This add-on is operated by Amakawa Pte. Ltd.

Dependable Redis Hosting.


Last Updated: 19 March 2014

Table of Contents

openredis is an add-on that provides access to a Redis database. Redis is an open source, advanced key-value store. It is often referred to as a data structure server since keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets and sorted sets. More information can be found at

openredis is accessible via an API and has supported client libraries for C, C#, C++, Clojure, Dart, Erlang, Fancy, Go, Haskell, Io, Java, Lua, Node.js, Objective C, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Scala, Smalltalk and Tcl.

This is how your dashboard will look like once the add-on is integrated:

openredis dashboard

Provisioning the add-on

openredis can be attached to a Heroku application via the CLI:

A list of all plans available can be found here.

$ heroku addons:add openredis
-----> Adding openredis to sharp-mountain-4005... done, v18 (micro)

Once openredis has been added an OPENREDIS_URL setting will be available in the app configuration and will contain the canonical URL used to access the newly provisioned Redis instance. This can be confirmed using the heroku config command.

$ heroku config | grep OPENREDIS_URL
OPENREDIS_URL: redis://:password@host:port

After installing openredis the application should be configured to fully integrate with the add-on.

You can open your openredis dashboard and view the current memory usage of your instance by using the heroku addons:open command.

$ heroku addons:open openredis

At this point, you’ll see your instance memory usage. There is also a sample redis-cli command which you can copy & paste directly on your command line terminal.

Make sure not to access your instance from your computer if you are using an insecure wifi connection. All data is transferred without encryption.

$ redis-cli -h -p 10009 -a XXYYYZZZZ-password-here

Local setup

Environment setup

After provisioning the add-on, you may want to access the database from your local computer. For that, you will have to grab the proxy URL from your dashboard:

$ heroku addons:open openredis

There you will see a line for connecting with redis-cli that you can paste directly into your command line; and you will also find under the “Development mode” heading a version of the OPENREDIS_URL that is suitable for remote usage.

It’s important to note that access to your database is restricted to the AWS cloud, and remote access is done via a proxy that limits the traffic to 10 GB per month. That limit for data transfers should be enough for most situations (remember that data transfers between your Heroku application and your database is free and unlimited).

For access from your local environment, make sure you use the appropriate proxy host which you can see in your dashboard.

Use Foreman to configure, run and manage process types specified in your app’s Procfile. Foreman reads configuration variables from an .env file.

Add the OPENREDIS_URL designated for “Development mode” to a .env file:

$ echo OPENREDIS_URL=redis:// >> .env
$ more .env

Credentials and other sensitive configuration values should not be committed to source-control. In Git exclude the .env file with: echo .env >> .gitignore.

Using Redis from Ruby

Using Redis from Ruby is very straightforward. Start by installing the Redis client:

$ gem install redis

Now, create a client and connect it to Redis:

$redis = Redis.connect :url => ENV["OPENREDIS_URL"]

Setup for Sinatra

require "redis"

class MyApp < Sinatra::Base
  configure do
    $redis = Redis.connect :url => ENV["OPENREDIS_URL"]

Setup for Rails 3.x

Ruby on Rails applications will need to add the following entry into their Gemfile specifying the openredis client library.

gem "redis"

Update application dependencies with bundler.

$ bundle install

You can connect to Redis by using the OPENREDIS_URL:

$redis = Redis.connect :url => ENV["OPENREDIS_URL"]

Using Redis from Python

Install redis-py:

$ pip install redis

Then connect to Redis:

import os
import redis


client = redis.from_url(REDIS_URL)

Using Redis from Node.js

Install node_redis:

$ npm install redis

Then use the following snippet to connect to Redis:

var url   = require("url").parse(process.env.OPENREDIS_URL);
var redis = require("redis").createClient(url.port, url.hostname);


Using Redis from Java

Install Jedis by following the author’s instructions.

Then use the following snippet to connect to Redis:

Jedis jedis = new Jedis(System.getenv("OPENREDIS_URL"));

Development environment

When developing locally it is best to turn off the integration with openredis to minimize dependencies on remote services. You can use a local Redis server, and point OPENREDIS_URL to localhost and the appropriate port.

For example:

ENV["OPENREDIS_URL"] = "redis://localhost:6379"

$redis = Redis.connect(:url => ENV["OPENREDIS_URL"])


Make sure you can connect with redis-cli. If that works, check you are getting the credentials right in your application. For support questions, you can find us at #openredis on Freenode, mention @openredis on Twitter, or simply email us at

Migrating between plans

Application owners should carefully manage the migration timing to ensure proper application function during the migration process.

Upgrading an instance is easy and incurs no downtime. In order to upgrade your instance, simply execute:

$ heroku addons:upgrade openredis:small
-----> Upgrading openredis:small to sharp-mountain-4005... done, v18 ($35/mo)
       Your plan has been updated to: openredis:small

After that, a new instance, with a new URL will be provisioned. Your OPENREDIS_URL will also be updated automatically and your application will be restarted gradually.

If you’re not using the OPENREDIS_URL variable directly, your application will not get the changes. Please update your app first to use OPENREDIS_URL before upgrading, or make sure you change any custom REDIS_URL you are using to the new OPENREDIS_URL value.

Removing the add-on

openredis can be removed via the CLI.

This will destroy all associated data and cannot be undone!

$ heroku addons:remove openredis
-----> Removing openredis from sharp-mountain-4005... done, v20 (micro)

Before removing openredis a data export can be performed by setting up a local instance of redis-server as a slave of the openredis instance.


All openredis support and runtime issues should be submitted to one of the Heroku Support channels. Any non-support related issues or product feedback is welcome at

Additional resources

Additional resources are available at: