Caching Dependencies and Directories

Travis CI can cache content that does not often change, to speed up your build process. To use the caching feature, in your repository settings, set Build pushed branches to ON.

  • Travis CI fetches the cache for every build, including branches and pull requests.
  • If a branch does not have its own cache, Travis CI fetches the cache of the repository’s default branch.
  • There is one cache per branch and language version/ compiler version/ JDK version/ Gemfile location/ etc.
  • Only modifications made to the cached directories from normal pushes are stored.

Please note that cache content is available to any build on the repository, including Pull Requests, so make sure you do not put any sensitive information in the cache.

When creating the cache, symbolic links are not followed. Consider caching the normal files and directories instead.

Caching directories (Bundler, dependencies) #

Caches lets Travis CI store directories between builds, which is useful for storing dependencies that take longer to compile or download.

Note that if a third party project, such as Bundler, changes the location where they store dependencies you might need to specify the directory manually instead of using that particular caching shortcut. Please contact us with any questions, issues or feedback.

Build phases #

Travis CI uploads the cache after the script phase of the build, but before either after_success or after_failure.

Failure to upload the cache does not mark the job as failed.

Bundler #

On Ruby and Objective-C projects, installing dependencies via Bundler can make up a large portion of the build duration. Caching the bundle between builds drastically reduces the time a build takes to run.

Enabling Bundler caching #

To enable Bundler caching in your .travis.yml:

language: ruby
cache: bundler

Whenever you update your bundle, Travis CI will also update the cache.

Determining the bundle path #

Travis CI tries its best at determining the path bundler uses for storing dependencies.

If you have custom Bundler arguments, and these include the --path option, Travis CI will use that path. If --path is missing but --deployment is present, it will use vendor/bundle.

Otherwise it will automatically add the --path option. In this case it will either use the value of the environment variable BUNDLE_PATH or, if it is missing, vendor/bundle.

Caching and overriding install step #

Overriding the install step may cause the directive cache: bundler to miss the directory. In this case, observe where Bundler is installing the gems, and cache that directory using cache.directories.

Cleaning up bundle #

When you use

cache: bundler

The command bundle clean is executed before the cache is uploaded.

In the cases where this is not desirable, you can use specify the arbitrary directories to get around it. See this GitHub issue for more information.

cache RVM Ruby version for non Ruby projects #

There are projects using machines not based on Ruby but having some Ruby executions. For example, a NodeJS application that has a Ruby functional test suite.

For these cases installing a version of ruby with rvm install 2.3.1 may take more than 3 minutes. For these cases you can cache the ruby installation.

     - /home/travis/.rvm/

CocoaPods #

On Objective-C projects, installing dependencies via CocoaPods can take up a good portion of your build. Caching the compiled Pods between builds helps reduce this time.

Enabling CocoaPods caching #

You can enable CocoaPods caching for your repository by adding this to your .travis.yml:

language: objective-c
cache: cocoapods

If you want to enable both Bundler caching and CocoaPods caching, you can list them both:

language: objective-c
  bundler: true
  cocoapods: true

Note that CocoaPods caching won’t have any effect if you are already vendoring the Pods directory in your Git repository.

Determining the Podfile path #

By default, Travis CI will assume that your Podfile is in the root of the repository. If this is not the case, you can specify where the Podfile is like this:

language: objective-c
podfile: path/to/Podfile

npm cache #

Please note that as of July 2019, npm is cached by default on Travis CI

To disable npm caching, use:

  npm: false

To explicitly cache npm, use:

language: node_js

node_js: '6' # or another

cache: npm

This caches $HOME/.npm or node_modules, depending on the repository’s structure. See Node.js documentation for more details.

yarn cache #

For caching with yarn, use:

language: node_js

node_js: '6' # or another

cache: yarn

This caches $HOME/.cache/yarn.

pip cache #

For caching pip files, use:

language: python

cache: pip

caches $HOME/.cache/pip.

ccache cache #

If you are using ccache, use:

language: c # or other C/C++ variants

cache: ccache

to cache $HOME/.ccache and automatically add /usr/lib/ccache to your $PATH.

ccache on macOS #

ccache is not installed on macOS environments but you can install it by adding

  - brew install ccache
  - export PATH="/usr/local/opt/ccache/libexec:$PATH"

Note that this creates wrappers around your default gcc and g++ compilers.

R package cache #

For caching R packages, use:

language: R

cache: packages

This caches $HOME/R/Library, and sets R_LIB_USER=$HOME/R/Library environment variable.

Rust Cargo cache #

For caching Cargo packages, use:

language: rust

cache: cargo

This caches $HOME/.cargo and $TRAVIS_BUILD_DIR/target.

Arbitrary directories #

You can cache arbitrary directories, such as Gradle, Maven, Composer and npm cache directories, between builds by listing them in your .travis.yml:

  - .autoconf
  - $HOME/.m2

As you can see, you can use environment variables as part of the directory path. After possible variable expansion, paths that

  • do not start with a / are relative to $TRAVIS_BUILD_DIR.
  • start with a / are absolute.

Please be aware that the travis user needs to have write permissions to this directory.

Things not to cache #

The cache’s purpose is to make installing language-specific dependencies easy and fast, so everything related to tools like Bundler, pip, Composer, npm, Gradle, Maven, is what should go into the cache.

