Container Recovery

When Containers on Aptible exit unexpectedly (i.e. Aptible did not terminate them as part of a deploy or restart), they are automatically restarted. This feature is called Container Recovery.

This means that for the vast majority of apps, you don't have to do anything to automatically restart in the event of a crash.


When containers exit, Aptible automatically restarts them from a pristine state. This means that any changes to the filesystem will be undone (e.g. PID files will be deleted, etc.).

As a user, the implication is that if your container started properly, then Aptible will be able to automatically recover it as well. Whenever this happens, your Log Drains will be notified (you'll see a pair of container has exited / container has started events).

If your app is continuously restarting, Aptible will throttle recovery to a rate of one attempt every 2 minutes.

Cases where Container Recovery will not work

Container Recovery restarts Containers that exit, so if your app crashes but your Container does not exit, then Container Recovery can't help you.

Here's an example Procfile demonstrating this issue:

app: (my-app &) && tail -F log/my-app.log

In this case, since my-app is running in the background, the container will not exit when my-app exits. Instead, it would exit if tail exited.

To ensure Container Recovery effectively keeps your app up, make sure that:

  • Each container is only running one app.
  • The one app each container is supposed to run is running in the foreground.

For example, we could rewrite the above Procfile like so:

app: (tail -F log/my-app.log &) && my-app

If you absolutely need to run multiple processes in a container, or need to run something else in the foreground, then we recommend using a dedicated process manager in your container, such as Forever or Supervisord.

When in doubt, feel free to reach out to Aptible Support.

Disabling filesystem wipes

As mentioned above, Container Recovery automatically restarts your containers with a pristine filesystem. This maximizes the odds of your container coming back up when recovered, and mimics what happens when you restart your app yourself using aptible restart.

However, if you don't want your filesystem to be wiped (e.g. because you've designed it to properly handle being restarted), you can instruct Aptible to do leave it untouched by setting the APTIBLE_DO_NOT_WIPE Configuration variable on your App to any non-null value (e.g. setting it to 1 is fine).