Dockerize Go Application

Docker is so popular these days. It’s so good to build your go applications in docker. Here I show you how to build a go application in docker without even installing golang on your machine.

Write the application

I use previous post application: Here :smile:

Write Dockerfile

First of all, we use Go 1.11 image:

FROM golang:1.11

Go 1.11 have been used because we use go modules for dependency injection.

Then, select the working directory:


Now, copy source to working directory:

COPY . .

We copied the project source to /src directory in the image. The first dot means current directory in your system, and the second one means working directory in the image.

Let’s build the binary

RUN go build -o hello-world

Now, set default command to run the application:

CMD ["/src/hello-world"]

It’s time to build the image.

docker build --tag user/hello-world .

Replace user/hello-world with your image name.

Sending build context to Docker daemon  4.096kB
Step 1/5 : FROM golang:1.11
 ---> 2422e4d43e15
Step 2/5 : WORKDIR /src
 ---> Running in 84e1bdb9d413
Removing intermediate container 84e1bdb9d413
 ---> 72ebb156c493
Step 3/5 : COPY . .
 ---> a1b6a5f2d48b
Step 4/5 : RUN go build
 ---> Running in adf1a7785c09
go: finding v1.3.0
go: downloading v1.3.0
go: finding v0.0.4
go: finding latest
go: finding latest
go: finding latest
go: finding v8.18.2
go: downloading v0.0.4
go: finding v2.2.2
go: downloading v0.0.0-20170109093832-22d885f9ecc7
go: downloading v8.18.2
go: downloading v2.2.2
go: downloading v0.0.0-20181209151446-772ced7fd4c2
go: finding v1.2.0
go: downloading v1.2.0
go: finding v0.0.0-20161208181325-20d25e280405
Removing intermediate container adf1a7785c09
 ---> ff0c7547ca25
Step 5/5 : CMD ["/src/hello-world"]
 ---> Running in 07ee96627074
Removing intermediate container 07ee96627074
 ---> ddb80abe9fb5
Successfully built ddb80abe9fb5
Successfully tagged user/hello-world:latest

Image build from source. Now you can run your image:

docker run -p 8080:8080 user/hello-world

Then test your app:




Reduce image size

Separate build and run images

Golang 1.11 image is 775MB. You can only use this image or newer as the builder image. Edit Dockerfile:

FROM golang:1.11 AS build

COPY . .
RUN CGO_ENABLED=0 go build -o hello-world

FROM alpine
COPY --from=build /src/hello-world /

CMD ["/hello-world"]

First, we built binary in golang:1.11.

Then have copied binary in the second container.

Note: you must set CGO_ENABLED=0 on build binary, because, you can’t run it in the alpine with cgo enabled.

Now image size decreased to 19.2MB.

Strip the binary

We can use the -s and -w linker flags to strip the debugging information. Edit Dockerfile and change build line:

FROM golang:1.11 AS build

COPY . .
RUN CGO_ENABLED=0 go build -o hello-world -ldflags="-s -w"

FROM alpine
COPY --from=build /src/hello-world /

CMD ["/hello-world"]

Now check the image size. it’s 15.6MB.

Cache vendors

On every build, build stage will download vendors. You can cache this step by doing a trick in your Dockerfile. Add an extra stage to it:

FROM golang:1.11 AS base

COPY go.mod .
COPY go.sum .
RUN go mod download

FROM base AS build

COPY . .
RUN CGO_ENABLED=0 go build -o hello-world -ldflags="-s -w"
FROM alpine
COPY --from=build /src/hello-world /

CMD ["/hello-world"]

In new Dockerfile stage (named as base), we force the go compiler to use modules, then copy go.mod and go.sum files and run go mod download. These steps will cache if go.mod and go.sum files were same as previous build.

Now use base stage as image for build stage and do build as same as past.


By using docker images we can develop and build applications faster in an OS independent environment. So, it’s useful to build you go (and all other languages) applications in Docker containers.

Good development! :wink:

  • Goland
  • Docker
  • Alpine