <div class="my-4">
      <% widgets.each do |widget| %>
        <li><%= link_to, main_app.widget_url(widget) %></li>
      <% end %>
<% end %>

As a second example, you may wish to show a link to a log aggregator next to each job execution. You can do this by adding the following to app/views/good_job/_custom_execution_details.html.erb:

<%# file: app/views/good_job/_custom_execution_details.html.erb %>
<div class="py-3">
  <%= link_to "Logs", main_app.logs_url(filter: { job_id: }, start_time: execution.performed_at, end_time: execution.finished_at + 1.minute) %>

Job priority

Higher priority numbers run first in all versions of GoodJob v3.x and below. GoodJob v4.x will change job priority to give smaller numbers higher priority (default: 0), in accordance with Active Job's definition of priority (see #524). To opt-in to this behavior now, set config.good_job.smaller_number_is_higher_priority = true in your GoodJob initializer or application.rb.

Labelled jobs

Labels are the recommended way to add context or metadata to specific jobs. For example, all jobs that have a dependency on an email service could be labeled email. Using labels requires adding the Active Job extension GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Labels to your job class.

class ApplicationJob < ActiveJob::Base
  include GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Labels

# Add a default label to every job within the class
class WelcomeJob < ApplicationJob
  self.good_job_labels = ["email"]

  def perform
    # Labels can be inspected from within the job
    puts good_job_labels # => ["email"]

# Or add to individual jobs when enqueued
WelcomeJob.set(good_job_labels: ["email"]).perform_later

Labels can be used to search jobs in the Dashboard. For example, to find all jobs labeled email, search for email.

Concurrency controls

GoodJob can extend Active Job to provide limits on concurrently running jobs, either at time of enqueue or at perform. Limiting concurrency can help prevent duplicate, double or unnecessary jobs from being enqueued, or race conditions when performing, for example when interacting with 3rd-party APIs.

class MyJob < ApplicationJob
  include GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Concurrency

    # Maximum number of unfinished jobs to allow with the concurrency key
    # Can be an Integer or Lambda/Proc that is invoked in the context of the job
    total_limit: 1,

    # Or, if more control is needed:
    # Maximum number of jobs with the concurrency key to be
    # concurrently enqueued (excludes performing jobs)
    # Can be an Integer or Lambda/Proc that is invoked in the context of the job
    enqueue_limit: 2,

    # Maximum number of jobs with the concurrency key to be
    # concurrently performed (excludes enqueued jobs)
    # Can be an Integer or Lambda/Proc that is invoked in the context of the job
    perform_limit: 1,

    # Maximum number of jobs with the concurrency key to be enqueued within
    # the time period, looking backwards from the current time. Must be an array
    # with two elements: the number of jobs and the time period.
    enqueue_throttle: [10, 1.minute],

    # Maximum number of jobs with the concurrency key to be performed within
    # the time period, looking backwards from the current time. Must be an array
    # with two elements: the number of jobs and the time period.
    perform_throttle: [100, 1.hour],

    # Note: Under heavy load, the total number of jobs may exceed the
    # sum of `enqueue_limit` and `perform_limit` because of race conditions
    # caused by imperfectly disjunctive states. If you need to constrain
    # the total number of jobs, use `total_limit` instead. See #378.

    # A unique key to be globally locked against.
    # Can be String or Lambda/Proc that is invoked in the context of the job.
    # If a key is not provided GoodJob will use the job class name.
    # To disable concurrency control, for example in a subclass, set the
    # key explicitly to nil (e.g. `key: nil` or `key: -> { nil }`)
    # If you provide a custom concurrency key (for example, if concurrency is supposed
    # to be controlled by the first job argument) make sure that it is sufficiently unique across
    # jobs and queues by adding the job class or queue to the key yourself, if needed.
    # Note: When using a model instance as part of your custom concurrency key, make sure
    # to explicitly use its `id` or `to_global_id` because otherwise it will not stringify as expected.
    # Note: Arguments passed to #perform_later can be accessed through Active Job's `arguments` method
    # which is an array containing positional arguments and, optionally, a kwarg hash.
    key: -> { "#{}-#{queue_name}-#{arguments.first}-#{arguments.last[:version]}" } #  MyJob.perform_later("Alice", version: 'v2') => "MyJob-default-Alice-v2"

  def perform(first_name, version:)
    # do work

When testing, the resulting concurrency key value can be inspected:

job = MyJob.perform_later("Alice", version: 'v1')
job.good_job_concurrency_key #=> "MyJob-default-Alice-v1"

How concurrency controls work

GoodJob's concurrency control strategy for perform_limit is "optimistic retry with an incremental backoff". The code is readable.

  • "Optimistic" meaning that the implementation's performance trade-off assumes that collisions are atypical (e.g. two users enqueue the same job at the same time) rather than regular (e.g. the system enqueues thousands of colliding jobs at the same time). Depending on your concurrency requirements, you may also want to manage concurrency through the number of GoodJob threads and processes that are performing a given queue.
  • "Retry with an incremental backoff" means that when perform_limit is exceeded, the job will raise a GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Concurrency::ConcurrencyExceededError which is caught by a retry_on handler which re-schedules the job to execute in the near future with an incremental backoff.
  • First-in-first-out job execution order is not preserved when a job is retried with incremental back-off.
  • For pessimistic usecases that collisions are expected, use number of threads/processes (e.g., good_job --queues "serial:1;-serial:5") to control concurrency. It is also a good idea to use perform_limit as backstop.

Cron-style repeating/recurring jobs

GoodJob can enqueue Active Job jobs on a recurring basis that can be used as a replacement for cron.

Cron-style jobs can be performed by any GoodJob process (e.g., CLI or :async execution mode) that has config.good_job.enable_cron set to true. That is, one or more job executor processes can be configured to perform recurring jobs.

GoodJob's cron uses unique indexes to ensure that only a single job is enqueued at the given time interval. In order for this to work, GoodJob must preserve cron-created job records; these records will be automatically deleted like any other preserved record.

