First steps with Celery

Creating a simple task

In this example we are creating a simple task that adds two numbers. Tasks are defined in a normal python module. The module can be named whatever you like, but the convention is to call it

Our addition task looks like this:

from celery.decorators import task

def add(x, y):
    return x + y

All celery tasks are classes that inherit from the Task class. In this case we’re using a decorator that wraps the add function in an appropriate class for us automatically. The full documentation on how to create tasks and task classes is in the Tasks part of the user guide.


Celery is configured by using a configuration module. By default this module is called

Note:This configuration module must be on the Python path so it can be imported.

You can set a custom name for the configuration module with the CELERY_CONFIG_MODULE variable, but in these examples we use the default name.

Let’s create our

  1. Configure how we communicate with the broker:

    BROKER_HOST = "localhost"
    BROKER_PORT = 5672
    BROKER_USER = "myuser"
    BROKER_PASSWORD = "mypassword"
    BROKER_VHOST = "myvhost"
  2. In this example we don’t want to store the results of the tasks, so we’ll use the simplest backend available; the AMQP backend:


    The AMQP backend is non-persistent by default, and you can only fetch the result of a task once (as it’s sent as a message).

  3. Finally, we list the modules to import, that is, all the modules that contain tasks. This is so Celery knows about what tasks it can be asked to perform.

    We only have a single task module,, which we added earlier:

    CELERY_IMPORTS = ("tasks", )

That’s it.

There are more options available, like how many processes you want to process work in parallel (the CELERY_CONCURRENCY setting), and we could use a persistent result store backend, but for now, this should do. For all of the options available, see the configuration directive reference.

Running the celery worker server

To test we will run the worker server in the foreground, so we can see what’s going on in the terminal:

$ celeryd --loglevel=INFO

However, in production you probably want to run the worker in the background as a daemon. To do this you need to use to tools provided by your platform, or something like supervisord.

For a complete listing of the command line options available, use the help command:

$  celeryd --help

For info on how to run celery as standalone daemon, see daemon mode reference

Executing the task

Whenever we want to execute our task, we can use the delay() method of the task class.

This is a handy shortcut to the apply_async() method which gives greater control of the task execution. Read the Executing Tasks part of the user guide for more information about executing tasks.

>>> from tasks import add
>>> add.delay(4, 4)
<AsyncResult: 889143a6-39a2-4e52-837b-d80d33efb22d>

At this point, the task has been sent to the message broker. The message broker will hold on to the task until a worker server has successfully picked it up.

Note: If everything is just hanging when you execute delay, please check that RabbitMQ is running, and that the user/password has access to the virtual host you configured earlier.

Right now we have to check the worker log files to know what happened with the task. This is because we didn’t keep the AsyncResult object returned by delay().

The AsyncResult lets us find the state of the task, wait for the task to finish, get its return value (or exception if the task failed), and more.

So, let’s execute the task again, but this time we’ll keep track of the task by keeping the AsyncResult:

>>> result = add.delay(4, 4)

>>> result.ready() # returns True if the task has finished processing.

>>> result.result # task is not ready, so no return value yet.

>>> result.get()   # Waits until the task is done and returns the retval.

>>> result.result # direct access to result, doesn't re-raise errors.

>>> result.successful() # returns True if the task didn't end in failure.

If the task raises an exception, the return value of result.successful() will be False, and result.result will contain the exception instance raised by the task.

That’s all for now! After this you should probably read the User Guide.

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