In general, signals need only be sent to the master process. However, the signals Unicorn uses internally to communicate with the worker processes are documented here as well. With the exception of TTIN/TTOU, signal handling matches the behavior of nginx so it should be possible to easily share process management scripts between Unicorn and nginx.
One example init script is distributed with unicorn: unicorn.bogomips.org/examples/init.sh
HUP - reloads config file and gracefully restart all workers. If the “preload_app” directive is false (the default), then workers will also pick up any application code changes when restarted. If “preload_app” is true, then application code changes will have no effect; USR2 + QUIT (see below) must be used to load newer code in this case. When reloading the application, Gem.refresh will be called so updated code for your application can pick up newly installed RubyGems. It is not recommended that you uninstall libraries your application depends on while Unicorn is running, as respawned workers may enter a spawn loop when they fail to load an uninstalled dependency.
INT/TERM - quick shutdown, kills all workers immediately
QUIT - graceful shutdown, waits for workers to finish their current request before finishing.
USR1 - reopen all logs owned by the master and all workers See Unicorn::Util.reopen_logs for what is considered a log.
USR2 - reexecute the running binary. A separate QUIT should be sent to the original process once the child is verified to be up and running.
WINCH - gracefully stops workers but keep the master running. This will only work for daemonized processes.
TTIN - increment the number of worker processes by one
TTOU - decrement the number of worker processes by one
Note: as of unicorn 4.8, the master uses a pipe to signal workers instead of kill(2) for most cases. Using signals still (and works and remains supported for external tools/libraries), however.
Sending signals directly to the worker processes should not normally be needed. If the master process is running, any exited worker will be automatically respawned.
INT/TERM - Quick shutdown, immediately exit. Unless WINCH has been sent to the master (or the master is killed), the master process will respawn a worker to replace this one. Immediate shutdown is still triggered using kill(2) and not the internal pipe as of unicorn 4.8
QUIT - Gracefully exit after finishing the current request. Unless WINCH has been sent to the master (or the master is killed), the master process will respawn a worker to replace this one.
USR1 - Reopen all logs owned by the worker process. See Unicorn::Util.reopen_logs for what is considered a log. Log files are not reopened until it is done processing the current request, so multiple log lines for one request (as done by Rails) will not be split across multiple logs.
It is NOT recommended to send the USR1 signal directly to workers via “killall -USR1 unicorn” if you are using user/group-switching support in your workers. You will encounter incorrect file permissions and workers will need to be respawned. Sending USR1 to the master process first will ensure logs have the correct permissions before the master forwards the USR1 signal to workers.
You may replace a running instance of unicorn with a new one without losing any incoming connections. Doing so will reload all of your application code, Unicorn config, Ruby executable, and all libraries. The only things that will not change (due to OS limitations) are:
The path to the unicorn executable script. If you want to change to a different installation of Ruby, you can modify the shebang line to point to your alternative interpreter.
The procedure is exactly like that of nginx:
Send USR2 to the master process
Check your process manager or pid files to see if a new master spawned successfully. If you're using a pid file, the old process will have “.oldbin” appended to its path. You should have two master instances of unicorn running now, both of which will have workers servicing requests. Your process tree should look something like this:
unicorn master (old) \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn master \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn worker \_ unicorn worker
You can now send WINCH to the old master process so only the new workers serve requests. If your unicorn process is bound to an interactive terminal (not daemonized), you can skip this step. Step 5 will be more difficult but you can also skip it if your process is not daemonized.
You should now ensure that everything is running correctly with the new workers as the old workers die off.
If everything seems ok, then send QUIT to the old master. You're done!
If something is broken, then send HUP to the old master to reload the config and restart its workers. Then send QUIT to the new master process.