Environment configuration

File descriptors

To handle large traffic, some of the system variables need to be tuned. Number one on that list is the maximum number of file descriptors which often is set to 1024. Each MongooseIM connection consumes ~1 file descriptor, so the default value will not suffice for larger installations - when it is exceeded, emfile errors will appear in logs.

To check the current limit execute: ulimit -n.

To list all limits execute: ulimit -a.

In the example below we set limits for a mongooseim user. To increase the limit the following entries should be added in /etc/security/limits.conf:

mongooseim   soft   nofile   1000000

mongooseim   hard   nofile   1000000

If you are using Ubuntu, all /etc/pam.d/common-session* files should include session required pam_limits.so.

vm.args file

This file contains erlang options used when starting the VM. It is located in REL_ROOT/etc/vm.args where REL_ROOT is the path to a MonoogseIM release (ie. _build/prod/rel/mongooseim if you build MongooseIM from source).

When using an SSL/TLS connection we advise to increase ERL_MAX_PORTS to 350000. This value specifies how many ports (files, drivers, sockets etc) can be used by Erlang VM. Be cautious - it preallocates some structures inside the VM and will have impact on the memory usage. We suggest 350000 for 100 k users when using an SSL/TLS connection or 250000 in other cases.

To check how memory consumption changes depending on ERL_MAX_PORTS, use the following command:

env ERL_MAX_PORTS=[given value] erl -noinput -eval 'io:format("~p~n",[erlang:memory(system)]).' -s erlang halt

Another change you need to make when building a MongooseIM cluster is setting the -sname. To do it, just set the -sname option in vm.args with node's hostname, which must be resolvable on other nodes in the cluster.

Port range

To connect to other nodes, a freshly started node uses a port from the range inet_dist_listen_min to inet_dist_listen_max.

To enable this, add the following line to the vm.args file:

-kernel inet_dist_listen_min 50000 inet_dist_listen_max 50010

Make sure that the range you set provides enough ports for all the nodes in the cluster.

Remember to keep an epmd port open (port 4369) if any firewall restrictions are required. Epmd keeps track of which erlang node is using which ports on the local machine.

Connecting nodes


  • working directory rel/mongooseim (root of a MongooseIM release or installation)
  • the same cookie across all nodes (vm.args -setcookie parameter)
  • each node should be able to ping other nodes using its sname (ex. net_adm:ping('mongoose@localhost'))

Initial node

There is no action required on the initial node.

Just start MongooseIM using mongooseim start or mongooseim live.

New node - joining cluster

mongooseimctl start
mongooseimctl started #waits until MongooseIM starts
mongooseimctl join_cluster ClusterMember

ClusterMember is the name of a running node set in vm.args file, for example mongooseim@localhost. This node has to be part of the cluster we'd like to join.

First MongooseIM will display a warning and a question if the operation should proceed:

Warning. This will drop all current connections and will discard all persistent data from Mnesia. Do you want to continue? (yes/no)

If you type yes MongooseIM will start joining the cluster. Successful output may look like the following:

You have successfully joined the node mongooseim2@localhost to the cluster with node member mongooseim@localhost

In order to skip the question you can add option -f which will perform the action without displaying the warning and waiting for the confirmation.

Leaving cluster

To leave a running node from the cluster, call:

mongooseimctl leave_cluster

It only makes sense to use it if the node is the part of a cluster, e.g join_cluster was called from that node before.

Similarly to join_cluster a warning and a question will be displayed unless the option -f is added to the command.

The successful output from the above command may look like the following:

You have successfully left the node mongooseim2@localhost from the cluster.

Removing a node from the cluster

To remove another node from the cluster, call the following command from one of the cluster members:

mongooseimctl remove_from_cluster RemoteNodeName

where RemoteNodeName is a name of the node that we'd like to remove from our cluster. This command could be useful when the node is dead and not responding and we'd like to remove it remotely. The successful output from the above command may look like the following:

The node mongooseim2@localhost has been removed from the cluster

Cluster status

You can use the following commands on any of the running nodes to examine the cluster or to see if a newly added node is properly clustered:

mongooseimctl mnesia info | grep "running db nodes"

This command shows all running nodes. A healthy cluster should contain all nodes here. For example:

running db nodes   = [mongooseim@node1, mongooseim@node2]

To see stopped or misbehaving nodes following command can be useful:

mongooseimctl mnesia info | grep "stopped db nodes"

This command shows which nodes are considered stopped. This does not necessarily indicate that they are down but might be a symptom of a communication problem.

Load Balancing

Elastic Load Balancer (ELB)

When using ELB please be advised that some warm-up time may be needed before the load balancer works efficiently for a big load.

Software load balancer

A good example of load balancing on the application layer are HAProxy and Nginx.

DNS-based load balancing

Load balancing can be performed on a DNS level. A DNS response can have a number of IP addresses that can be returned to the client side in a random order.

On the AWS stack this type of balancing is provided by Route53. The description of their service can be found at:



The approaches described above can be mixed - we can use DNS load balancing to pick a software load balancer which will select one of the nodes.