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High performance and actively maintained server-side session framework for Pyramid and Redis.

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pyramid_session_redis is a mature, stable and actively maintained Server-Side Sessions plugin for the Pyramid web framework.

Originally, this library was a fork of pyramid_redis_sessions, focused on improvements and API changes designed for high performance (particularly with servers under load), and a slightly different API designed for developer convenience.

This package was planning to follow a multi-version release process, however that plan was abandoned in favor of ensuring backards compatibility.

The main and 1.6 branches are designed to support both:

  • Python 2
  • Python 3


  • Pyramid 1.x
  • Pyramid 2.0

Prior Branches

The 1.5.x branch is in maintenance mode. No updates are expected, as 1.6 is backwards compatible.

The 1.4.x branch is EOL. It led to the stable 1.5.0 API release.

The 1.2.x branch is EOL as of 1.2.2. Previous plans were to support a final 1.3.0 release.

Prior Branch Details

The 1.2.x branch and earlier are largely a "drop-in-replacement" compatible with Eric Rasmussen's pyramid_redis_sessions as-is. If you are migrating from that project and do not want to upgrade code, you should pin your install of this library to pyramid_session_redis<=1.3.0 or pyramid_session_redis<1.3

Please be aware that you will be limited to using outdated versions of Pyramid 1.x if using the 1.2.x branch.

Starting with the 1.4.x branch, several design changes were made and this library is not a drop-in replacement, HOWEVER upgrading will only require minimal editing of your code: some editing for migration; some kwargs have changed; the structure of the package changed (imports); and advanced users who leverage the internal systems may need to upgrade. It should not take more than 5 minutes to convert. The package is still a plug-and-play Pyramid ISessions interface, so there are very small changes.

Prior Branch Incompatibilities

IMPORTANT: The internal payload structure changed in the 1.4 branch, and is no longer compatible with sessions created under 1.2 - they will be invalid.

PRs that can handle a graceful fallback are welcome.

The 1.2 format guaranteed internal sessions to be in this format:

{'managed_dict': {},
 'created': INT,
 'timeout': INT,

The 1.4 version streamlines the keys for a lighter footprint and generally looks like this:

{'m': {},  # managed_dict
 'c': INT,  # created
 'v': SESSION_API_VERSION,  # api version INT
 # the following are optional and not guaranteed to be in a session
 't': INT,  # timeout
 'x': INT,  # expiry

Key Takeaways:

  • Keys were shortened to 1 letter
  • An API Version is now used, to handle graceful changes in the future
  • The Timeout is no longer guaranteed to be present. The library now supports the entire Timeout to be handled in Redis
  • An "Expiry Timeout" may also exist

Key Concepts

Timeout vs Expires/MaxAge

This package allows you to set both Timeout and Expiry values. The two concepts are closely related, but very different.

A Timeout is an internal value and a moving target. It specifies how long a Session should last before it times out due to inactivity. The timeout is constantly refreshed when the session is accessed.

For example, consider these settings:

timeout = 1800
timeout_trigger = 900

The timeout setting is specifying the Session should remain active for 1800 seconds since it's last activity. The timeout_trigger setting is an optimization that defers modifying the Session's timeout on READ operations until at least 900 seconds have passed since the last modification. Modifications will always occur on WRITE operations. Depending on your configuration, the timeout may be stored in Redis, as part of the Python Payload, or both.

To illustrate how the above settings work, consider a timeline in which a User visits a website and then visits it again 2000 seconds later:

Visit 1 | 0s | Session A (new) Visit N | 2000s | Session B (new)

When the User makes the last visit, the Session would have timed out, because it exceeded the 1800 second mark in the timeout.

Now assume the User makes 3 visits in this timeline, and a second visit happens at the 899 mark:

Visit 1 | 0s | Session A (new) Visit 2 | 899s | Session A Visit N | 2000s | Session B (new)

When the User makes the last visit, the Session would still have timed out, because the second visit did not meet the timeout_trigger threshold.