Cron-format is parsed by the fugit gem, which has support for seconds-level resolution (e.g. * * * * * *) and natural language parsing (e.g. every second).

If you use the Dashboard the scheduled tasks can be viewed in the 'cron' menu. In this view you can also disable a task or run/enqueue a task immediately.

# config/environments/application.rb or a specific environment e.g. production.rb

# Enable cron in this process, e.g., only run on the first Heroku worker process
config.good_job.enable_cron = ENV['DYNO'] == 'worker.1' # or `true` or via $GOOD_JOB_ENABLE_CRON

# Configure cron with a hash that has a unique key for each recurring job
config.good_job.cron = {
  # Every 15 minutes, enqueue `ExampleJob.set(priority: -10).perform_later(42, "life", name: "Alice")`
  frequent_task: { # each recurring job must have a unique key
    cron: "*/15 * * * *", # cron-style scheduling format by fugit gem
    class: "ExampleJob", # name of the job class as a String; must reference an Active Job job class
    args: [42, "life"], # positional arguments to pass to the job; can also be a proc e.g. `-> { [] }`
    kwargs: { name: "Alice" }, # keyword arguments to pass to the job; can also be a proc e.g. `-> { { name: NAMES.sample } }`
    set: { priority: -10 }, # additional Active Job properties; can also be a lambda/proc e.g. `-> { { priority: [1,2].sample } }`
    description: "Something helpful", # optional description that appears in Dashboard
  production_task: {
    cron: "0 0,12 * * *",
    class: "ProductionJob",
    enabled_by_default: -> { Rails.env.production? } # Only enable in production, otherwise can be enabled manually through Dashboard
  complex_schedule: {
    class: "ComplexScheduleJob",
    cron: -> (last_ran) { (last_ran.blank? ? : last_ran + 14.hours).at_beginning_of_minute }
  # etc.

Bulk enqueue

GoodJob's Bulk-enqueue functionality can buffer and enqueue multiple jobs at once, using a single INSERT statement. This can more performant when enqueuing a large number of jobs.

# Capture jobs using `.perform_later`:
active_jobs = GoodJob::Bulk.enqueue do
  # If an exception is raised within this block, no jobs will be inserted.

# All Active Job instances are returned from GoodJob::Bulk.enqueue.
# Jobs that have been successfully enqueued have a `provider_job_id` set.

# Bulk enqueue Active Job instances directly without using `.perform_later`:


Batches track a set of jobs, and enqueue an optional callback job when all of the jobs have finished (succeeded or discarded).

  • A simple example that enqueues your MyBatchCallbackJob after the two jobs have finished, and passes along the current user as a batch property:

    GoodJob::Batch.enqueue(on_finish: MyBatchCallbackJob, user: current_user) do
    # When these jobs have finished, it will enqueue your `MyBatchCallbackJob.perform_later(batch, options)`
    class MyBatchCallbackJob < ApplicationJob
      # Callback jobs must accept a `batch` and `options` argument
      def perform(batch, params)
        # The batch object will contain the Batch's properties, which are mutable[:user] # => <User id: 1, ...>
        # Params is a hash containing additional context (more may be added in the future)
        params[:event] # => :finish, :success, :discard
  • Jobs can be added to an existing batch. Jobs in a batch are enqueued and performed immediately/asynchronously. The final callback job will not be enqueued until GoodJob::Batch#enqueue is called.

    batch =
    batch.add do
      10.times { MyJob.perform_later }
    batch.add do
      10.times { OtherJob.perform_later }
    batch.enqueue(on_finish: MyBatchCallbackJob, age: 42)
  • If you need to access the batch within a job that is part of the batch, include GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Batches in your job class:

      class MyJob < ApplicationJob
        include GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Batches
        def perform
          self.batch # => <GoodJob::Batch id: 1, ...>
  • GoodJob::Batch has a number of assignable attributes and methods:

batch =
batch.description = "My batch"
batch.on_finish = "MyBatchCallbackJob" # Callback job when all jobs have finished
batch.on_success = "MyBatchCallbackJob" # Callback job when/if all jobs have succeeded
batch.on_discard = "MyBatchCallbackJob" # Callback job when the first job in the batch is discarded
batch.callback_queue_name = "special_queue" # Optional queue for callback jobs, otherwise will defer to job class
batch.callback_priority = 10 # Optional priority name for callback jobs, otherwise will defer to job class = { age: 42 } # Custom data and state to attach to the batch
batch.add do

batch.discarded? # => Boolean
batch.discarded_at # => <DateTime>
batch.finished? # => Boolean
batch.finished_at # => <DateTime>
batch.succeeded? # => Boolean
batch.active_jobs # => Array of ActiveJob::Base-inherited jobs that are part of the batch

batch = GoodJob::Batch.find(
batch.description = "Updated batch description"

Batch callback jobs

Batch callbacks are Active Job jobs that are enqueued at certain events during the execution of jobs within the batch:

  • :finish - Enqueued when all jobs in the batch have finished, after all retries. Jobs will either be discarded or succeeded.
  • :success - Enqueued only when all jobs in the batch have finished and succeeded.
  • :discard - Enqueued immediately the first time a job in the batch is discarded.

Callback jobs must accept a batch and params argument in their perform method:

class MyBatchCallbackJob < ApplicationJob
  def perform(batch, params)
    # The batch object will contain the Batch's properties[:user] # => <User id: 1, ...>
    # Batches are mutable[:user] = User.find(2)

    # Params is a hash containing additional context (more may be added in the future)
    params[:event] # => :finish, :success, :discard

Complex batches

Consider a multi-stage batch with both parallel and serial job steps:

graph TD
    0{"BatchJob\n{ stage: nil }"}
    0 --> a["WorkJob]\n{ step: a }"]
    0 --> b["WorkJob]\n{ step: b }"]
    0 --> c["WorkJob]\n{ step: c }"]
    a --> 1
    b --> 1
    c --> 1
    1{"BatchJob\n{ stage: 1 }"}
    1 --> d["WorkJob]\n{ step: d }"]
    1 --> e["WorkJob]\n{ step: e }"]
    e --> f["WorkJob]\n{ step: f }"]
    d --> 2
    f --> 2
    2{"BatchJob\n{ stage: 2 }"}

This can be implemented with a single, mutable batch job:

class WorkJob < ApplicationJob
  include GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Batches

  def perform(step)
    # ...
    if step == 'e'
      batch.add { WorkJob.perform_later('f') }

class BatchJob < ApplicationJob
  def perform(batch, options)
      batch.enqueue(stage: 1) do
    elsif[:stage] == 1
      batch.enqueue(stage: 2) do
    elsif[:stage] == 2
      # ...

