How to check task status in Celery?


How does one check whether a task is running in celery (specifically, I"m using celery-django)?

I"ve read the documentation, and I"ve googled, but I can"t see a call like:

my_example_task.state() == RUNNING

My use-case is that I have an external (java) service for transcoding. When I send a document to be transcoded, I want to check if the task that runs that service is running, and if not, to (re)start it.

I"m using the current stable versions - 2.4, I believe.

Answer rating: 83

Creating an AsyncResult object from the task id is the way recommended in the FAQ to obtain the task status when the only thing you have is the task id.

However, as of Celery 3.x, there are significant caveats that could bite people if they do not pay attention to them. It really depends on the specific use-case scenario.

By default, Celery does not record a "running" state.

In order for Celery to record that a task is running, you must set task_track_started to True. Here is a simple task that tests this:

def test(self):
    print self.AsyncResult(

When task_track_started is False, which is the default, the state show is PENDING even though the task has started. If you set task_track_started to True, then the state will be STARTED.

The state PENDING means "I don"t know."

An AsyncResult with the state PENDING does not mean anything more than that Celery does not know the status of the task. This could be because of any number of reasons.

For one thing, AsyncResult can be constructed with invalid task ids. Such "tasks" will be deemed pending by Celery:

>>> task.AsyncResult("invalid").status

Ok, so nobody is going to feed obviously invalid ids to AsyncResult. Fair enough, but it also has for effect that AsyncResult will also consider a task that has successfully run but that Celery has forgotten as being PENDING. Again, in some use-case scenarios this can be a problem. Part of the issue hinges on how Celery is configured to keep the results of tasks, because it depends on the availability of the "tombstones" in the results backend. ("Tombstones" is the term use in the Celery documentation for the data chunks that record how the task ended.) Using AsyncResult won"t work at all if task_ignore_result is True. A more vexing problem is that Celery expires the tombstones by default. The result_expires setting by default is set to 24 hours. So if you launch a task, and record the id in long-term storage, and more 24 hours later, you create an AsyncResult with it, the status will be PENDING.

All "real tasks" start in the PENDING state. So getting PENDING on a task could mean that the task was requested but never progressed further than this (for whatever reason). Or it could mean the task ran but Celery forgot its state.

Ouch! AsyncResult won"t work for me. What else can I do?

I prefer to keep track of goals than keep track of the tasks themselves. I do keep some task information but it is really secondary to keeping track of the goals. The goals are stored in storage independent from Celery. When a request needs to perform a computation depends on some goal having been achieved, it checks whether the goal has already been achieved, if yes, then it uses this cached goal, otherwise it starts the task that will effect the goal, and sends to the client that made the HTTP request a response that indicates it should wait for a result.

The variable names and hyperlinks above are for Celery 4.x. In 3.x the corresponding variables and hyperlinks are: CELERY_TRACK_STARTED, CELERY_IGNORE_RESULT, CELERY_TASK_RESULT_EXPIRES.

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