But, if the second visit happens just 2 seconds later, at the 901 mark, the timeout_trigger is reached and the session's timeout will be extended:

Visit 1 | 0s | Session A (new) Visit 2 | 901s | Session A (update timeout trigger) Visit N | 2000s | Session A (update timeout trigger)

When the User makes the last visit, it would still happen within the context of the original Session and the timeout will be extended even further.

Expires and Max-Age are generally values that related to Cookie settings.

Expires is created on a Cookie as either a specified Date, or a null value; if the value is null (explicit or unspecified), the Cookie will be set as a "Session" cookie and only last for the duration of the web browser application being open.

Max-Age is created on a Cookie as the number of seconds until the Cookie expires. A zero or negative value will expire (delete) the cookie immediately. If both Expires and Max-Age are set, Max-Age has precedence.

The Confusion?

If Redis stores our Timeout info, it stores it in an "expiry" value via SETEX or similar calls.

Key Differences From pyramid_redis_sessions

Depending on your needs, this package is probably more desirable than the original project. This package was designed to significantly cut down on the communication between Redis and Pyramid. Some options are offered to minimize the size of Redis payloads as well.

This package contains additional hooks and features to aid developers who are using Redis-based sessions in high-traffic situations.

This package does not recommend any "best deployment" strategies, but supports a wide range of strategies to implement the "best deployment" under any given circumstance.

Through 1.2.x

  • The original package communicates with Redis on most attribute accesses and writes within a given request. The traffic can be burdensome in some implementations. pyramid_session_redis will queue a single persist or refresh task per-request using Pyramid's add_finished_callback hook.
  • The original version used EXISTS to check if a Session existed or not, then proceeded to GET or SET a new Session. pyramid_session_redis will immediately attempt a GET, and will SET a new Session on failure. This approach eliminates a call.
  • Separate calls to SET and EXPIRE were replaced with a single SETEX.
  • A flag can be set to enable a LRU Cache (least recently used) mode. No expiry data will be sent to Redis, allowing the Redis server to handle the LRU logic itself.
  • The active Session is decoupled from the request.session attributs; this allows for the Session to be set up on alternate attributes and supports integration with pyramid_session_multi.
  • The original library does not detect changes in nested dictionaries. This package uses hashlib.md5 to fingerprint the serialized value on READ; if no changes were detected, a failsafe will Serialize+md5 the data to decide if a WRITE should occur. This behavior can be disabled by setting detect_changes to False.
  • The original library raises a fatal error if a Session can not be deserialized. By passing in deserialized_fails_new to the constructor, you can create a new Session on deserialization errors.
  • Support for disabling Sessions on CDN generated content via func_check_response_allow_cookies
  • Thanks to @ github/hongyuan1306, Token Generation has been consolidated to use Python3's stdlib (or reimplemented if not available). Tokens are also 32, not 20, characters.
  • Redis is supported in a LRU mode (see by setting the option set_redis_ttl to False (by default, it is True). This will eliminate calls to EXPIRE and will use SET instead of SETEX.
  • In the 1.2.x branch, the created time can be set to an integer via use_int_time=True. This will cast the created time via int(math.ceil(time.time())). This reduces a payload by several bits.

Other Updates 1.4.x+

  • Only int() time is supported; Fractional time wastes bytes.
  • Sessions now have version control to support future upgrades via a "version" v key.
  • The format of the internal payload was rewritten, the encoded payload now uses 1-letter keys instead of words. This should offset the addition of an expires timestamp and version id.
  • There was no logic for Python timeout control (whoops!) this has been fixed. An "expires" x key now tracks the expiration.
  • Added a timeout_trigger option. This will defer expiry data updates to lower usage on Redis. This is explained below in more detail.
  • In high load situations, Redis can have performance and storage issues because in the original package Session IDs are created on every request (such as a getting spidered by a botnet that does not respect Sessions). In this package, a 'lazycreate' method is used: a session_id/cookie will not be generated unless a session is needed in the callback routine. In order to generate session_id/cookie beforehand, one can use the RedisSession.ensure_id function. To safely check if a session id exists, one can use the RedisSession.session_id_safecheck method as well.
  • Added func_invalid_logger to the constructor. This can be used to log invalid Sessions. It is incredibly useful when integrated with a statsd system. (see below)
  • Added set_redis_ttl_readheavy to the factory and session constructors. This option will optimize Sessions which have Redis-maintained TTLs by executing a GET+EXPIRE together within a pipeline.


