Simple HTTP Server with Go (Part 1)

Date: - Tags: Go, Server - Read time:

I've been playing recently with Go, the blazingly fast C-like language from Google and so far have been very impressed. The syntax is surprisingly simple and the language comes packed with a very powerful standard library, especially for web developers. They even have an excellent interactive tutorial in the form of

A simple command-line hello world application in Go might look something like the following:

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
  fmt.Println("Hello World")

With this example we've essentally setup our main package and defined our main method, which is going to automatically be run by Go. We've also imported the fmt for outputting our message using the Println method.

I'm usually not a fan of hello world applications as they're usually so simple and bypass any real application structure to be as small as possible that they fail to help a developer understand any key standards / concepts. One of the most surprising things about Go is how simple it is to write a HTTP server using only Go's standard libraries.

package main

import (

func main() {
  http.HandleFunc("/", func (w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    fmt.Fprintf(w, "Hello World")
  http.ListenAndServe(":8080", nil)

It's actually that simple, the http.HandleFunc method allows us to write to the http.ResponseWriter with the text content 'Hello World'. The http.ListenAndServe method simple runs the server on port 8080. It's a very very simple example of a HTTP server in action but really shows how much of a modern language Go is.

Starting up the application is as easy as running: go run server.go, if you named your go file server.go.

Where next

While that was a very simple example it's probably not something you need to do very often. I'll write up another post going further into URL handling aka routing and go through some examples of how to make some dynamic URLs.