Golang Installation and Getting started guide

Go is an open source, statically typed, compiled programming language built by Google.

It combines the best of both statically typed and dynamically typed languages and gives you the right mixture of efficiency and ease of programming. It is primarily suited for building fast, efficient, and reliable server side applications.

Following are some of the most noted features of Go -

  • Safety : Both Type safety and Memory safety.
  • Good support for Concurrency and communication.
  • Efficient and latency-free Garbage Collection
  • High speed compilation
  • Excellent Tooling support

This is the first part of our tutorial series on Go. In this article, you’ll learn how to install Go in your system and set up your development environment for Go projects.

Installing Go

Go binary distributions are available for all major operating systems like Linux, Windows, and MacOS. It’s super simple to install Go from the binary distributions.

If a binary distribution is not available for your operating system, you can try installing Go from source.

Mac OS X

Using Homebrew

The easiest way to install Go in Mac OS is by using Homebrew -

brew install go

Using macOS package installer

Download the latest Go package (.pkg) file from Go’s official downloads page. Open the package and follow the on-screen instructions to install Go. By default, Go will be installed in /usr/local/go.


Download the Linux distribution from Go’s official download page and extract it into /usr/local directory.

sudo tar -C /usr/local -xzf go$VERSION.$OS-$ARCH.tar.gz

Next, add the /usr/local/go/bin directory to your PATH environment variable. You can do this by adding the following line to your ~/.bash_profile file -

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/go/bin

You can also use any other directory like /opt/go instead of /usr/local for installing Go.


Download the Windows MSI installer file from Go’s official download page. Open the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install Go in your windows system. By default, the installer installs Go in C:\Go

The Go tool

The Go distribution comes bundled with the go tool. It is a command line tool that lets you automate common tasks such as downloading and installing dependencies, building and testing your code, and much more.

After installing Go by following the instructions in the previous section, you should be able to run the Go tool by typing go in the command line -

$ go
Go is a tool for managing Go source code.


	go command [arguments]

The commands are:

	build       compile packages and dependencies
	clean       remove object files
	doc         show documentation for package or symbol
	env         print Go environment information
	bug         start a bug report
	fix         run go tool fix on packages
	fmt         run gofmt on package sources
	generate    generate Go files by processing source
	get         download and install packages and dependencies
	install     compile and install packages and dependencies
	list        list packages
	run         compile and run Go program
	test        test packages
	tool        run specified go tool
	version     print Go version
	vet         run go tool vet on packages

Use "go help [command]" for more information about a command.

Additional help topics:

	c           calling between Go and C
	buildmode   description of build modes
	filetype    file types
	gopath      GOPATH environment variable
	environment environment variables
	importpath  import path syntax
	packages    description of package lists
	testflag    description of testing flags
	testfunc    description of testing functions

Use "go help [topic]" for more information about that topic.

Go Code Organization

Go programs are organized into packages. A package is a collection of source files in the same directory that are compiled together. All the functions, types, variables, and constants defined in one source file are visible to all the other source files within the same package.

Go language has several built-in packages like

  • fmt package, which contains functions for formatting and printing text.
  • math package, which provides basic constants and mathematical functions.

You need to import these packages in your program if you want to use the functions and constants defined in these packages. You can also import and use external packages built and published by other people on any source control management system like github.

Any Go source code repository contains one or more modules. A module is a collection of related Go packages stored in a directory with a go.mod file at its root. The go.mod file defines the module’s path, which is the import path used while importing packages that are part of this module.

When you import packages contained in other modules, you manage those dependencies through your code’s own module defined by the go.mod file. The go.mod file keeps track of all the external modules that provide the packages used by your code.


Testing your Go installation with the Hello World program

Let’s write our first Go program to test our Go installation. Create a new folder hello inside your home directory.

mkdir hello
cd hello

Now, let’s create a go module for our Hello world program. You can do so by running the go mod init command with the module name. The module’s name is also its import path. In most cases, this will be the repository location where your source code will be kept, such as github.com/mymodule. If you plan to publish your module for others to use, the module path must be a location from which Go tools can download your module.

Note that you don’t need to publish your code to a remote repository before you can build it. A module can be defined locally without belonging to a repository. However, it’s a good habit to organize your code as if you will publish it someday.

Let’s create the module like this;

go mod init github.com/callicoder/hello
go: creating new go.mod: module github.com/callicoder/hello

Now create a file named hello.go and paste the following code:

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	fmt.Printf("Hello, World\n")

You can run the Hello world progeam by running go run . command

$ go run .
Hello, World

Building an executable binary using go build

The go run command compiles and runs your program at one go. If however, you want to produce a binary from your Go source that can be run as a standalone executable without using the Go tool, then use the go build command -

$ go build
$ ls
go.mod   hello    hello.go

The go build command creates an executable binary with the same name as the name of your immediate package (hello). You can run the binary file like so -

$ ./hello
Hello, World

Installing the package into the bin directory using go install

You can use the go install command to build and install the executable binary into your Go workspace’s bin directory ($HOME/go/bin) -

$ go install
$ cd $HOME/go/bin
$ ls
$ ./hello
Hello, World

You can also add the $HOME/go/bin directory to the PATH variable to run go executables from any location.

Don’t forget to check out: go help run, go help build, go help install.


That’s all for now folks! I hope you’re all set to deep dive and learn more about the Go programming language. You can find all the tutorials written in Go from the Golang categories page.

Thanks for reading, see you in the next article.

Next Article: Hello Golang: Writing your first Golang Program

Code Samples: github.com/callicoder/golang-tutorials

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