Install via pypi:

pip install pyramid_session_redis


Configure pyramid_session_redis via your Paste config file or however you prefer to configure Pyramid. Only redis.sessions.secret is required. All other settings are optional.

For complete documentation on the RedisSessionFactory that uses these settings, see :doc:api. Otherwise, keep reading for the quick list:

# session settings
redis.sessions.secret = your_cookie_signing_secret
redis.sessions.timeout = 1200

# session cookie settings
redis.sessions.cookie_name = session
redis.sessions.cookie_max_age = max_age_in_seconds
redis.sessions.cookie_path = /
redis.sessions.cookie_domain =
redis.sessions.cookie_secure = False
redis.sessions.cookie_httponly = False
redis.sessions.cookie_on_exception = True

# you can supply a redis connection string as a URL
redis.sessions.url = redis://username:password@localhost:6379/0

# or as individual settings (note: the URL gets preference if you do both) = localhost
redis.sessions.port = 6379
redis.sessions.db = 0
redis.sessions.password = None

# additional options can be supplied to redis-py's StrictRedis
redis.sessions.socket_timeout =
redis.sessions.connection_pool =
redis.sessions.charset = utf-8
redis.sessions.errors = strict
redis.sessions.unix_socket_path =

# in the advanced section we'll cover how to instantiate your own client
redis.sessions.client_callable = my.dotted.python.callable

# along with defining your own serialize and deserialize methods
redis.sessions.serialize = cPickle.dumps
redis.sessions.deserialize = cPickle.loads

# you can specify a prefix to be used with session keys in redis
redis.sessions.prefix = mycoolprefix

# or you can supply your own UID generator callable for session keys
redis.sessions.id_generator = niftyuid


Lastly, you need to tell Pyramid to use pyramid_session_redis as your Session factory. The preferred way is adding it with config.include, like this:

def main(global_config, **settings):
    config = Configurator(settings=settings)

Alternately, instead of using the Configurator's include method, you can activate Pyramid by changing your application's ".ini" file, use the following line:

pyramid.includes = pyramid_session_redis

The above method is recommended because it's simpler, idiomatic, and still fully configurable. It even has the added benefit of automatically resolving dotted python paths used in the advanced options.

However, you can also explicitly pass a settings dict to the session_factory_from_settings function. This can be helpful if you configure or modify your settings in code:

from pyramid_session_redis import session_factory_from_settings

def main(global_config, **settings):
    config = Configurator(settings=settings)
    session_factory = pyramid_session_redis(settings)

Timeout Notes

If set_redis_ttl is False, it does not imply there is no timeout at all -- only that Redis will not be sent timeout data via SETEX or EXPIRE. Timeout data will still be stored in Python.

If Redis is functioning as an LRU Cache, abandoned sessions will never be seen by Python, but will eventually be cleared out to make room for new sessions by the inherent Redis LRU logic.

Timeout data stored in Python is relatively small when compared to the timeout data stored in Redis.

If you want to NEVER have sessions timeout, set the initial timeout to "0" or "None".

Setting a timeout_trigger will require Python to track the expiry.

Enabling set_redis_ttl_readheavy requires a timeout and set_redis_ttl; it also requires not enabling timeout_trigger or python_expires.

Timeout Examples

Timeout in Python, with Redis TTL via SETEX/EXPIRE:

timeout = 60

Timeout in Python, no Redis TTL (only SET used)

timeout = 60
assume_redis_ttl = True

No Timeout in Python, no Redis TTL (only SET used)

timeout = 0  # or None
assume_redis_ttl = True

Warning: Session Locking and Race Conditions

This package does not incorporate any sort of locking for session updating or handling of race conditions.

This should not be a problem for the vast majority of users, and is a feature not present on any known Pyramid Session providers.

For more information, please see:

Feature - Timeout Triggers

A timeout trigger can be used to limit the amount of updates/writes. It may be more beneficial to your usage pattern.