Large files that are quick to install but slow to download do not benefit from caching, as they take as long to download from the cache as from the original source:

  • Android SDKs
  • Debian packages
  • JDK packages
  • Compiled binaries
  • Docker images

Docker images are not cached, because we provision a brand new virtual machine for every build.

Fetching and storing caches #

  • Travis CI fetches the cache for every build, including branches and pull requests.
  • There is one cache per branch and language version / compiler version / JDK version / Gemfile location, etc. See Caches and build matrices for details.
  • If a branch does not have its own cache, Travis CI fetches the default branch cache.
  • Only modifications made to the cached directories from normal pushes are stored.

Pull request builds and caches #

Pull request builds check the following cache locations in order, using the first one present:

  • The pull request cache.
  • The pull request target branch cache.
  • The repository default branch cache.

If none of the previous locations contain a valid cache, the build continues without a cache.

After the first pull request build is run, it creates a new pull request cache.

Some important things to note about caching for pull requests:

  • If a repository has Build pushed branches set to OFF, neither the target branch nor the master branch can ever be cached.
  • If the cache on the master branch is old, for example in a workflow where most work happens on branches, the less useful the cache will be.
  • If a pull request is using a cache but you don’t want it to, you need to clear both the pull request cache and the cache of the target branch.

before_cache phase #

When using caches, it may be useful to run a command just before uploading the new cache archive.

For example, the dependency management utility may write log files into the directory you are caching and you do not want them to affect the cache. Use the before_cache phase to delete the log files:

    - $HOME/.cache/pip
  - rm -f $HOME/.cache/pip/log/debug.log

Failure in this phase does not mark the job as failed.

Clearing Caches #

Sometimes you spoil your cache by storing bad data in one of the cached directories, or your cache can become invalid when language runtimes change.

Use one of the following ways to access your cache and delete it if necessary:

Caches expiration #

Cache archives are currently set to expire after 45 days for repositories on This means a specific cache archive will be deleted if it wasn’t changed after its expiration delay.

Build Config Reference #

You can find more information on the build config format for Caching in our Travis CI Build Config Reference.

Configuration #

Enabling multiple caching features #

When you want to enable multiple caching features and the language supports them, you can list them as an array:

language: objective-c
- bundler
- cocoapods

This does not work when caching arbitrary directories, or when any of the directives is not supported by the language.

If you want to combine that with other caching modes, use a hash map. Here is an example of a Ruby repository caching Node.js modules:

language: ruby
  bundler: true
  - node_modules # NPM packages

This is another example; a Rust repository caching cargo and Ruby gems:

language: rust
  cargo: true
    - vendor/bundle
  - bundle install --deployment # to cache vendor/bundle

Explicitly disabling caching #

You can explicitly disable all caching by setting the cache option to false in your .travis.yml:

cache: false

It is also possible to disable a single caching mode:

language: objective-c
  bundler: false
  cocoapods: true

Setting the timeout #

Caching has a timeout set to 3 minutes by default. The timeout is there in order to guard against any issues that may result in a stuck build. Such issues may be caused by a network issue between worker servers and S3 or even by a cache being too big to pack and upload in timely fashion. There are, however, situations when you might want to set a bigger timeout, especially if you need to cache a large amount. In order to change the timeout you can use the timeout property with a desired time in seconds:

  timeout: 1000

Caches and build matrices #

When you have multiple jobs in a build matrix, some characteristics of each job are used to identify the cache each of the jobs should use.

These factors are:

  1. OS name (currently, linux, osx, or windows)
  2. OS distribution (for Linux, focal, bionic, xenial, trusty, or precise)
  3. macOS image name (e.g., xcode7.2)
  4. Names and values of visible environment variables set in .travis.yml or Settings panel
  5. Language runtime version (for the language specified in the language key) if applicable
  6. For Bundler-aware jobs, the name of the Gemfile used

If these characteristics are shared by more than one job in a build matrix, they will share the same URL on the network. This could corrupt the cache, or the cache may contain files that are not usable in all jobs using it. In this case, we advise you to add a public environment variable name to each job to create a unique cache entry:


Note that when considering environment variables, the values must match exactly, including spaces. For example, with

  - FOO=1 BAR=2
  - FOO=1  BAR=2
  - BAR=2 FOO=1

each of the three jobs will use its own cache.

Caches and read permissions #

When caching custom files and directories, ensure that the locations you specify are readable and writable by the user.

If they are not, the caching utility reports errors when it invokes tar to create the cache archive.

For example:

FAILED: tar -Pzcf /Users/travis/.casher/push.tgz /path/to/unreadable/directory

tar: /path/to/unreadable/directory: Cannot stat: No such file or directory

How does caching work? #

Travis CI saves an archive of all the directories listed in the configuration and uploads it to a storage provider, using a secure and protected URL, ensuring security and privacy of the uploaded archives.

Note that this makes our cache not network-local, it is still bound to network bandwidth and DNS resolutions. That impacts what you can and should store in the cache. If you store archives larger than a few hundred megabytes in the cache, it is unlikely that you’ll see a big speed improvement.

Before the build, we check if a cached archive exists. If it does, we download it and unpack it to the specified locations.

After the build we check for changes in the directory, create a new archive with those changes, and upload it to the remote storage.

The upload is currently part of the build cycle, but we’re looking into improving that to happen outside of the build, giving faster build feedback.