This page contains a collection of tips and settings that can be used to tune your server based upon its users and the other servers it federates with.
We recommend that all installations are run behind a CDN, and have caches configured. See below for more details on each.
The only bottleneck, and single point of failure in a Takahē installation is its database; no permanent state is stored elsewhere.
Provided your database is happy (and PostgreSQL does a very good job of just using more resources if you give them to it), you can:
Run more webserver containers to handle a higher request load (requests come from both users and other ActivityPub servers trying to forward you messages). Consider setting up the DEFAULT cache under high request load, too.
Run more Stator worker containers to handle a higher processing load (Stator handles pulling profiles, fanning out messages to followers, and processing stats, among others). You’ll generally see Stator load climb roughly in relation to the sum of the number of followers each user in your instance has; a “celebrity” or other popular account will give Stator a lot of work as it has to send a copy of each of their posts to every follower, separately.
Takahe is run with Gunicorn which spawns several workers to handle requests. Depending on what environment you are running Takahe on, you might want to customize this via the
GUNICORN_CMD_ARGSenvironment variable. For example -
GUNICORN_CMD_ARGS="--workers 2"to set the worker count to 2.
As you scale up the number of containers, keep the PostgreSQL connection limit in mind; this is generally the first thing that will fail, as Stator workers in particular are quite connection-hungry (the parallel nature of their internal processing means they might be working on 50 different objects at once). It’s generally a good idea to set it as high as your PostgreSQL server will take (consult PostgreSQL tuning guides for the effect changing that settting has on memory usage, specifically).
If you end up having a large server that is running into database performance problems, please get in touch with us and discuss it; Takahē is young enough that we need data and insight from those installations to help optimise it more.
Stator (Task Processing)#
Takahē’s background task processing system is called Stator, and it uses asynchronous Python to pack loads of tasks at once time into a single process.
By default, it will try to run up to 20 tasks at once, with a maximum of 4 from
any single model (FanOut will usually be the one it’s doing most of). You can
tweak these with the
TAKAHE_STATOR_CONCURRENCY_PER_MODEL environment variables; for every extra
element of concurrency you add, however, it will use an additional database
connection in a new worker thread. Be wary of hitting your database’s
The only real limits Stator can hit are CPU and memory usage; if you see your Stator (worker) containers not using anywhere near all of their CPU or memory, you can safely increase these numbers.
ActivityPub, as a federated protocol, involves talking to a lot of other servers. Sometimes, those servers may be under heavy load and not respond when Takahē tries to go and fetch user details, posts, or images.
There is a
TAKAHE_REMOTE_TIMEOUT setting to specify the number of seconds
Takahē will wait when making remote requests to other Fediverse instances; it
is set to 5 seconds by default. We recommend you keep this relatively low,
unless for some reason your server is on a very slow internet link.
This may also be a tuple of four floats to set the timeouts for connect, read, write, and pool timeouts:
TAKAHE_REMOTE_TIMEOUT='[0.5, 1.0, 1.0, 0.5]'
Note that if your server is unreachable (including being so slow that other servers’ timeouts make the connection fail) for more than about a week, some servers may consider it permanently unreachable and stop sending posts.
Over time, the amount of Fediverse content your server consumes will grow - you’ll see every reply to every post from every user you follow, and fetch every identity of every author of those replies.
Obviously, you don’t need all of this past a certain date, as it’s unlikely you’ll want to go back to view what the timeline would have looked like months ago. If you want to remove this data, you can run the two “pruning” commmands:
Each operates in batches, and takes an optional
to specify the batch size. The
variable specifies the number of days of history you want to keep intact before
the pruning happens - this defaults to 3 months.