For the sake of clarity, I'll use an oversimplification that Redis essentially has two different internal data stores that are used independently: one for a Key's payload and another for the Key's expiry.

In the 'classic' behavior (project this was forked from): every time you access an existing session, the GET is followed by sending Redis a new EXPIRE time; essentially every "read" has a corresponding "write" for the Redis-tracked expiry record.

In order to minimize the writes via SETEX, I introduced the timeout trigger. The trigger works by storing some timeout information in the Redis data payload, and using that information to determine when to send a write. Instead of having a GET+EXPIRE for every read, we only have a single GET and eliminate the write caused by the EXPIRE. This has a maintenance cost though - once we hit the timeout trigger, instead of just the GET we need to update the internal timeout payload and issue a SET.

Going back to your situation: when the user stops activity at 40 minutes in, if the timeout trigger is enabled then there has never been an update to the internal payload or Redis about the user activity since the session was first created. The purpose of the trigger is to defer that "write" operation.

In order to make a session valid for "reading" for around an hour, you should do something like:

  • a two-hour session with a 10 minute trigger, or
  • a one-hour session with a 50 minute trigger

You can also disable the functionality by setting the trigger to 0. Up to a few thousand daily users, you shouldn't have any issues with the overhead of the "classic" mode. When you hit 10k users and/or start to have clustered web servers communicating with dedicated Redis instances, setting a new EXPIRE after every read operation becomes something you want to avoid.

Scenario 1 - Classic Redis

In the typical "classic" Redis usage pattern, the session usage is refreshed via an EXPIRE call on every session view.

This is useful, but means many session operations will trigger two Redis calls (GET + EXPIRE). On a high performance system, this can be a lot.

This is a typical scenario with refreshing:

timeout = 200

The following timeline would occur:

time Redis calls timeout
100 GET+EXPIRE 300
200 GET+EXPIRE 400
300 GET+EXPIRE 500
400 GET+EXPIRE 600
500 GET+EXPIRE 700

Scenario 2 - Timeout Trigger

The 1.4.x branch introduces a timeout_trigger to augment the Session's timeout.

Whereas a timeout states how long a session is good for, a timeout_trigger defers how long a Session's refresh should be deferred for:

Given the following example, the package will use a 1200s timeout for requests, but only trigger an update of the expiry time when the current time is within 600s of the expiry:

timeout = 1200
timeout_trigger = 600

The following timeline would occur:

time Redis calls timeout next threshold
0 GET+SET* 1200 600
1 GET 1200 600
599 GET 1200 600
600 GET+SET* 1800 1200
601 GET 1800 1200
1199 GET 1800 1200
1200 GET+SET* 2400 1800
  • This method is compatible with setting a TTL in redis via SETEX or doing everything within Python if Redis is in a LRU mode

The removes all calls to EXPIRE before the threshold is reached, which can be a considerable savings in read-heavy situations.

The caveat to this method: an expiry timestamp must be stored within the payload AND updating the timeout requires a SET operation.

Feature - set_redis_ttl_readheavy

This is a new option in 1.4.2 which should improve performance on readheavy installations BUT may degrade performance on writeheavy installations. This option will aggregate a GET+EXPIRE on every read.

set_redis_ttl_readheavy requires the following:

  • a timeout value is set
  • set_redis_ttl is True
  • timeout_trigger is NOT set
  • python_expires is NOT True

The default behavior of this library during a read-only request is this:

  • On session access, query Redis via redis.GET {session_id}
  • In a Pyramid callback, update Redis via redis.EXPIRE {session_id} {expiry}

During a read-write:

  • On session access, query Redis via redis.GET {session_id}
  • In a Pyramid callback, update Redis via redis.SETEX {session_id} {payload} {expiry}

The new set_redis_ttl_readheavy changes this. If enabled during a read-only request, the behavior will be lighter on the Redis instance:

  • On session access, open a pipeline with two Redis commands: pipeline.GET {session_id}, pipeline.EXPIRE {session_id} {expiry}.
  • In a Pyramid callback, the duplicate expire is suppressed.