GoodJob::Batch.enqueue(on_finish: BatchJob)

Other batch details

  • Whether to enqueue a callback job is evaluated once the batch is in an enqueued?-state by using GoodJob::Batch.enqueue or batch.enqueue.
  • Callback job enqueueing will be re-triggered if additional jobs are enqueue'd to the batch; use add to add jobs to the batch without retriggering callback jobs.
  • Callback jobs will be enqueued even if the batch contains no jobs.
  • Callback jobs perform asynchronously. It's possible that :finish and :success or :discard callback jobs perform at the same time. Keep this in mind when updating batch properties.
  • Batch properties are serialized using Active Job serialization. This is flexible, but can lead to deserialization errors if a GlobalID record is directly referenced but is subsequently deleted and thus unloadable.
  • 🚧Batches are a work in progress. Please let us know what would be helpful to improve their functionality and usefulness.


GoodJob follows semantic versioning, though updates may be encouraged through deprecation warnings in minor versions.

Upgrading minor versions

Upgrading between minor versions (e.g. v1.4 to v1.5) should not introduce breaking changes, but can introduce new deprecation warnings and database migration warnings.

Database migrations introduced in minor releases are not required to be applied until the next major release. If you would like to apply newly introduced migrations immediately, assert GoodJob.migrated? in your application's test suite.

To perform upgrades to the GoodJob database tables:

  1. Generate new database migration files:

    bin/rails g good_job:update

    Optional: If using Rails' multiple databases with the migrations_paths configuration option, use the --database option:

    bin/rails g good_job:update --database animals
  2. Run the database migration locally

    bin/rails db:migrate
  3. Commit the migration files and resulting db/schema.rb changes.

  4. Deploy the code, run the migrations against the production database, and restart server/worker processes.

Upgrading v3 to v4

GoodJob v4 changes how job and job execution records are stored in the database; moving from job and executions being commingled in the good_jobs table to separately and discretely storing job executions in good_job_executions. To safely upgrade, all unfinished jobs must use the new format. This change was introduced in GoodJob v3.15.4 (April 2023), so your application is likely ready-to-upgrade in this respect if you have kept up with GoodJob updates and applied migrations (bin/rails g good_job:update). Please be sure to doublecheck you are not missing subsequent migrations or deprecations too by following the instructions below.

To upgrade:

  1. Upgrade to v3.99.x, following the minor version upgrade process, running any remaining database migrations (rails g good_job:update) and addressing deprecation warnings.

  2. Check if your application is safe to upgrade to the new job record format by running either:

    • In a production console, run GoodJob.v4_ready? which should return true when safely upgradable.
    • Or, when connected to the production database verify that SELECT COUNT(*) FROM "good_jobs" WHERE finished_at IS NULL AND is_discrete IS NOT TRUE returns 0

    If not all unfinished jobs are stored in the new format, either wait to upgrade until those jobs finish or discard them. Not waiting could prevent those jobs from successfully running when upgrading to v4.

  3. Upgrade from v3.99.x to v4.x.

Notable changes:

  • Only supports Rails 6.1+, CRuby 3.0+ and JRuby 9.4+, Postgres 12+. Rails 6.0 is no longer supported. CRuby 2.6 and 2.7 are no longer supported. JRuby 9.3 is no longer supported.
  • Changes job priority to give smaller numbers higher priority (default: 0), in accordance with Active Job's definition of priority.
  • Enqueues and executes jobs via the GoodJob::Job model instead of GoodJob::Execution
  • Setting config.good_job.cleanup_interval_jobs, GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_INTERVAL_JOBS, config.good_job.cleanup_interval_seconds, or GOOD_JOB_CLEANUP_INTERVAL_SECONDS to nil or "" no longer disables count- or time-based cleanups. Set to false to disable, or -1 to run a cleanup after every job execution.

Upgrading v2 to v3

GoodJob v3 is operationally identical to v2; upgrading to GoodJob v3 should be simple. If you are already using >= v2.9+ no other changes are necessary.

  1. Upgrade to v2.99.x, following the minor version upgrade process, running any remaining database migrations (rails g good_job:update) and addressing deprecation warnings.
  2. Upgrade from v2.99.x to v3.x

Notable changes:

  • Defaults to preserve job records, and automatically delete them after 14 days.
  • Defaults to discarding failed jobs, instead of immediately retrying them.
  • :inline execution mode respects job schedules. Tests can invoke GoodJob.perform_inline to execute jobs.
  • GoodJob::Adapter can no longer can be initialized with custom execution options (queues:, max_threads:, poll_interval:).
  • Renames GoodJob::ActiveJobJob to GoodJob::Job.
  • Removes support for Rails 5.2.

Upgrading v1 to v2

GoodJob v2 introduces a new Advisory Lock key format that is operationally different than the v1 advisory lock key format; it's therefore necessary to perform a simple, but staged production upgrade. If you are already using >= v1.12+ no other changes are necessary.

  1. Upgrade your production environment to v1.99.x following the minor version upgrade process, including database migrations. v1.99 is a transitional release that is safely compatible with both v1.x and v2.0.0 because it uses both v1- and v2-formatted advisory locks.
  2. Address any deprecation warnings generated by v1.99.
  3. Upgrade your production environment from v1.99.x to v2.0.x again following the minor upgrade process.

