Rails Subdomain Caching

Oct 02, 2009

A while ago, I was working on a site that had dynamic subdomains based on cities in the database. For example, if an admin created a record for Nashville, it would create http://nashville.sitename.com. The site was pretty content heavy, but didn't change a whole lot, so I wanted to cache as much as I could. The problem with caching was that the content of each page depended on the subdomain. I couldn't use the normal caching strategy because of this.

To handle the subdomain routing and identification, I used the awesome subdomain-fu plugin (which worked great). Subdomain-fu, however, does not do the work of putting your cached files into folders named for your subdomain. Luckily, fixing this was as easy as adding a before filter to my ApplicationController.

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  before_filter :update_cache_location
  def update_cache_location
    if current_subdomain.nil?
      ActionController::Base.page_cache_directory = "#{RAILS_ROOT}/public/cache/"
      ActionController::Base.page_cache_directory = "#{RAILS_ROOT}/public/cache/#{current_subdomain}/"

That method will update the page_cache_directory value to be your current subdomain (or default if you are on the main domain). Now, this takes care of one problem, but how the hell do we retrieve the cached files? I had a little bit of trouble with this, mainly because I'm not a mod_rewrite specialist. After some tinkering and testing, I finally came up with the following rules to put in my conf file to properly retrieve the cached files based on the subdomain.

# Check for subdomain cached index
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.sitename\.com
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^([^.]+)\.sitename\.com
RewriteRule ^/$ /cache/%1/index.html [QSA]

# Check for subdomain cached page
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.sitename\.com
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^([^.]+)\.sitename\.com
RewriteRule ^([^.]+)$ /cache/%1/$1.html [QSA]

# Check for regular non-subdomain index
RewriteRule ^/$ /cache/index.html [QSA] 

# Check for regular non-subdomain page
RewriteRule ^([^.]+)$ /cache/$1.html [QSA]

Those first two entries check to make sure the subdomain isn't www, then checks the cache folder for a cached version of the page. The last two entries check for the regular www subdomain.

These entries worked great for my project, but, like I said, I'm no expert with mod_rewrite. If you see anything that can be simplified or a better way of doing something, please let me know in the comments.

Tagged: railstutorialcaching