Post pruning removes any post that isn’t:
Written by a local identity
Favourited, bookmarked or boosted by a local identity
Replied to by a local identity
A reply to a local identity’s post
Identity pruning removes any identity that isn’t:
A local identity
Mentioned by a post by a local identity
Followed or blocked by a local identity
Following or blocking a local identity
A liker or booster of a local post
We recommend you run the pruning commands on a scheduled basis (i.e. like
a cronjob). They will return a
1 exit code if they deleted something and
0 exit code if they found nothing to delete, if you want to put them in
a loop that runs until deletion is complete:
until ./manage.py pruneposts; do sleep 1; done
There are two ways Takahē uses caches:
For caching rendered pages and responses, like user profile information. These caches reduce database load on your server and improve performance.
For proxying and caching remote user images and post images. These must be proxied to protect your users’ privacy; also caching these reduces your server’s consumed bandwidth and improves users’ loading times.
By default Takakē has Nginx inside its container image configured to perform read-through HTTP caching for the image and media files, and no cache configured for page rendering.
Each cache can be adjusted to your needs; let’s talk about both.
This caching helps Takahē avoid database hits by rendering complex pages or API endpoints only once, and turning it on will reduce your database load. There is no cache enabled for this by default
To configure it, set the
TAKAHE_CACHES_DEFAULT environment variable.
We support anything that is available as part of
some cache backends will require additional Python packages not installed
by default with Takahē. More discussion on some major backends is below.
A Redis-protocol server. Use
redis:// for unencrypted communication and
rediss:// for TLS.
A remote Memcache-protocol server (or set of servers).
A cache on the local disk. Slower than other options, and only really useful if you have no other choice.
Note that if you are running Takahē in a cluster, this cache will not be shared across different machines. This is not quite as bad as it first seems; it just means you will have more potential uncached requests until all machines have a cached copy.
A local memory cache, inside the Python process. This will consume additional memory for the process, and should be used with care.
Image and Media Caching#
In order to protect your users’ privacy and IP addresses, we can’t just send them the remote URLs of user avatars and post images that aren’t on your server; we instead need to proxy them through Takahē in order to obscure who is requesting them.
Some other ActivityPub servers do this by downloading all media and images as soon as they see it, and storing it all locally with some sort of clean-up job; Takahē instead opts for using a read-through cache for this task, which uses a bit more bandwidth in the long run but which has much easier maintenance and better failure modes.
Our Docker image comes with this cache built in, as without it you’ll be making
Python do a lot of file proxying on every page load (and it’s not the best at
that). It’s set to 1GB of disk on each container by default, but you can adjust
this by setting the
TAKAHE_NGINX_CACHE_SIZE environment variable to a value
Nginx understands, like
The cache directory is
/cache/, and you can mount a different disk into
this path if you’d like to give it faster or more ephemeral storage.
If you have an external CDN or cache, you can also opt to add your own caching
to these URLs; they all begin with
/proxy/, and have appropriate
Cache-Control headers set.
Takahē can be run behind a CDN if you want to offset some of the load from the webserver containers. Takahē has to proxy all remote user avatars and images in order to protect the privacy of your users, and has a built-in cache to help with this (see “Caching” above), but at large scale this might start to get strained.
If you do run behind a CDN, ensure that your CDN is set to respect
Cache-Control headers from the origin rather than going purely off of file
extensions. Some CDNs go purely off of file
extensions by default, which will not capture all of the proxy views Takahē
uses to show remote images without leaking user information.
If you don’t want to use a CDN but still want a performance improvement, a
read-through cache that respects
Cache-Control, like Varnish, will
also help if placed in front of Takahē.
Remote Content Pruning#
By default, Takahē will prune (delete) any remote posts or identities that
haven’t been interacted with after 90 days. You can change this using the
TAKAHE_REMOTE_PRUNE_HORIZON environment variable, which accepts an integer
number of days as its value.
Setting this environment variable to
0 disables this feature entirely.
Takahē can optionally integrate with https://sentry.io for collection of raised exceptions from the webserver or Stator.
To enable this, set the
TAKAHE_SENTRY_DSN environment variable to the value
found in your sentry project:
Other Sentry configuration can be controlled through environment variables
takahe/settings.py. See the
Sentry python documentation