Provides a cluster of workers for phantomjs processing
Last updated 5 years ago by ysimonson .
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Phantom-cluster is a cluster of node.js workers for processing requests with phantomjs instances.

Because you can spawn multiple workers, requests can be processed in parallel. At the same time, the limited number of workers prevents you from spinning up too many memory-intensive phantomjs instances. Further, there's some added logic to automatically restart workers after a few iterations to prevent memory leaks.

For a full example, see

Communication-agnostic engines

If you want to use a custom communication mechanism, or do not wish to use a FIFO queue, you can use the communication-agnostic engines, represented with PhantomClusterServer and PhantomClusterClient. In this mode, the server spins up workers, and workers coordinate access to the phantomjs process, but that's it. It's up to you to figure out how to get the server to send requests to clients.

Spin up new instances of these classes via create(), i.e.:

var phantomCluster = require("phantom-cluster");
var engine = phantomCluster.create({ ...options... });

The options for create:

  • numWorkers: The number of workers to spin up (defaults to the number of CPUs available.)
  • iterations: The number of work iterations to execute before killing this worker and restarting it. This is available to prevent phantomjs memory leaks from exhausting all the system memory (defaults to 100.)
  • phantomArguments: An array of strings specifying command-line arguments to pass into the phantomjs process. See the phantomjs docs for a list of available arguments. Defaults to no arguments.
  • phantomBinary: A string specifying the location of the phantomjs binary. By default this is auto-detected.
  • phantomBasePort: The base port from which workers should create unique ports to communicate with the phantomjs process.

If the process is a worker, you'll be returned an instance of PhantomClusterClient. Otherwise you'll be returned an instance of PhantomClusterServer.



  • addWorker: Adds a new worker.
  • start: Starts the server and spins up the workers.
  • stop: Stops the server and kills the workers.


  • workerStarted: A new worker has been added to the pool.
  • workerDied: A worker has died.
  • started: The engine has started.
  • stopped: The engine has stopped.


  • workers: Mapping of worker IDs to worker objects.
  • done: Whether the engine is done (i.e. whether stop() has been called.)



  • next: Call this method when you've finished processing a request.
  • start: Starts the client.
  • stop: Stops the client.


  • phantomStarted: The phantom instance has started up.
  • phantomDied: The phantom instance has died.
  • workerReady: Attach a listener to this event to handle a request. It will be called when phantomjs is ready.
  • started: The engine has started.
  • stopped: The engine has stopped.


  • ph: The phantom instance. See the phantomjs-node documentation on how to use it.
  • iterations: The number of iterations left before this worker is killed.

Queued engines

phantom-cluster exposes a server/client setup that builds on the communication-agnostic server/client that processes requests via a FIFO queue. Communication between the server and workers is facilitated via node.js' built-in IPC mechanism. This should suit most needs and is the default setup.

In this setup, requests should be idempotent - that is, multiple executions of the request should yield the same result. This is because requests have a built-in timeout. This is to prevent lost requests from, e.g. workers that suddenly die.

Spin up new instances of these classes via createQueued(), i.e.:

var phantomCluster = require("phantom-cluster");
var engine = phantomCluster.createQueued({ ...options... });

The options for createQueued including all of the options for create, and additionally:

  • messageTimeout: Sets the timeout for requests. After this timeout the request is re-enqueued. Again, you'll be returned either a PhantomQueuedClusterServer or PhantomQueuedClusterClient depending on whether this is a worker process or not.


This extends PhantomClusterServer, so it includes all of their methods/events/properties.


  • enqueue: Enqueues a new item. The item will later be passed off to a worker, and can be any JSON-serializable object. This method returns an instance of QueueItem.


  • queue: Contains the queue of unprocessed requests.


This extends PhantomClusterClient, so it includes all of their methods/events/properties.


  • queueItemResponse: Call this method instead of next when you've processing the current request, as it notify the server. Pass the response as an argument, which will in turn be passed to the server.


  • queueItemReady: Listen for this method instead of workerReady, as it will be called only when both the phantom process is ready and there's a request from the server that should be processed.


This is the object returned by PhantomQueuedClusterServer's enqueue method.


  • response: Fired when there is a response that's been returned from a worker.
  • timeout: Fired when the request has timed out.


  • id: The item's unique ID.
  • request: The request object.
  • response: The response object - set to null until a response has come in.

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  • phantomjs ~1.9.2-0
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