Revision: Fri, 31 May 2024 16:10:59 GMT
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Websockets — Getting started

RoadRunner used to have its own WebSocket plugin for sending messages to clients, but we found it was too limited. We wanted to create a better solution for handling real-time data transmission and decided to stop developing our own plugin. Instead, we looked for one of the best open-source tools out there and found Centrifugo. We created a RoadRunner plugin called Centrifuge that integrates with Centrifugo server using GRPC API and it's a much more powerful and flexible option.

Here are some of the benefits of using Centrifugo:

  • Real-time data transmission: The integration provides efficient management of real-time data transmission, making it an ideal solution for applications that require real-time updates and notifications.
  • Scalability: The Centrifugo toolset is designed to be highly scalable, allowing for the easy expansion of your application as it grows.
  • Flexibility: Centrifugo provides a powerful and flexible toolset that can be easily customized to meet the specific needs of your application.
  • Large community: Centrifugo has a large and active community that is constantly working to improve the tool, which means you'll have access to a wealth of knowledge and resources.
  • Complete Javascript SDK: Centrifugo provides a comprehensive Javascript SDK, making it easy for developers to interact with the server and build client-side functionality.

With this integration, you can send events to WebSocket clients as well as handle events from the clients on the server.

Spiral has a full integration with the RoadRunner Centrifuge plugin, which facilitates communication between Spiral application and the Centrifugo WebSocket server.

Here are events that can be received on the server:

  • Connection requests: When a client establishes a WebSocket connection to the Centrifugo server, a connection request event is sent to RoadRunner.
  • Refresh connection events: Centrifugo sends a refresh event to RoadRunner when it is time to refresh the connection between the client and the server.
  • RPC calls: Centrifugo can send RPC (Remote Procedure Call) events to RoadRunner over a client connection. These events allow you to invoke server-side functions from the client.
  • Subscribe requests: When a client subscribes to a channel, Centrifugo sends a subscribe request event to RoadRunner.
  • Publish calls: This request happens BEFORE a message is published to a channel, so your backend can validate whether a client can publish data to a channel.


At first, you need to install the spiral/roadrunner-bridge package.

Once the package is installed, you can add the Spiral\RoadRunnerBridge\Bootloader\CentrifugoBootloader to the list of bootloaders:

public function defineBootloaders(): array
    return [
        // ...
        // ...

Read more about bootloaders in the Framework — Bootloaders section.


RoadRunner server

To configure the communication between RoadRunner and Centrifugo, you will need to modify the .rr.yaml file.

  listen: tcp://

  command: "php app.php"
  relay: pipes

  proxy_address: "tcp://"
  grpc_api_address: "centrifugo:10000"

Where proxy_address is the address of the RoadRunner Centrifuge plugin. It will be used by the Centrifugo server to communicate with RoadRunner.

And grpc_api_address is the address of the Centrifugo GRPC server. It will be used by the RoadRunner Centrifuge plugin to communicate with the Centrifugo server.

See more
Read more about the configuration of the Centrifuge plugin here.

Centrifugo server

To complete the integration, you will need to configure the Centrifugo server by creating a config.json file and specifying the communication settings between Centrifugo and RoadRunner.

Here is an example config.json file that shows how to configure the communication between servers

  // ...
  "allowed_origins": [
  "publish": true,
  "proxy_publish": true,
  "proxy_subscribe": true,
  "proxy_connect": true,
  "allow_subscribe_for_client": true,
  "grpc_api": true,
  "grpc_api_address": "",
  "grpc_api_port": 10000,
  "proxy_connect_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_connect_timeout": "10s",
  "proxy_publish_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_publish_timeout": "10s",
  "proxy_subscribe_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_subscribe_timeout": "10s",
  "proxy_refresh_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_refresh_timeout": "10s",
  "proxy_rpc_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_rpc_timeout": "10s"

See more
More information about Centrifugo server configuration you can read on the official documentation

In this configuration

  • proxy_connect_endpoint - RoadRunner server address, which will handle the new connection events
  • proxy_publish_endpoint - RoadRunner server address, which will handle the publish events
  • proxy_subscribe_endpoint - RoadRunner server address, which will handle the subscribe events
  • proxy_refresh_endpoint - RoadRunner server address, which will handle the refresh events
  • proxy_rpc_endpoint - RoadRunner server address, which will handle the rpc events

Centrifugo allows you to use multiple RoadRunner servers to handle different types of events. This can be useful in situations where you want to scale up the number of events that your application can handle or where you want to improve the reliability of the communication between Centrifugo and RoadRunner.

To use multiple, you will need to specify the addresses of the servers in the config.json file. For example, you might configure one RoadRunner server to handle connection events and another to handle RPC calls, as shown in the following example configuration:

  // ...
  "proxy_connect_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_connect_timeout": "10s",
  "proxy_rpc_endpoint": "grpc://",
  "proxy_rpc_timeout": "10s"

You can use this approach to distribute the workload among multiple RoadRunner servers, depending on your needs.

Keep in mind that using multiple RoadRunner servers will require additional configuration and setup, and you will need to ensure that the servers are properly coordinated to ensure smooth operation. However, the benefits of increased scalability and reliability can be well worth the effort.

Spiral application

To use the Centrifuge in your application, you will need to create a centrifugo.php file in the app/config directory. In this file, you can specify services that will handle incoming events from the Centrifugo server, as well as any interceptors that should be applied to the events.

Here is an example of a centrifugo.php config file that shows how to specify services and interceptors:

use RoadRunner\Centrifugo\Request\RequestType;

return [
    'services' => [
        RequestType::Connect->value => ConnectService::class,
        RequestType::Subscribe->value => SubscribeService::class,
        RequestType::Refresh->value => RefreshService::class,
        RequestType::Publish->value => PublishService::class,
        RequestType::RPC->value => RPCService::class,
    'interceptors' => [
        RequestType::Connect->value => [
        RequestType::Subscribe->value => [
        RequestType::RPC->value => [
        '*' => [

See more
For more information on event handlers (services) and how to use them in a Spiral application, you can refer to the documentation section on Event Handlers. This page provides additional details and examples to help you get started with event handling.

Javascript client

You can use the official JavaScript SDK for Centrifugo to facilitate communication between the Centrifugo server and the client browser in your application. It provides a set of APIs that allow you to connect to the Centrifugo server, subscribe to channels, and receive messages in real-time.

Using the JavaScript SDK, you can establish a WebSocket connection between the client and the Centrifugo server, and all communication between RoadRunner and the client will be routed through the Centrifugo server. This means that you don't need to open any additional ports on your server to support real-time communication between the client and the server.

Nginx proxy

To enable WebSocket connections with Centrifugo server using Nginx proxy, you need to configure the proxy accordingly.

This can be done by including the following configuration in the Nginx configuration file:

map $http_upgrade $connection_upgrade {
    default upgrade;
    '' close;

server {
    listen 8000;

    server_name _;

    # Centrifugo WebSocket endpoint
    location /connection {
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection $connection_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
    # RoadRunner HTTP endpoint
    location / {

See more
More information about Nginx proxy configuration you can read on the official documentation.

Example Application

There is a good example Demo ticket booking system application built on the Spiral, which is a high-performance PHP framework that follows the principles of microservices and allows developers to create reusable, independent, and easy-to-maintain components.

It demonstrates how to use RoadRunner's Centrifuge plugin to enable real-time communication between the Centrifugo server and the client browser.