Notable changes:

  • Renames :async_server execution mode to :async; renames prior :async execution mode to :async_all.
  • Sets default Development environment's execution mode to :async with disabled polling.
  • Excludes performing jobs from enqueue_limit's count in GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::Concurrency.
  • Triggers GoodJob.on_thread_error for unhandled Active Job exceptions.
  • Renames GoodJob.reperform_jobs_on_standard_error accessor to GoodJob.retry_on_unhandled_error.
  • Renames GoodJob::Adapter.shutdown(wait:) argument to GoodJob::Adapter.shutdown(timeout:).
  • Changes Advisory Lock key format from good_jobs[ROW_ID] to good_jobs-[ACTIVE_JOB_ID].
  • Expects presence of columns good_jobs.active_job_id, good_jobs.concurrency_key, good_jobs.concurrency_key, and good_jobs.retried_good_job_id.

Go deeper

Exceptions, retries, and reliability

GoodJob guarantees that a completely-performed job will run once and only once. GoodJob fully supports Active Job's built-in functionality for error handling, retries and timeouts.


Active Job provides tools for rescuing and retrying exceptions, including retry_on, discard_on, rescue_from that will rescue exceptions before they get to GoodJob.

If errors do reach GoodJob, you can assign a callable to GoodJob.on_thread_error to be notified. For example, to log errors to an exception monitoring service like Sentry (or Bugsnag, Airbrake, Honeybadger, etc.):

# config/initializers/good_job.rb
GoodJob.on_thread_error = -> (exception) { }


By default, GoodJob relies on Active Job's retry functionality.

Active Job can be configured to retry an infinite number of times, with a polynomial backoff. Using Active Job's retry_on prevents exceptions from reaching GoodJob:

class ApplicationJob < ActiveJob::Base
  retry_on StandardError, wait: :polynomially_longer, attempts: Float::INFINITY
  # ...

When using retry_on with a limited number of retries, the final exception will not be rescued and will raise to GoodJob's error handler. To avoid this, pass a block to retry_on to handle the final exception instead of raising it to GoodJob:

class ApplicationJob < ActiveJob::Base
  retry_on StandardError, attempts: 5 do |_job, _exception|
    # Log error, do nothing, etc.
  # ...

When using retry_on with an infinite number of retries, exceptions will never be raised to GoodJob, which means GoodJob.on_thread_error will never be called. To report log or report exceptions to an exception monitoring service (e.g. Sentry, Bugsnag, Airbrake, Honeybadger, etc), create an explicit exception wrapper. For example:

class ApplicationJob < ActiveJob::Base
  retry_on StandardError, wait: :polynomially_longer, attempts: Float::INFINITY

  retry_on SpecialError, attempts: 5 do |_job, exception|

  around_perform do |_job, block|
  rescue StandardError => e
  # ...

By default, jobs will not be retried unless retry_on is configured. This can be overridden by setting GoodJob.retry_on_unhandled_error to true; GoodJob will then retry the failing job immediately and infinitely, potentially causing high load.

Action Mailer retries

Any configuration in ApplicationJob will have to be duplicated on ActionMailer::MailDeliveryJob because ActionMailer uses that custom class which inherits from ActiveJob::Base, rather than your application's ApplicationJob.

You can use an initializer to configure ActionMailer::MailDeliveryJob, for example:

# config/initializers/good_job.rb
ActionMailer::MailDeliveryJob.retry_on StandardError, wait: :polynomially_longer, attempts: Float::INFINITY

# With Sentry (or Bugsnag, Airbrake, Honeybadger, etc.)
ActionMailer::MailDeliveryJob.around_perform do |_job, block|
rescue StandardError => e

Note, that ActionMailer::MailDeliveryJob is a default since Rails 6.0. Be sure that your app is using that class, as it might also be configured to use (deprecated now) ActionMailer::DeliveryJob.

Interrupts, graceful shutdown, and SIGKILL

When GoodJob receives an interrupt (SIGINT, SIGTERM) or explicitly with GoodJob.shutdown, GoodJob will attempt to gracefully shut down, waiting for all jobs to finish before exiting based on the shutdown_timeout configuration.

To detect the start of a graceful shutdown from within a performing job, for example while looping/iterating over multiple items, you can call GoodJob.current_thread_shutting_down? or GoodJob.current_thread_running? from within the job. For example:

def perform(lots_of_records)
  lots_of_records.each do |record|
    break if GoodJob.current_thread_shutting_down? # or `unless GoodJob.current_thread.running?`
    # process record ...

Note that when running jobs in :inline execution mode, GoodJob.current_thread_running? will always be truthy and GoodJob.current_thread_shutting_down? will always be falsey.

Jobs will be automatically retried if the process is interrupted while performing a job and the job is unable to finish before the timeout or as the result of a SIGKILL or power failure.

If you need more control over interrupt-caused retries, include the GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::InterruptErrors extension in your job class. When an interrupted job is retried, the extension will raise a GoodJob::InterruptError exception within the job, which allows you to use Active Job's retry_on and discard_on to control the behavior of the job.

class MyJob < ApplicationJob
  # The extension must be included before other extensions
  include GoodJob::ActiveJobExtensions::InterruptErrors
  # Discard the job if it is interrupted
  discard_on GoodJob::InterruptError
  # Retry the job if it is interrupted
  retry_on GoodJob::InterruptError, wait: 0, attempts: Float::INFINITY


Job timeouts can be configured with an around_perform:

class ApplicationJob < ActiveJob::Base
  JobTimeoutError =

  around_perform do |_job, block|
    # Timeout jobs after 10 minutes
    Timeout.timeout(10.minutes, JobTimeoutError) do

Optimize queues, threads, and processes

By default, GoodJob creates a single thread execution pool that will execute jobs from any queue. Depending on your application's workload, job types, and service level objectives, you may wish to optimize execution resources. For example, providing dedicated execution resources for transactional emails so they are not delayed by long-running batch jobs. Some options:

  • Multiple isolated execution pools within a single process:

    For moderate workloads, multiple isolated thread execution pools offers a good balance between congestion management and economy.

