Some time ago I wrote about Tracking Online Users using Timestamps. However these “timestamps” would require constantly hitting the relational database whenever a user does an action. This could cause performance issues.

Instead, you could use Redis to store this temporary data. After all, isn’t that what Redis exists for?!

Also, a more accurate way to track whether someone is actually online is to check if he has an active Websockets connection with your app.

In the previous post I wrote about tracking live visitor count. We identified a vistor by a session_id without authentication.

The only difference here is that we identify an authenticated current_user if there is one.


  • Have authentication installed (Devise or anything else).
  • Install gem Kredis

Result - you can have a “live list of online users”:


Step 1: Create live list of online users #

First, pass the to the ActionCable Connection.

This can vary on the authentication solution that you are using.

# app/channels/application_cable/connection.rb
module ApplicationCable
  class Connection < ActionCable::Connection::Base
    identified_by :current_user

    def connect
      self.current_user = find_verified_user


    def find_verified_user
      # if current_user = User.find_by(id: cookies.encrypted[:user_id])
      if current_user = env['warden'].user # For Devise. Credit: @secretpray
        # reject_unauthorized_connection
        nil # Allow not logged in users to access the connection

Now you can access current_user in a Channel.

Create a turbo stream that would target an ActionCable Channel.

# app/views/layouts/application.html.erb
<%= turbo_stream_from "online_users", channel: OnlineChannel %>

Next, create

  • < Turbo::StreamsChannel & super to make turbo_stream_from correctly connect to ActionCable
  • create a Kredis.unique_list where you will store ids of all users online
  • broadcast current_user to the list of users online (server-side render the HTML)
  • if the user logs out or closes all his browser sessions, he will be removed from the list of online users
# app/channels/online_channel.rb
class OnlineChannel < Turbo::StreamsChannel
  def subscribed
    return unless current_user
    users_online = Kredis.unique_list "users_online", expires_in: 5.seconds
    users_online <<
    # users_online.elements
    # users_online.elements.count
      target: 'users-list',
      partial: 'users/user',
      locals: { user: current_user }

  def unsubscribed
    return unless current_user
    users_online = Kredis.unique_list "users_online"
      target: "user_#{}",

Step 2: Display all users that are online. #

In the controller, find all users that are online from the Kredis list:

# app/controllers/users_controller.rb
class UsersController < ApplicationController
  # skip_before_action :authenticate_user!, only: %i[ index ]

  def index
    users_online = Kredis.unique_list "users_online"
    @users = User.find(users_online.elements)

Display the users in the view:

# app/views/users/index.html.erb
<div id="users-list">
  <% @users.each do |user| %>
    <%= render partial: 'users/user', locals: { user: } %>
  <% end %>
# app/views/users/_user.html.erb
<div id="<%= dom_id(user) %>">
  <%= %>

Turbo broadcasts that we have added in app/channels/online_channel.rb will add/remove users from the list!

Important notice: when a user logs out, he will still be online until he refreshes the pages, closes the tab, or redirects to another website. This is because the ActionCable connection needs to be reset.

That’s it. Now you can track all visitors on the website, track visitors in a room, track all online users. Thanks to ActionCable (Websockets), Kredis and Turbo Broadcasts!