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timer: Extended timers for nginx-module-lua


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CentOS/RHEL 7 or Amazon Linux 2

yum -y install
yum -y install lua-resty-timer

CentOS/RHEL 8+, Fedora Linux, Amazon Linux 2023

yum -y install
yum -y install lua5.1-resty-timer

To use this Lua library with NGINX, ensure that nginx-module-lua is installed.

This document describes lua-resty-timer v1.1.0 released on Nov 06 2020.

Extended timers for OpenResty. Provided recurring, cancellable, node-wide timers, beyond what the basic OpenResty timers do.


This library is production ready.


http {
    lua_shared_dict timer_shm 1m;
    init_worker_by_lua_block {
        local timer = require("resty.timer")

        local options = {
            interval = 0.1,           -- expiry interval in seconds
            recurring = true,         -- recurring or single timer
            immediate = true,         -- initial interval will be 0
            detached = false,         -- run detached, or be garbagecollectible
            jitter = 0.1,             -- add a random interval
            expire = object.handler,  -- callback on timer expiry
            cancel = function(reason, self, param1)
                -- will be called when the timer gets cancelled
            shm_name = "timer_shm",   -- shm to use for node-wide timers
            key_name = "my_key",      -- key-name to use for node-wide timers
            sub_interval = 0.1,       -- max cross worker extra delay

        local object
        object = {                            -- create some object with a timer
            count = 0,
            handler = function(self, param1)  -- the timer callback as a method
                -- do something here
                print(param1)                 --> "Param 1"

            -- create and add to object, but also pass it as 'self' to the handler
            timer = timer(options, object, "Param 1"),

        -- anchor the object and timer
        _M.global_object = object     -- will be collected if not anchored

        -- cancel the timer


The OpenResty timer is fairly limited, this timer adds a number of common options as parameters without having to recode (and retest) them in each project.

  • recurring timers (supported by OR as well through ngx.timer.every)

  • immediate first run for recurring timers

  • cancellable timers

  • cancel callback, called when the timer is cancelled

  • garbage collectible timers, enabling timers to (optionally) be attached to objects and automatically stop when garbage collected.

  • node-wide timers: the same timer started in each worker will still only run once across the system. If the worker running it is removed the timer will automatically be executed on another worker.

See the online LDoc documentation for the complete API.


Versioning is strictly based on Semantic Versioning

Releasing new versions:

  • update changelog below (PR's should be merged including a changelog entry)
  • based on changelog determine new SemVer version
  • create a new rockspec
  • render the docs using ldoc (don't do this within PR's)
  • commit as "release x.x.x" (do not include rockspec revision)
  • tag the commit with "x.x.x" (do not include rockspec revision)
  • push commit and tag
  • upload rock to luarocks: luarocks upload rockspecs/[name] --api-key=abc

1.1.0 (6-Nov-2020)

  • Feat: add a jitter option. This adds a random interval to distribute the timers (in case of scheduling many timers at once).

1.0.0 (21-Sep-2020)

  • Change [BREAKING]: the recurring timers are now implemented as a sleeping thread which is more efficient. Side effect is that the timer only gets rescheduled AFTER executing the handler. So if the handler is long running, then individual runs will be further apart.

0.3 (28-May-2018)

  • Feat: added cancellation callback invocation on timer being GC'ed. This changes the first argument of the cancel callback, and hence is breaking.

0.2 (12-Feb-2018) Bug fix

  • Fix: bugfix in unpack function not honoring table length parameter
  • Docs: small fixes and typo's

0.1 (22-Nov-2017) Initial release

  • Added sub_interval option to reduce delays
  • Initial upload


You may find additional configuration tips and documentation for this module in the GitHub repository for nginx-module-timer.