NOTE: These instructions are for people who want to contribute Go source code changes. If you just want to run ethereum, use the normal Installation Instructions

Developers' guide

This document is the entry point for developers of the etherum go implementation. Developers here refer to the hands-on: who are interested in build, develop, debug, submit a bug report or pull request or contribute to go-ethereum with code.

Build and Test

Go environment

We assume that you have go v1.4 installed, and GOPATH is set.

Note:You must have your working copy under $GOPATH/src/ You also usually want to checkout the develop branch (instead of master).

Since go does not use relative path for import, working in any other directory will have no effect, since the import paths will be appended to $GOPATH/src, and if the lib does not exist, the version at master HEAD will be downloaded.

Most likely you will be working from your fork of go-ethereum, let's say from Clone or move your fork into the right place:

git clone $GOPATH/src/

Godep for dependency management

go-ethereum uses Godep to manage dependencies.

Install godep:

go get

Make sure that go binaries are on your executable path:


godep should be prepended to all go calls build, install and test.

Alternatively, you can prepend the go-ethereum Godeps directory to your current GOPATH:

GOPATH=`godep path`:$GOPATH

Building executables

Switch to the go-ethereum repository root directory (Godep expects a local Godeps folder ).

Each wrapper/executable found in the cmd directory can be built individually.

Building Geth (CLI)

Note: Geth (the ethereum command line client) is the focus of the Frontier release.

To build the CLI:

godep go install -v ./cmd/geth

See the documentation on how to use Geth

Read about cross compilation of go-ethereum here.

Git flow

To make life easier try git flow it sets this all up and streamlines your work flow.


Testing one library:

godep go test -v -cpu 4 ./eth

Using options -cpu (number of cores allowed) and -v (logging even if no error) is recommended.

Testing only some methods:

godep go test -v -cpu 4 ./eth -run TestMethod

Note: here all tests with prefix TestMethod will be run, so if you got TestMethod, TestMethod1, then both!

Running benchmarks, eg.:

cd bzz
godep go test -v -cpu 4 -bench . -run BenchmarkJoin

for more see go test flags

See integration testing information on the Testing wiki page

Metrics and monitoring

geth can do node behaviour monitoring, aggregation and show performance metric charts. Read about metrics and monitoring

Add and update dependencies

To update a dependency version (for example, to include a new upstream fix), run

go get -u <foo/bar>
godep update <foo/...>

To track a new dependency, add it to the project as normal than run

godep save ./...

Changes to the Godeps folder should be manually verified then committed.

To make life easier try git flow it sets this all up and streamlines your work flow.


Only github is used to track issues. (Please include the commit and branch when reporting an issue.)

Pull requests should by default commit on the develop branch. The master branch is only used for finished stable major releases.


The code uses pprof on localhost port 6060 by default if geth is started with the --pprof option. So bring up http://localhost:6060/debug/pprof to see the heap, running routines etc. By clicking full goroutine stack dump (clicking http://localhost:6060/debug/pprof/goroutine?debug=2) you can generate trace that is useful for debugging.

Note that if you run multiple instances of geth, this port will only work for the first instance that was launched. If you want to generate stacktraces for these other instances, you need to start them up choosing an alternative pprof port. Make sure you are redirecting stderr to a logfile.

geth -port=30300 -loglevel 5 --pprof --pprofport 6060 2>> /tmp/00.glog
geth -port=30301 -loglevel 5 --pprof --pprofport 6061 2>> /tmp/01.glog
geth -port=30302 -loglevel 5 --pprof --pprofport 6062 2>> /tmp/02.glog

Alternatively if you want to kill the clients (in case they hang or stalled synching, etc) but have the stacktrace too, you can use the -QUIT signal with kill:

killall -QUIT geth

This will dump stracktraces for each instance to their respective log file.

Code formatting

Sources are formatted according to the Go Formatting Style.

Dev Tutorials