    A pool is configured with the following syntax <participating_queues>:<thread_count>:

    • <participating_queues>: either queue1,queue2 (only those queues), +queue1,queue2 (only those queues, and processed in order), * (all) or -queue1,queue2 (all except those queues).
    • <thread_count>: a count overriding for this specific pool the global max-threads.

    Pool configurations are separated with a semicolon (;) in the queues configuration

    $ bundle exec good_job \
        --queues="transactional_messages:2;batch_processing:1;-transactional_messages,batch_processing:2;*" \

    This configuration will result in a single process with 4 isolated thread execution pools.

    • transactional_messages:2: execute jobs enqueued on transactional_messages, with up to 2 threads.
    • batch_processing:1 execute jobs enqueued on batch_processing, with a single thread.
    • -transactional_messages,batch_processing:2: execute jobs enqueued on any queue excluding transactional_messages or batch_processing, with up to 2 threads.
    • *: execute jobs on any queue, with up to 5 threads (as configured by --max-threads=5).

    When a pool is performing jobs from multiple queues, jobs will be performed from specified queues, ordered by priority and creation time. To perform jobs from queues in the queues' given order, use the + modifier. In this example, jobs in batch_processing will be performed only when there are no jobs in transactional_messages:

    bundle exec good_job --queues="+transactional_messages,batch_processing"

    Configuration can be injected by environment variables too:

    $ GOOD_JOB_QUEUES="transactional_messages:2;batch_processing:1;-transactional_messages,batch_processing:2;*" \
      bundle exec good_job
  • Multiple processes:

    While multiple isolated thread execution pools offer a way to provide dedicated execution resources, those resources are bound to a single machine. To scale them independently, define several processes.

    For example, this configuration on Heroku allows to customize the dyno count (instances), or type (CPU/RAM), per process type:

    # Procfile
    # Separate process types
    worker: bundle exec good_job --max-threads=5
    transactional_worker: bundle exec good_job --queues="transactional_messages" --max-threads=2
    batch_worker: bundle exec good_job --queues="batch_processing" --max-threads=1

    To optimize for CPU performance at the expense of greater memory and system resource usage, while keeping a single process type (and thus a single dyno), combine several processes and wait for them:

    # Procfile
    # Combined multi-process
    combined_worker: bundle exec good_job --max-threads=5 & bundle exec good_job --queues="transactional_messages" --max-threads=2 & bundle exec good_job --queues="batch_processing" --max-threads=1 & wait -n

Keep in mind, queue operations and management is an advanced discipline. This stuff is complex, especially for heavy workloads and unique processing requirements. Good job 👍

Database connections

GoodJob job executor processes require the following database connections:

  • 1 connection per execution pool thread. E.g., --queues=mice:2;elephants:1 is 3 threads and thus 3 connections. Pool size defaults to --max-threads.
  • 2 additional connections that GoodJob uses for utility functionality (e.g. LISTEN/NOTIFY, cron, etc.)
  • 1 connection per subthread, if your application makes multithreaded database queries (e.g. load_async) within a job.

The executor process will not crash if the connections pool is exhausted, instead it will report an exception (eg. ActiveRecord::ConnectionTimeoutError).

When GoodJob runs in :inline mode (in Rails' test environment, by default), the default database pool configuration works.

# config/database.yml

pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS") { 5 } %>

When GoodJob runs in :async mode (in Rails's development environment, by default), the following database pool configuration works, where:

  • ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS", 5) is the number of threads used by the web server
  • 1 is the number of connections used by the job listener
  • 2 is the number of connections used by the cron scheduler and executor
  • ENV.fetch("GOOD_JOB_MAX_THREADS", 5) is the number of threads used to perform jobs
# config/database.yml

pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS", 5).to_i + 1 + 2 + ENV.fetch("GOOD_JOB_MAX_THREADS", 5).to_i %>

When GoodJob runs in :external mode (in Rails' production environment, by default), the following database pool configurations work for web servers and worker processes, respectively.

# config/database.yml

pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS", 5) %>
# config/database.yml

pool: <%= 1 + 2 + ENV.fetch("GOOD_JOB_MAX_THREADS", 5).to_i %>

Production setup

When running GoodJob in a production environment, you should be mindful of:

  • Execution mode
  • Database connection pool size
  • Health check probes and potentially the instrumentation support

The recommended way to monitor the queue in production is:

  • have an exception notifier callback (see on_thread_error)
  • if possible, run the queue as a dedicated instance and use available HTTP health check probes instead of PID-based monitoring
  • keep an eye on the number of jobs in the queue (abnormal high number of unscheduled jobs means the queue could be underperforming)
  • consider performance monitoring services which support the built-in Rails instrumentation (eg. Sentry, Skylight, etc.)

Queue performance with Queue Select Limit

GoodJob’s advisory locking strategy uses a materialized CTE (Common Table Expression). This strategy can be non-performant when querying a very large queue of executable jobs (100,000+) because the database query must materialize all executable jobs before acquiring an advisory lock.

GoodJob offers an optional optimization to limit the number of jobs that are queried: Queue Select Limit.

# CLI option

# Rails configuration
config.good_job.queue_select_limit = 1000

# Environment Variable

The Queue Select Limit value should be set to a rough upper-bound that exceeds all GoodJob execution threads / database connections. 1000 is a number that likely exceeds the available database connections on most PaaS offerings, but still offers a performance boost for GoodJob when executing very large queues.

