The cfthread tag enables you to create threads, independent streams of code execution, in your ColdFusion application. You use this tag to run or end a thread, temporarily stop thread execution, or join together multiple threads.


    name="thread name[,thread name]..." 
    name="thread name" 
    zero or more application-specific attributes> 
        Thread code 
    name="thread name"/>

For all actions except run, the cfthread tag must have an empty body and be followed immediately by a </cfthread> end tag, or must have no end tag and have a slash before the tag closure, as in <cfthread action="sleep" duration="1000"/>.

Note: You can specify this tag’s attributes in an attributeCollection attribute whose value is a structure. Specify the structure name in the attributeCollection attribute and use the tag’s attribute names as structure keys.

See also

Sleep, Using ColdFusion Threads in the Developing ColdFusion Applications


ColdFusion 8: Added this tag





Applies to






The action to take, one of the following values:

  • join: Makes the current thread wait until the thread or threads specified in the name attribute complete processing, or until the period specified in the timeout attribute passes, before continuing processing. If you don’t specify a timeout and the thread you are joining to doesn’t finish, the current thread also cannot finish processing.

  • run: Creates a thread and starts it processing. Code in the cfthread tag body runs simultaneously and independently of page-level code and code in other cfthread tags.

  • sleep: Suspends the current thread’s processing for the time specified by the duration attribute. Equivalent to the Sleep function.

  • terminate: Stops processing of the thread specified in the name attribute. If you terminate a thread, the thread scope includes an ERROR metadata structure with information about the termination.




The number of milliseconds for which to suspend thread processing.


Optional, Required, if action = "join" or "terminate"




The name of the thread to which the action applies:

  • terminate: The name of the thread to stop.

  • join: The name of the thread or threads to join to the current thread. To specify multiple threads, use a comma-delimited list.

  • run: The name to use to identify the thread being created.





The priority level at which to run the thread. The following values are valid:

  • HIGH

  • LOW


Higher priority threads get more processing time than lower priority threads. Page-level code, the code that is outside of cfthread tags, always has NORMAL priority.





The number of milliseconds that the current thread waits for the thread or threads being joined to finish. If any thread does not finish by the specified time, the current thread proceeds.

If the attribute value is 0, the following action occurs:

  • The current thread continues waiting until all joining threads finish.

  • If the current thread is the page thread, the page continues waiting until the threads are joined, even if you specify a page time-out.


Page-level code (code outside any cfthread tags) executes in its own thread, referred to as the page thread. Only the page thread can create other threads. A thread that you create cannot create a child thread.

Note: If a thread never completes processing (is hung), it continues to occupy system resources. You can use the ColdFusion Sever Monitor to check for and terminate hung threads.

ColdFusion makes a complete (deep) copy of all the attribute variables before passing them to the thread, so the values of the variables inside the thread are independent of the values of any corresponding variables in other threads, including the page thread. Thus, the values passed to threads are thread safe because the attribute values cannot be changed by any other thread.

Thread scopes

Each thread has three special scopes:

  • The thread-local scope is an implicit scope that contains variables that are available only to the thread, and exist only for the life of the thread.

  • The Thread scope is available to the page and to all other threads started from the page. Its data remains available until the page and all threads started from the page finish, even if the page finishes before the threads complete processing.

  • The Attributes scope contains attributes that are passed to the scope, and is available only within the thread and only for the life of the thread.

    For detailed information about using ColdFusion scopes in threads, see Using ColdFusion Threads in the Developing ColdFusion Applications.

    All threads in a page share a single Variables scope, so you can use it for data that is common across all threads. You must be careful to lock access to the variables, if necessary, to prevent deadlocks or race conditions between threads.

    Note: When ColdFusion uses a connector to access the web server, after the page gets completed, the CGI and Request scopes are not accessible to threads that you create by using the cfthread tag. This limitation does not apply if you use the integrated web server or if you run ColdFusion as a J2EE application.

Metadata variables

The thread scope contains the following variables that provide information about the thread (metadata):




The amount of processor time that was spent handling the thread.


The structure that is generated if an error occurs during thread execution. The structure contains the keys that you can access in a cfcatch tag.

If an error occurs in a thread, page-level processing is not affected, and ColdFusion does not generate an error message. The thread with the error terminates and the page-level code or other threads can get the error information from the Error field and handle the error appropriately. For detailed information, see Handling ColdFusion thread errors in the Developing ColdFusion Applications.


The thread name.


Output that is generated by the thread. A thread cannot display output; page-level code must use this variable to display thread results. For detailed information, see Handling thread output in the Developing ColdFusion Applications.


The thread processing priority, as specified in the cfthreadpriority attribute. The following values are valid:

  • HIGH

  • LOW



The time at which the thread began processing, in ColdFusion date-time format.


The current status of the thread; one of the following values:

  • NOT_STARTED: The thread has been queued but is not processing yet.

  • RUNNNG: The thread is running normally.

  • TERMINATED: The thread stopped running due to a cfthread tag with a terminate action, an error, or an administrator action.

  • COMPLETED: The thread ended normally.

  • WAITING: The thread has executed a cfthread tag with action="join", but one or more threads being joined has not completed.


The following example uses three threads to get the results of three RSS feeds. The user must submit the form with all three feeds specified. The application joins the threads with a time-out of 6 seconds, and displays the feed titles and the individual item titles as links.

<!--- Run this code if the feed URL form has been submitted. ---> 
<cfif isDefined("Form.submit")> 
    <cfloop index="i" from="1" to="3"> 
        <!--- Use array notation and string concatenation to create a variable 
                 for this feed. ---> 
        <cfset theFeed = Form["Feed"&i]> 
        <cfif theFeed NEQ ""> 
            <!--- Use a separate thread to get each of the feeds. ---> 
            <cfthread action="run" name="t#i#" feed="#theFeed#"> 
                <cffeed source="#feed#"  
            <!--- If the user didn't fill all fields, show an error message. ---> 
            <h3>This example requires three feeds.<br /> 
            Click the Back button and try again.</h3> 
    <!--- Join the three threads. Use a 6 second time-out. ---> 
    <cfthread action="join" name="t1,t2,t3" timeout="6000" /> 
    <!--- Use a loop to display the results from the feeds. ---> 
    <cfloop index="i" from="1" to="3"> 
        <!--- Use the cfthread scope and associative array notation to get the 
                Thread scope dynamically. ---> 
        <cfset feedResult=cfthread["t#i#"]> 
        <!--- Display feed information only if you got items, 
                 for example the feed must complete before the join. ---> 
        <cfif isDefined("feedResult.myQuery")> 
            <cfoutput query="feedResult.myQuery"> 
                <p><a href="#RSSLINK#">#TITLE#</a></p> 
<!--- The form for entering the feeds to aggregate. ---> 
    <h3>Enter three RSS Feeds</h3> 
    <cfinput type="text" size="100" name="Feed1" validate="url" 
        value=""><br /> 
    <cfinput type="text" size="100" name="Feed2" validate="url" 
        value=""><br /> 
    <cfinput type="text" size="100" name="Feed3" validate="url"  
        value=""><br /> 
    <cfinput type="submit" name="submit">