A client for Elixir. The goals of the project are resiliency, performance, and ease of use.

Hex documentation available here:


{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222})
# Or if the server requires TLS you can start a connection with:
# {:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222, tls: true})

{:ok, subscription} = Gnat.sub(gnat, self(), "pawnee.*")
:ok =, "", "Leslie Knope recalled from city council (Jammed)")
receive do
  {:msg, %{body: body, topic: "", reply_to: nil}} ->


# with user and password
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222, username: "joe", password: "123", auth_required: true})

# with token
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222, token: "secret", auth_required: true})

# with nkeys
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222, nkey_seed: "SUAM...", auth_required: true})

# with user credentials
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222, nkey_seed: "SUAM...", jwt: "eyJ0eX...", auth_required: true})

# connect to NGS
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: "", tls: true, jwt: "ey...", nkey_seed: "SUAM..."})

TLS Connections

Nats Server is often configured to accept or require TLS connections. In order to connect to these clusters you'll want to pass some extra TLS settings to your Gnat connection.

# using a basic TLS connection
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{host: '', port: 4222, tls: true})

# Passing a Client Certificate for verification
{:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link(%{tls: true, ssl_opts: [certfile: "client-cert.pem", keyfile: "client-key.pem"]})


If you would like to stay connected to a cluster of nats servers, you should consider using Gnat.ConnectionSupervisor . This can be added to your supervision tree in your project and will handle automatically re-connecting to the cluster.

For long-lived subscriptions consider using Gnat.ConsumerSupervisor . This can also be added to your supervision tree and use a supervised connection to re-establish a subscription. It also handles details like handling each message in a supervised process so you isolate failures and get OTP logs when an unexpected error occurs.


Gnat uses telemetry to make instrumentation data available to clients. If you want to record metrics around the number of messages or latency of message publishes, subscribes, requests, etc you can do the following in your project:

iex(1)> metrics_function = fn(event_name, measurements, event_meta, config) ->
  IO.inspect([event_name, measurements, event_meta, config])
#Function<4.128620087/4 in :erl_eval.expr/5>
iex(2)> names = [[:gnat, :pub], [:gnat, :sub], [:gnat, :message_received], [:gnat, :request], [:gnat, :unsub]]
  [:gnat, :pub],
  [:gnat, :sub],
  [:gnat, :message_received],
  [:gnat, :request],
  [:gnat, :unsub]
iex(3)> :telemetry.attach_many("my listener", names, metrics_function, %{my_config: true})
iex(4)> {:ok, gnat} = Gnat.start_link()
{:ok, #PID<0.203.0>}
iex(5)> Gnat.sub(gnat, self(), "topic")
[[:gnat, :sub], %{latency: 128000}, %{topic: "topic"}, %{my_config: true}]
{:ok, 1}
iex(6)>, "topic", "ohai")
[[:gnat, :pub], %{latency: 117000}, %{topic: "topic"}, %{my_config: true}]
[[:gnat, :message_received], %{count: 1}, %{topic: "topic"}, %{my_config: true}]

The pub , sub , request , and unsub events all report the latency of those respective calls. The message_received event reports a number of messages like %{count: 1} because there isn't a good latency metric to report. All of the events (except unsub ) include metadata with a :topic key so you can split your metrics by topic.


Part of the motivation for building this library is to get better performance. To this end, there is a bench branch on this project which includes a server.exs and client.exs that can be used for benchmarking various scenarios.

As of this commit, the latest benchmark on a 16-core server shows that you can make 170k+ req/sec or up to 192MB/sec.

The bench/*.exs files also contain some straight-line single-CPU performance tests. As of this commit my 2018 MacBook pro shows.

parse-128487.67 K2.19 μs±1701.54%2 μs
pub - 12896.37 K10.38 μs±102.94%10 μs
req-reply-1288.32 K120.16 μs±23.68%114 μs


Before running the tests make sure you have a locally running copy of nats-server ( brew install nats-server ). We currently use version 2.2.6 in CI, but anything higher than 2.2.0 should be fine. Versions from 0.9.6 up to 2.2.0 should work fine for everything except header support. The typical mix test will run all the basic unit tests.

You can also run the multi_server set of tests that test connectivity to different nats-server configurations. You can run these with mix test --only multi_server . The tests will tell you how to start the different configurations.

There are also some property-based tests that generate a lot of test cases. You can tune how many test cases by setting the environment variable N=200 mix test --only property (default it 100).

For more details you can look at how Travis runs these things in the CI flow.