Turbo.lua is a framework built for LuaJIT 2 to simplify the task of building fast and scalable network applications. It uses a event-driven, non-blocking, no thread design to deliver excellent performance and minimal footprint to high-load applications while also providing excellent support for embedded uses. The toolkit can be used for HTTP REST API’s, traditional dynamic web pages through templating, open connections like WebSockets, or just as high level building blocks for native speed network applications.

First and foremost the framework is aimed at the HTTP(S) protocol. This means web developers and HTTP API developers are the first class citizens. But the framework contains generic nuts and bolts such as; a I/O loop, IO Stream classes, customizeable TCP (with SSL) server classes giving it value for everyone doing any kind of high performance network application.

Hello World

The traditional and mandatory ‘Hello World’

local turbo = require("turbo")

local HelloWorldHandler = class("HelloWorldHandler", turbo.web.RequestHandler)

function HelloWorldHandler:get()
    self:write("Hello World!")

    {"/hello", HelloWorldHandler}

LuaJIT 2 is REQUIRED, PUC-RIO Lua is unsupported.

Git repository is available at https://github.com/kernelsauce/turbo.

It’s main features and design principles are:

  • Simple and intuitive API (much like Tornado).
  • Low-level operations is possible if the users wishes that.
  • Implemented in straight Lua and LuaJIT FFI on Linux, so the user can study and modify inner workings without too much effort. The Windows implementation uses some Lua modules to make compability possible.
  • Good documentation
  • Event driven, asynchronous and threadless design
  • Small footprint
  • SSL support (requires OpenSSL or LuaSec module for Windows)

Travis Linux CI


Appveyor Windows CI


Supported Architectures

x86, x64, ARM, PPC, MIPSEL

Supported Operating Systems

Linux distros (x86, x64), OSX (Intel-based) and Windows x64. Possibly others using LuaSocket, but not tested or supported.


You can use LuaRocks to install Turbo on Linux.

luarocks install turbo

If installation fails make sure that you have these required pacakages:

apt-get install luajit luarocks git build-essential libssl-dev

For Windows use the included install.bat. This will install all dependencies: Visual Studio, git, mingw, gnuwin, openssl using Chocolatey. LuaJIT, the LuaRocks package manager and Turbo will be installed at C:\turbo.lua. It will also install LuaSocket, LuaFileSystem and LuaSec with LuaRocks. The Windows environment will be ready to use upon success.

Try: luajit C:\turbo.lua\src\turbo\examples\helloworld.lua

If any of the .dll or. so’s are placed at non-default location then use environment variables to point to the correct place:

E.g: SET TURBO_LIBTFFI=C:\turbo.lua\src\turbo\libtffi_wrap.dll and SET TURBO_LIBSSL=C:\Program Files\OpenSSL\libeay32.dll

Applies for Linux based OS and OSX only:

Turbo.lua can also be installed by the included Makefile. Simply download and run make install (requires root priv). It is installed in the default Lua 5.1 and LuaJIT 2.0 module directory.

You can specify your own prefix by using make install PREFIX=<prefix>, and you can specify LuaJIT version with a LUAJIT_VERSION=2.0.0 style parameter.

To compile without support for OpenSSL (and SSL connections) use the make option SSL=none. To compile with axTLS support instead of OpenSSL use the make option SSL=axTLS.

In essence the toolkit can run from anywere, but is must be able to load the libtffi_wrap.so at run time. To verify a installation you can try running the applications in the examples folder.

Object oriented Lua

Turbo.lua are programmed in a object oriented fashion. There are many ways to do object orientation in Lua, this library uses the Middleclass module. Which is documented at https://github.com/kikito/middleclass/wiki. Middleclass is being used internally in Turbo Web, but is also exposed to the user when inheriting from classes such as the turbo.web.RequestHandler class. Middleclass is a very lightweight, fast and very easy to learn if you are used to Python, Java or C++.


The included Makefile supports packaging the current tree as a versioned tar.gz file. This file will include only the neccessary bits and pieces for Turbo to run. The files will be built as bytecode (luajit -b -g) with debug info. This reduces size drastically. Suitable for embedded devices with limited storage… It also reduces the startup time.

Use make package. Only tested on Linux and OSX.

this results in a turbo.x.x.x.tar.gz file and a package/ directory being created.


All of the modules of Turbo.lua are made with the class implementation that Middleclass provides. https://github.com/kikito/middleclass.

The HTTP parser by Ryan Dahl is used for HTTP parsing. This is built and installed as part of the package.

OpenSSL is required for SSL support. It is possible to run without this feature, and thus not need an SSL library.


Copyright 2011 - 2016 John Abrahamsen

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Many of the modules in the software package are derivatives of the Tornado web server. Tornado is also licensed under Apache 2.0 license. For more details on Tornado please see:


API documentation