However during a read-write, the activity will be:

  • On session access, open a pipeline with two Redis commands: pipeline.GET {session_id}, pipeline.EXPIRE {session_id} {expiry}.
  • In a Pyramid callback, update Redis via redis.SETEX {session_id} {payload} {expiry}

Read-heavy applications should see a slight performance bump via the pipeined GET+EXPIRE, however write-heavy applications are likely to see a performance degradation as it adds an extra EXPIRE to every request.

Invalid Logging

The default behavior of this library is to silently create new session when bad session data is encountered, such as a cookie with an invalid id or corrupted datastore. A graceful "new session" is the ideal situation for end-users.

The problem with that strategy is that problems in code or your application stack can be hidden, and you might not know about a bad datastore.

The 1.4 release introduces func_invalid_logger to the factory constructor. This can be used to track the invalid sessions that are safely caught and silently upgraded.

How? The package tracks why a session is invalid with variant classes of pyramid_session_redis.exceptions.InvalidSession.

Specifically there are the following classes:

  • InvalidSession(Exception) Catchall base class
  • InvalidSession_NoSessionCookie(InvalidSession) The Session is invalid because there is no cookie. This is the same as "new session".
  • InvalidSession_NotInBackend(InvalidSession) The Session id was not in the backend.
  • InvalidSession_DeserializationError(InvalidSession) Error deserializing. This is raised if deserialized_fails_new is True. Otherwise the exception is wrapped in a RawDeserializationError and raised without being caught.
  • InvalidSession_PayloadTimeout(InvalidSession) The inner Python payload timed out.
  • InvalidSession_PayloadLegacy(InvalidSession) The Session is running on an earlier version.

The factory accepts a func_invalid_logger callable argument. The input is the raised exception BEFORE a new cookie is generated, and will be the request and an instance of InvalidSession.

from pyramid_session_redis.exceptions import *
from my_statsd import new_statsd_client()

statsd_client = new_statsd_client()

def my_logger(request, raised_exception):
    raised_exception will be an instance of InvalidSession
    log the exception to statsd for metrics
    if isinstance(raised_exception, InvalidSession_NoSessionCookie):
    elif isinstance(raised_exception, InvalidSession_NotInBackend):
    elif isinstance(raised_exception, InvalidSession_DeserializationError):

factory = RedisSessionFactory(...

The func_invalid_logger argument may be provided as a dotted-notation string in a configuration file.

Uncaught Errors

The exception pyramid_session_redis.exceptions.RawDeserializationError will be raised if deserialization of a payload fails and deserialized_fails_new is not True. The first arg will be the caught exception. This allows for a standard error across multiple deserialization options.


Q. What serialization is used?

A. Serialization is used at two points

  • Serializing the Session data. The server-side data serialization is handled by pickle. This Session data is created on the server by your application and remains on the server. pickle is safe to use in this context, as user-generated payloads can not be introduced to these (de)serialization routines. If you wish to avoid pickle, or your prefer to use another encoder, you can easily specify a different (de)serialization routine such as a custom JSON, msgpack or pretty much anything else.

  • Serializing the session_id to encode into a signed cookie. This library uses WebOb.cookies.SignedSerializer to securely manage a HMAC signature of the session_id combined with a site-secret. The library allows for a custom replacement to be provided as well.

    In the original library, the session id and signature were turned into a cookie-safe value via pickle (de)serialization - a detail that remained in this library through <=v1.5.0. This approach was identified as a security risk, and was removed from this library starting in v1.5.1.


There is an example of using this package in pyramid_session_multi examples/

Further Reading:

For more information about Redis performance under Python please see an associated project:

To suport multiple Sessions under Pyramid

Until Nov 2016 this was maintained as jvanasco/pyramid_redis_sessions

  • The main branch for jvanasco/pyramid_redis_sessions was "custom_deployment"
  • The branched named "main" is the upstream source from ericrasmussen

As of Nov 2016, this was forked into it's own project to allow for distribution under PyPi.

All support is handled via GitHub :






You can report bugs or open feature/support requests via GitHub


pyramid_session_redis is available under a FreeBSD-derived license. See LICENSE.txt <>_ for details.

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