Deleting Keys with Memcached in Ruby (Detailed Guide w/ Code Examples)

Use Case(s)

In a typical web application, caching is used to store the result of an expensive operation for later use to reduce the load on the database or external services. However, sometimes, we need to delete these cached items - maybe the data has changed, or we are no longer in need of that particular piece of information. This is where deleting keys from Memcached comes in Ruby applications.

Code Examples

The Dalli gem is commonly used in Ruby applications for interfacing with a Memcached server. Here's how you might delete a key using Dalli:

require 'dalli' # Setup connection. dc ='localhost:11211') # Set a value. dc.set('keyname', 'some value') # Delete the value. dc.delete('keyname')

In this example, we first set up a connection to the Memcached server with Then we set a value for a key using dc.set, and then we delete that key-value pair from the cache using dc.delete.

Best Practices

  1. Always check if the key exists before trying to delete it. Although Memcached will not return an error if you try to delete a non-existent key, it's good practice to ensure the key you're trying to delete actually exists in order to avoid any potential issues or confusions in your code.
  2. Use meaningful names for your keys. Having well-named keys can help you understand what you're storing and make it easier to manage your cache.

Common Mistakes

  1. Deleting keys prematurely or without fully understanding the system can lead to cache thrashing, where you're constantly invalidating and repopulating the cache. This can be as bad, if not worse, than not having a cache at all.
  2. Relying on Memcached for permanent storage is a common mistake. Remember, Memcached is a caching solution, not a persistent storage system. Data deleted from it cannot be recovered.


  1. What happens if I try to delete a non-existent key in Memcached?
    Memcached will simply return a "NOT_FOUND" response, and no error will occur.

  2. Can I recover a deleted key in Memcached?
    No, once a key is deleted, it can't be recovered. Memcached isn't meant to be a persistent data store.

  3. Can I delete multiple keys at once in Memcached?
    No, Memcached does not support multi-delete operations. You have to delete each key individually.

Was this content helpful?

Similar Code Examples

Start building today

Dragonfly is fully compatible with the Redis ecosystem and requires no code changes to implement.