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Diffusion User Guide: Repository Updates
Phabricator User Documentation (Application User Guides)

Explains how Diffusion updates repositories to discover new changes.


When Phabricator is configured to import repositories which are hosted elsewhere, it needs to poll those repositories for changes. If it polls too frequently, it can create too much load locally and on remote services. If it polls too rarely, it may take a long time for commits to show up in the web interface.

This document describes the rules around polling and how to understand and adjust the behavior. In general:

  • Phabricator chooses a default poll interval based on repository activity. These intervals range from every 15 seconds (for active repositories) to every 6 hours (for repositories with no commits in two months).
  • If you use arc to push commits, or you host repositories on Phabricator, repositories automatically update after changes are pushed.
  • If you don't use arc and your repository is hosted elsewhere, this document describes ways you can make polling more responsive.

Default Behavior

By default, Phabricator determines how frequently to poll repositories by examining how long it has been since the last commit. In most cases this is fairly accurate and produces good behavior. In particular, it automatically reduces the polling frequency for rarely-used repositories. This dramatically reduces load for installs with a large number of inactive repositories, which is common.

For repositories with activity in the last 3 days, we wait 1 second for every 10 minutes without activity. The table below has some examples.

Time Since CommitPoll Interval
Minimum15 seconds
6habout 30 seconds
12habout 1 minute
1 dayabout 2 minutes
2 daysabout 5 minutes
3 daysabout 7 minutes

This means that you may need to wait about 2 minutes for the first commit to be imported in the morning, and about 5 minutes after a long weekend, but other commits to active repositories should usually be recognized in 30 seconds or less.

For repositories with no activity in the last 3 days, we wait longer between updates (1 second for every 4 minutes without activity). The table below has some examples.

Time Since CommitPoll Interval
4 daysabout 30 minutes
7 daysabout 45 minutes
10 daysabout 1 hour
20 daysabout 2 hours
30 daysabout 3 hours
Maximum6 hours

You can find the exact default poll frequency of a repository in Diffusion > (Choose a Repository) > Edit Repository, under "Update Frequency". You can also see the time when the repository was last updated in this interface.

Repositories that are currently importing are always updated at the minimum update frequency so the import finishes as quickly as possible.

Triggering Repository Updates

If you want Phabricator to update a repository more quickly than the default update frequency (for example, because you just pushed a commit to it), you can tell Phabricator that it should schedule an update as soon as possible.

There are several ways to do this:

  • If you push changes with arc land or arc commit, this will be done for you automatically. These commits should normally be recognized within a few seconds.
  • If your repository is hosted on Phabricator, this will also be done for you automatically.
  • You can schedule an update from the web interface, in Diffusion > (Choose a Repository) > Manage Repository > Status > Update Now.
  • You can make a call to the Conduit API method diffusion.looksoon. This hints to Phabricator that it should poll a repository as soon as it can. All of the other mechanisms do this under the hood.

In particular, you may be able to add a commit hook to your external repository which calls diffusion.looksoon. This should make an external repository about as responsive as a hosted repository.

If a repository has an update scheduled, the Diffusion > (Choose a Repository) > Edit Repository interface will show that the repository is prioritized and will be updated soon.

Troubleshooting Updates

You can manually run a repository update from the command line to troubleshoot issues, using the --trace flag to get full details:

phabricator/ $ ./bin/repository update --trace <repository>

To catch potential issues with permissions, run this command as the same user that the daemons run as.

Next Steps

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