To explain where this value is used, here is the pseudo-query that GoodJob uses to find executable jobs:

  FROM good_jobs
  WHERE id IN (
      SELECT id, active_job_id
      FROM good_jobs
      WHERE (scheduled_at <= NOW() OR scheduled_at IS NULL) AND finished_at IS NULL
      ORDER BY priority DESC NULLS LAST, created_at ASC
      [LIMIT 1000] -- <= introduced when queue_select_limit is set
    SELECT id
    FROM rows
    WHERE pg_try_advisory_lock(('x' || substr(md5('good_jobs' || '-' || active_job_id::text), 1, 16))::bit(64)::bigint)
    LIMIT 1

Execute jobs async / in-process

GoodJob can execute jobs "async" in the same process as the web server (e.g. bin/rails s). GoodJob's async execution mode offers benefits of economy by not requiring a separate job worker process, but with the tradeoff of increased complexity. Async mode can be configured in two ways:

  • Via Rails configuration:

    # config/environments/production.rb
    config.active_job.queue_adapter = :good_job
    # To change the execution mode
    config.good_job.execution_mode = :async
    # Or with more configuration
    config.good_job = {
      execution_mode: :async,
      max_threads: 4,
      poll_interval: 30
  • Or, with environment variables:


Depending on your application configuration, you may need to take additional steps:

  • Ensure that you have enough database connections for both web and job execution threads:

    # config/database.yml
    pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS", 5).to_i + ENV.fetch("GOOD_JOB_MAX_THREADS", 4).to_i %>
  • When running Puma with workers (WEB_CONCURRENCY > 0) or another process-forking web server, GoodJob's threadpool schedulers should be stopped before forking, restarted after fork, and cleanly shut down on exit. Stopping GoodJob's scheduler pre-fork is recommended to ensure that GoodJob does not continue executing jobs in the parent/controller process. For example, with Puma:

    # config/puma.rb
    before_fork do
    on_worker_boot do
    on_worker_shutdown do
    MAIN_PID =
    at_exit do
      GoodJob.shutdown if == MAIN_PID

    GoodJob is compatible with Puma's preload_app! method.

    For Passenger:

    if defined? PhusionPassenger
      PhusionPassenger.on_event :starting_worker_process do |forked|
        # If `forked` is true, we're in smart spawning mode.
        if forked
 { 'Starting Passenger worker process.' }
      PhusionPassenger.on_event :stopping_worker_process do { 'Stopping Passenger worker process.' }
    # GoodJob also starts in the Passenger preloader process. This one does not
    # trigger the above events, thus we catch it with `Kernel#at_exit`.
    at_exit do
      if == PRELOADER_PID { 'Passenger AppPreloader shutting down.' }

    If you are using cron-style jobs, you might also want to look at your Passenger configuration, especially at passenger_pool_idle_time and passenger_min_instances to make sure there's always at least once process running that can execute cron-style scheduled jobs. See also Passenger's optimization guide for more information.

Migrate to GoodJob from a different Active Job backend

If your application is already using an Active Job backend, you will need to install GoodJob to enqueue and perform newly created jobs and finish performing pre-existing jobs on the previous backend.

  1. Enqueue newly created jobs on GoodJob either entirely by setting ActiveJob::Base.queue_adapter = :good_job or progressively via individual job classes:

    # jobs/specific_job.rb
    class SpecificJob < ApplicationJob
      self.queue_adapter = :good_job
      # ...
  2. Continue running executors for both backends. For example, on Heroku it's possible to run two processes within the same dyno:

     # Procfile
     # ...
     worker: bundle exec que ./config/environment.rb & bundle exec good_job & wait -n
  3. Once you are confident that no unperformed jobs remain in the previous Active Job backend, code and configuration for that backend can be completely removed.

Monitor and preserve worked jobs

GoodJob is fully instrumented with ActiveSupport::Notifications.

By default, GoodJob will preserve job records for 14 days after they are run, regardless of whether they succeed or raised an exception.

To instead delete job records immediately after they are finished:

# config/initializers/good_job.rb
config.good_job.preserve_job_records = false # defaults to true; can also be `false` or `:on_unhandled_error`

GoodJob will automatically delete preserved job records after 14 days. The retention period, as well as the frequency GoodJob checks for deletable records can be configured:

config.good_job.cleanup_preserved_jobs_before_seconds_ago = 14.days
config.good_job.cleanup_interval_jobs = 1_000 # Number of executed jobs between deletion sweeps.
config.good_job.cleanup_interval_seconds = 10.minutes # Number of seconds between deletion sweeps.

It is also possible to manually trigger a cleanup of preserved job records:

  • For example, in a Rake task:

    GoodJob.cleanup_preserved_jobs # Will use default retention period
    GoodJob.cleanup_preserved_jobs(older_than: 7.days) # custom retention period
  • For example, using the good_job command-line utility:

    bundle exec good_job cleanup_preserved_jobs --before-seconds-ago=86400

Write tests

By default, GoodJob uses its inline adapter in the test environment; the inline adapter is designed for the test environment. When enqueuing a job with GoodJob's inline adapter, the job will be executed immediately on the current thread; unhandled exceptions will be raised.

In GoodJob 2.0, the inline adapter will execute future scheduled jobs immediately. In the next major release, GoodJob 3.0, the inline adapter will not execute future scheduled jobs and instead enqueue them in the database.

To opt into this behavior immediately set: config.good_job.inline_execution_respects_schedule = true

To perform jobs inline at any time, use GoodJob.perform_inline. For example, using time helpers within an integration test:

MyJob.set(wait: 10.minutes).perform_later
travel_to(15.minutes.from_now) { GoodJob.perform_inline }

Note: Rails travel/travel_to time helpers do not have millisecond precision, so you must leave at least 1 second between the schedule and time traveling for the job to be executed. This behavior may change in Rails 7.1.

PgBouncer compatibility

GoodJob is not compatible with PgBouncer in transaction mode, but is compatible with PgBouncer's connection mode. GoodJob uses connection-based advisory locks and LISTEN/NOTIFY, both of which require full database connections.

If you want to use PgBouncer with the rest of your Rails app you can workaround this limitation by making a direct database connection available to GoodJob. With Rails 6.0's support for multiple databases, a direct connection to the database can be configured by following the three steps below.

