Boosting Ruby on Rails Performance: Best Techniques and Tools
Published at July 20, 2023

Ruby on Rails is a popular web application framework known for its simplicity and productivity. However, performance optimization becomes crucial to ensure a smooth user experience as applications grow in size and complexity.

A survey from Statista also shows that out of 25 technologies, Ruby on Rails ranks 15th among popular frameworks in 2022. 

What are the techniques and tools for optimising performance in Ruby on Rails applications? Let's find out together.

The Importance of Performance Optimization

Ruby on Rails Performance VirtualSpirit

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Performance optimization plays an essential role in providing a great user experience. Faster response times, lower page loading speed, and efficient utilisation of resources contribute to increased user satisfaction and engagement. Here are the details:

  • Faster response times: Performance optimization can reduce page loading speeds and make response time faster. When users access a website or app, they desire swift and immediate results. A snappy and responsive platform ensures that users don't have to wait for prolonged periods.
  • Efficient utilisation: It streamlines code and optimise database queries. We can minimise the strain on servers and infrastructure, leading to better resource management and cost-effectiveness. This optimization not only benefits users but also contributes to the scalability and stability of the application.

By unlocking the performance potential in Ruby on Rails, we can live up to these expectations.

Measuring Performance

To optimise performance, it's crucial to measure and analyse the current state of the application. Measuring response time and identifying bottlenecks are fundamental steps in the optimization process.

1. Understanding Response Time

Response time refers to the time taken by an application to respond to a request made by a user. It includes the time taken for the server to process the request, retrieve data from databases, execute business logic, and generate a response. 

By measuring response time, developers can identify areas that require optimization.

2. Identifying Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks are areas within an application that impede performance. These can be slow database queries, inefficient code, excessive use of resources, or other factors that cause delays. 

Identifying bottlenecks helps prioritise optimization efforts and address specific areas of improvement.

Techniques for Performance Optimization

Several techniques can be employed to optimise the performance of Ruby on Rails applications:

1. Caching

Caching is a technique that involves storing frequently accessed data in memory for quick retrieval. Rails provides built-in caching mechanisms that can be utilised to cache database queries, fragments, and entire pages. 

Implementing caching appropriately can significantly improve response times and reduce server load.

2. Database Optimization

Optimising database queries is crucial for improving the performance of Rails applications. Techniques such as indexing, eager loading, and using database-specific features can help reduce query times. 

Additionally, minimising unnecessary database calls and optimising data retrieval can have a significant impact on overall performance.

3. Code Optimization

Writing efficient and optimised code is essential for optimal performance. Avoiding redundant calculations, minimising loops, and optimising algorithms can greatly improve execution speed. 

Using techniques like memoization and lazy loading can also contribute to performance gains.

4. Asset Optimization

Optimising assets, such as JavaScript performance and CSS files, can improve page load times. Techniques like minification, concatenation, and compression help reduce file sizes, enabling faster downloads and rendering. 

Using a content delivery network (CDN) for asset delivery can further enhance performance.

Tools for Performance Monitoring and Optimization

To aid in performance optimization, several tools are available specifically designed for Ruby on Rails applications:

1. New Relic

New Relic is a comprehensive application performance monitoring tool that provides insights into the performance of Ruby on Rails applications. It offers detailed metrics, transaction tracing, and error analysis, helping identify bottlenecks and optimise performance.

2. Scout

Scout is a lightweight monitoring tool for Ruby on Rails applications. It offers real-time performance insights, including database queries, memory usage, and response times. With its intuitive interface and customizable alerts, Scout helps developers quickly identify and resolve performance issues.

3. Bullet

Bullet is a developer tool that assists in identifying N+1 query problems in Rails applications. It alerts developers when unnecessary queries are made and suggests ways to optimise query performance. 

By addressing N+1 query issues, application performance can be significantly improved.

4. Rack-mini-profiler

Rack-mini-profiler is a profiling tool that provides performance insights during development. It helps identify performance bottlenecks by highlighting slow queries and rendering times. 

By using Rack-mini-profiler, developers can optimise their code and improve overall application performance.

5. Redis

Redis is an in-memory data structure store that can be used as a caching layer for Rails applications. By utilising Redis for caching, developers can improve response times and reduce the load on the database.

Best Practices for Performance Optimization

Implementing the following best practices can further enhance the performance of Ruby on Rails applications:

  • Minimising Database Queries: Reduce the number of database queries by optimising ActiveRecord queries, utilising eager loading, and implementing proper caching strategies.
  • Utilising Asynchronous Processing: Move time-consuming tasks to background jobs using frameworks like Sidekiq or Delayed Job. This allows the main application to respond quickly while the background jobs handle resource-intensive operations.
  • Optimising Asset Delivery: Implement techniques like asset pipelining, compression, and CDN integration to optimise the delivery of static assets.
  • Load Balancing and Scaling: Distribute incoming traffic across multiple servers using load balancers to prevent overload and ensure high availability. Scaling resources vertically or horizontally can improve performance and handle increasing user loads.


Performance optimization is a critical aspect of building Ruby on Rails applications. Developers can significantly improve application performance by employing techniques such as caching, database optimisation, code optimisation, and asset optimisation. 

Additionally, leveraging tools like New Relic, Scout, Bullet, Rack-mini-profiler, and Redis helps monitor performance and identify areas for improvement. 

By following best practices and continuously optimising, developers can deliver fast and responsive applications that provide an excellent user experience.

Embark on the journey of performance optimization, and unlock the true potential of your Ruby on Rails applications with VirtualSpirit. Contact us here!

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