reddit subreddit

Reddit is news aggregate, discussion, and karma distribution site.


TypeScript, React, and Redux based frontend with a REST api at with its share of accompanying packages.

On the backend Reddit uses Varnish and Nginx 1.4.6 on Ubuntu.

Some of Reddit’s more notable JS dependencies:

Reddit also uses server side rendering and pre-populates its Redux store accordingly.

In terms of styling, Reddit uses CSS modules or similar to scope CSS.


The REST api is pretty standard with the exception of the response data already being normalized. So instead of just returning posts: { [key: string]: Post }, the api also returns postIds: Array<Post['id']> along with additional data such as flair, preferences, permissions, sidebar info, etc., which likely makes normalization in Redux easier.

When logged in, Reddit makes api requests with an authorization header and bearer token which is extracted from the session cookie.

An additional session tracking id, loid, is also stored in the session and sent in the request headers. Reddit also includes the appropriate security headers.

After successfully fetching data, Reddit will not refetch. Instead it will use what is stored in Redux (there is an exception for ads). For example, when navigating to a subreddit, Reddit requests the list view and then navigating to a post Reddit will request an individual view

Then when navigating back and forth between the list view and the post, Reddit will reuse existing data instead of fetching it again.

I never figured out what Reddit uses Thrift for. It might be used in their backend between Node SSR service and their Python api and may have accidentally been include in the Webpack bundle.


In terms of structuring their store, Reddit uses a combineReducers setup and has an idiom of using an api key with { error: boolean, pending: boolean, loading: boolean } for keeping track of loading, pending, and similar states.

Performance Monitoring

The performance api is separate from Reddit’s desktopapi that is uses for fetching page data. Instead Reddit makes POST requests to and with Base64 encoded JSON strings.

It seems that /rum is only called on initial page load with Performance Api data and that /perf is used the otherwise with user analytics as well as more granular timings for things like React hydration.

Error Reporting

Reddit uses Sentry and even prints out the current release in the browser console.

Starting Raven release bb4b6f131-production public url


Reddit also uses its desktop api for a different kind of content, ads.

The site makes a POST request with number of ads and the current subreddit to

The ads are included in the server side rendered page, instead they are fetched through the api on page load.


Most of Reddit’s api is pretty quick returning in less than 50ms - when there is a cache hit. In the case of a miss, Reddit’s api tends to anywhere from 200ms to 1s. Additionally these misses are more common when logged in, where caching isn’t as effective.