  1. Define a direct connection to your database that is not proxied through PgBouncer, for example:

    # config/database.yml
        url: postgres://pgbouncer_host/my_database
        url: postgres://database_host/my_database
  2. Create a new Active Record base class that uses the direct database connection

    # app/models/application_direct_record.rb
    class ApplicationDirectRecord < ActiveRecord::Base
      self.abstract_class = true
      connects_to database: :primary_direct
  3. Configure GoodJob to use the newly created Active Record base class:

    # config/initializers/good_job.rb
    GoodJob.active_record_parent_class = "ApplicationDirectRecord"

CLI HTTP health check probes

Default configuration

GoodJob's CLI offers an http health check probe to better manage process lifecycle in containerized environments like Kubernetes:

# Run the CLI with a health check on port 7001
good_job start --probe-port=7001

# or via an environment variable
GOOD_JOB_PROBE_PORT=7001 good_job start

# Probe the status
curl localhost:7001/status
curl localhost:7001/status/started
curl localhost:7001/status/connected

Multiple health checks are available at different paths:

  • / or /status: the CLI process is running
  • /status/started: the multithreaded job executor is running
  • /status/connected: the database connection is established

This can be configured, for example with Kubernetes:

    - name: good_job
      image: my_app:latest
        - name: RAILS_ENV
          value: production
        - name: GOOD_JOB_PROBE_PORT
          value: 7001
          - good_job
          - start
        - name: probe-port
          containerPort: 7001
          path: "/status/started"
          port: probe-port
        failureThreshold: 30
        periodSeconds: 10
          path: "/status/connected"
          port: probe-port
        failureThreshold: 1
        periodSeconds: 10

Custom configuration

The CLI health check probe server can be customized to serve additional information. Two things to note when customizing the probe server:

  • By default, the probe server uses a homespun single thread, blocking server so your custom app should be very simple and lightly used and could affect job performance.
  • The default probe server is not fully Rack compliant. Rack specifies various mandatory fields and some Rack apps assume those fields exist. If you do need to use a Rack app that depends on being fully Rack compliant, you can configure GoodJob to use WEBrick as the server

To customize the probe server, set config.good_job.probe_app to a Rack app or a Rack builder:

# config/initializers/good_job.rb OR config/application.rb OR config/environments/{RAILS_ENV}.rb

Rails.application.configure do
  config.good_job.probe_app = do
    # Add your custom middleware
    use Custom::AuthorizationMiddleware
    use Custom::PrometheusExporter

    # This is the default middleware
    use GoodJob::ProbeServer::HealthcheckMiddleware
    run GoodJob::ProbeServer::NotFoundApp # will return 404 for all other requests
Using WEBrick

If your custom app requires a fully Rack compliant server, you can configure GoodJob to use WEBrick as the server:

# config/initializers/good_job.rb OR config/application.rb OR config/environments/{RAILS_ENV}.rb

Rails.application.configure do
  config.good_job.probe_handler = :webrick

You can also enable WEBrick through the command line:

good_job start --probe-handler=webrick

or via an environment variable:

GOOD_JOB_PROBE_HANDLER=webrick good_job start

Note that GoodJob doesn't include WEBrick as a dependency, so you'll need to add it to your Gemfile:

# Gemfile
gem 'webrick'

If WEBrick is configured to be used, but the dependency is not found, GoodJob will log a warning and fallback to the default probe server.

Doing your best job with GoodJob

This section explains how to use GoodJob the most efficiently and performantly, according to its maintainers. GoodJob is very flexible and you don’t necessarily have to use it this way, but the concepts explained here are part of GoodJob’s design intent.

Background jobs are hard. There are two extremes:

  • Throw resources (compute, servers, money) at it by creating dedicated processes (or servers) for each type of job or queue and scaling them independently to achieve the lowest latency and highest throughput.
  • Do the best you can in a small budget by creating dedicated thread pools within a process for each type of job or queue to produce quality-of-service and compromise maximum latency (or tail latency) because of shared resources and thread contention. You can even run them in the web process if you’re really cheap.

This section will largely focused on optimizing within the latter small-budget scenario, but the concepts and explanation should help you optimize the big-budget scenario too.

Let’s start with anti-patterns, and then the rest of this section will explain an alternative:

  • Don’t use functional names for your queues like mailers or sms or turbo or batch. Instead name them after the total latency target (the total duration within queue and executing till finish) you expect for that job e.g.latency_30s or latency_5m or literally_whenever.
  • Priority can’t fix a lack of capacity. Priority rules (i.e. weighing or ordering which jobs or queues execute first) only works when there is capacity available to execute that next job. When all capacity is in-use, priority cannot preempt a job that is already executing ("head-of-line blocking").

The following will explain methods to create homogenous workloads (based on latency) and increase execution capacity when queuing latency causes the jobs to exceed their total latency target.

Sizing jobs: mice and elephants

Queuing theory will refer to fast/small/low-latency tasks as Mice (e.g. a password reset email, an MFA token via SMS) and slow/big/high-latency tasks as Elephants (e.g. sending an email newsletter to 10k recipients, a batched update that touches every record in the database).

Explicitly group your jobs by their latency: how quickly you expect them to finish to achieve your expected quality of service. This should be their total latency (or duration) which is the sum of: queuing latency which is how long the job waits in queue until execution capacity becomes available (which ideally should be zero, because you have idle capacity and can start executing a job immediately as soon as it is enqueued or upon its scheduled time) and execution latency which is how long the job’s execution takes (e.g. the email being sent). Example: I expect this Password Reset Email Job to have a total latency of 30 seconds or less.

In a working application, you likely will have more gradations than just small and big or slow and fast (analogously: badgers, wildebeests; maybe even tardigrades or blue whales for tiny and huge, respectively), but there will regardless be a relatively small and countable number of discrete latency buckets to organize your jobs into.

Isolating by total latency

The most efficient workloads are homogenous (similar) workloads. If you know every job to be executed will take about the same amount of time, you can estimate the maximum delay for a new job at the back of the queue and have that drive decisions about capacity. Alternatively, if those jobs are heterogenous (mixed) it’s possible that a very slow/long-duration job could hold everything back for much longer than anticipated and it’s sorta random. That’s bad!

A fun visual image here for a single-file queue is a doorway: If you only have 1 doorway, it must be big enough to fit an elephant. But if an elephant is going through the door (and it will go through slowly!) no mice can fit through the door until the elephant is fully clear. Your mice will be delayed!

Priority will not help when an elephant is in the doorway. Yes, you could say mice have a higher priority than elephants and always allow any mouse to go before any elephant in queue will start. But once an elephant has started going through the door, any subsequent mouse who arrives must wait for the elephant to egress regardless of their priority. In Active Job and Ruby, it’s really hard to stop or cancel or preempt a running job (unless you’ve already architected that into your jobs, like with the job-iteration library)

The best solution is to have a 2nd door, but only sized for mice, so an elephant can’t ever block it. With a mouse-sized doorway and an elephant-sized doorway, mice can still go through the big elephant door when an elephant isn’t using it. Each door has a maximum size (or “latency”) we want it to accept, and smaller is ok, just not larger.

Configuring your queues

If we wanted to capture the previous 2-door scenario in GoodJob, we’d configure the queues like this;

config.good_job.queues = "mice:1; elephant,mice:1"

This configuration creates two isolated thread pools (separated by a semicolon) each with 1 thread each (the number after the colon). The 2nd thread pool recognizes that both elephants and mice can use that isolated thread pool; if there is an influx of mice, it's possible to use the elephant’s thread pool if an elephant isn't already in progress.

So what if we add an intermediately-sized badgers ? In that case, we can make 3 distinct queues:

config.good_job.queues = "mice:1; badgers,mice:1; elephants,badgers,mice:1"

In this case, we make a mouse sized queue, a badger sized queue, and an elephant sized queue. We can simplify this even further:

config.good_job.queues = "mice:1; badgers,mice:1; *:1"

Using the wildcard * for any queue also helps ensure that if a job is enqueued to a newly declared queue (maybe via a dependency or just inadvertently) it will still get executed until you notice and decide on its appropriate latency target.

In these examples, the order doesn’t matter; it just is maybe more readable to go from the lowest-latency to largest-latency pool (the semicolon groups), and then within a pool to list the largest allowable latency first (the commas). Nothing here is about “job priority” or “queue priority”, this is wholly about grouping.

In your application, not the zoo, you’ll want to enqueue your PaswordResetJob on the mice queue, your CreateComplicatedObjectJob on the badger queue, and your AuditEveryAccountEverJob on the elephant queue. But you want to name your queues by latency, so that ends up being:

config.good_job.queues = "latency_30s:1; latency_2m,latency_30s:1; *:1"

And you likely want to have more than one thread (though more than 3-5 threads per process will cause thread contention and slow everything down a bit):

config.good_job.queues = "latency_30s:2; latency_2m,latency_30s:2; *:2"

Additional observations

  • Unlike GoodJob, other Active Job backends may treat a "queue" and an "isolated execution pool" as one and the same. GoodJob allows composing multiple Active Job queues into the same pool for flexibility and to make it easier to migrate from functionally-named queues to latency-based ones.
  • You don't have to name your queues explicitly like latency_30s but it makes it easier to identify outliers and communicate your operational targets. Many people push back on this; that's ok. An option to capture functional details is to use GoodJob's Labels feature instead of encoding them in the queue name.
  • The downside of organizing your jobs like this is that you may have jobs with the same latency target but wildly different operational parameters, like being coupled to another system that has limited throughput or questionable reliability. GoodJob offers Concurrency and Throttling Controls, but isolation is always the most performant and reliable option, though it requires dedicated resources and costs more.
  • Observe, monitor, and adapt your job queues over time. You likely have incomplete information about the execution latency of your jobs inclusive of all dependencies across all scenarios. You should expect to adjust your queues and grouping over time as you observe their behavior.
  • If you find you have unreliable external dependencies that introduce latency, you may also want to further isolate your jobs based on those dependencies, for example, isolating latency_10s_email_service to its own execution pool.
  • Scale on queue latency. Per the previous point in which you do not have complete control over execution latency, you do have control over the queue latency. If queue latency is causing your jobs to miss their total latency target, you must add more capacity (e.g. processes or servers.
  • This is all largely about latency-based queue design. It’s possible to go further and organize by latency and parallelism. For that I recommend Nate Berkopec’s Complete Guide to Rails Performance which covers things like Amdahl’s Law.


All contributions, from feedback to code and beyond, are welcomed and appreciated 🙏

For gem development and debugging information, please review the README's Gem Development section.

Gem development

Development setup

# Clone the repository locally
git clone

# Set up the gem development environment

Rails development harness

A Rails application exists within demo that is used for development, test, and GoodJob Demo environments.

# Run a local development webserver
bin/rails s

# Disable job execution and cron for cleaner console output

# Open the Rails console
bin/rails c

For developing locally within another Ruby on Rails project:

# Within Ruby on Rails project directory
# Ensure that the Gemfile is set to git with a branch e.g.
# gem "good_job", git: "", branch: "main"
# Then, override the Bundle config to point to the local filesystem's good_job repository
bundle config local.good_job /path/to/local/good_job/repository

# Confirm that the local copy is used
bundle install

# => Using good_job 0.1.0 from (at /Users/You/Projects/good_job@dc57fb0)

Running tests

Tests can be run against the primary development environment:

# Set up the gem development environment

# Run the tests

Environment variables that may help with debugging:

  • LOUD=1: display all stdout/stderr output from all sources. This is helpful because GoodJob wraps some tests with quiet { } for cleaner test output, but it can hinder debugging.
  • SHOW_BROWSER=1: Run system tests headfully with Chrome/Chromedriver. Use binding.irb in the system tests to pause.

Appraisal can be used to run a test matrix of multiple versions of Rails:

# Install Appraisal matrix of gemfiles

# Run tests against matrix
bin/appraisal bin/rspec


Package maintainers can release this gem by running:

# Sign into rubygems
$ gem signin

# Add a .env file with the following:
# CHANGELOG_GITHUB_TOKEN= # Github Personal Access Token

# Update version number, changelog, and create git commit:
$ bundle exec rake release_good_job[minor] # major,minor,patch

# ..and follow subsequent directions.


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