Golang, also known as Go, is a popular open-source programming language designed for modern web and cloud-based applications. It has a clean syntax, fast performance, and excellent support for concurrent programming, making it an excellent choice for building backend applications.

In this post, we’ll be exploring the basics of Golang backend development, and how to get started building your first Golang backend application. Whether you’re a beginner programmer or an experienced developer looking to try something new, this post is designed to help you get started with Golang.

We’ll cover everything from setting up your development environment, to designing your API, to testing and deploying your application. By the end of this post, you’ll have a solid foundation for building backend applications with Golang.

So, let’s get started!

Setting up the Development Environment

Before we can start building our Golang backend application, we need to set up our development environment. In this section, we’ll go through the steps to install Golang, configure the GOPATH environment variable, and set up a text editor or IDE.

Installing Golang

To get started with Golang, you’ll need to install it on your computer. You can download the latest version of Golang from the official website (https://golang.org/dl/). The installation process is straightforward and should take just a few minutes.

Configuring the GOPATH environment variable

The GOPATH environment variable tells Golang where to look for packages and dependencies. By default, Golang will look for packages in a default GOPATH location, but you can also specify a custom GOPATH location if you prefer.

To configure the GOPATH environment variable, you’ll need to add the following line to your .bashrc, .bash_profile, or .zshrc file, depending on your operating system:

export GOPATH=$HOME/go

Setting up a text editor or IDE

To write your Golang code, you’ll need a text editor or integrated development environment (IDE). There are many options to choose from, including popular options like Visual Studio Code and GoLand. Choose the one that you feel most comfortable with and that supports Golang syntax highlighting and debugging.

Installing dependencies (if necessary)

Depending on the Golang packages you use, you may need to install additional dependencies to get your application running. For example, if you want to use a database, you’ll need to install the relevant database driver. The Golang standard library includes many useful packages, but for more advanced features you may need to install third-party packages.

Building Your First Golang Backend Application

Now that we’ve set up our development environment, it’s time to start building our Golang backend application! In this section, we’ll cover the basics of building a simple REST API using Golang.

One of the strengths of Golang is its rich standard library, which provides a wide range of built-in functions and packages for common tasks, such as working with HTTP, writing to and reading from databases, and handling JSON data. These functions and packages make it easier to write efficient and high-performing Golang code.

In addition to the standard library, there are many popular third-party packages available for Golang, which provide even more functionality and help you solve specific problems. From web frameworks like Gin and Echo to databases like MongoDB and Redis, there’s a package for almost every task you might need to perform.

Here are some popular packages and their uses:

  • Gin: A web framework for building RESTful APIs
  • Echo: Another popular web framework for building RESTful APIs
  • MongoDB: A document-oriented database that stores data in BSON format
  • Redis: An in-memory data structure store used as a database, cache, and message broker
  • Gorilla WebSocket: A library for building real-time applications using WebSockets

When using Golang, it’s important to choose the right package for the task at hand, and to keep up with the latest updates and best practices. This can be achieved by regularly reading documentation, following development blogs and forums, and participating in the Golang community.

By taking advantage of the Golang standard library and popular third-party packages, you can write powerful and efficient code for your Golang backend applications.

Designing your API

Before we start writing code, it’s a good idea to design your API and plan out the endpoints you want to include. For this example, let’s build a simple API that allows us to create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) user records.

Here’s what our API might look like:

POST /users (create a new user)
GET /users (get a list of all users)
GET /users/{id} (get a specific user by id)
PUT /users/{id} (update a specific user by id)
DELETE /users/{id} (delete a specific user by id)

Setting up the main file

Next, let’s set up the main file for our Golang application. This file will contain the code that sets up the router and handles incoming HTTP requests.

Here’s a basic outline of what our main file might look like:

package main

import (

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

	log.Fatal(http.ListenAndServe(":8080", nil))

Implementing the CRUD operations

Now that we have the basic structure of our application in place, it’s time to implement the CRUD operations for our user records.

To keep things simple, let’s use an in-memory slice of user records for this example, rather than a database. Here’s what the code for our user record struct and our CRUD functions might look like:

type User struct {
	ID   int    `json:"id"`
	Name string `json:"name"`

var users []User

func getUsers(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	// code to get all users and return as JSON

func getUser(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	// code to get a specific user by id and return as JSON

func createUser(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	// code to create a new user

func updateUser(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	// code to update a specific user by id

func deleteUser(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	// code to delete a specific user by id

Routing requests to the correct handler

Finally, we need to route incoming HTTP requests to the correct handler function. We’ll use the http.HandleFunc function to define our routes and map them to the correct handler function.

Here’s what our routing code might look like:

func main() {
	http.HandleFunc("/users", getUsers)
	http.HandleFunc("/users/", getUser)
	http.HandleFunc("/users", createUser)
	http.HandleFunc("/users/", updateUser)
	http.HandleFunc("/users/", deleteUser)

	log.Fatal(http.ListenAndServe(":8080", nil))

Testing your API

Now that we’ve completed all the steps, it’s time to test your API. Start your Golang application and send some HTTP requests to the endpoints to make sure everything is working as expected.

You can use a tool like Postman or cURL to send HTTP requests to your API, or you can write some simple test code to automate the process.

Here’s an example of a simple unit test in Golang:

package main

import (

func TestAddition(t *testing.T) {
	result := 1 + 1
	if result != 2 {
		t.Errorf("Expected 2, but got %d", result)

In this example, we’re testing a simple addition operation to make sure it returns the expected result of 2. The t *testing.T parameter is a reference to the testing framework, which provides functions for asserting results and logging errors.

To run the test, we can use the go test command. If the test passes, the command will return without any output. If the test fails, we’ll see an error message indicating what went wrong.

In Golang, unit tests are an important part of the development process, helping to ensure that code changes don’t break existing functionality. By writing and running tests, you can catch errors early in the development process and write more reliable code.

Deploying the application

Here’s an example of how you could deploy a Golang application using GitHub Actions and deploying to an EC2 instance:

  1. First, create a new EC2 instance on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and configure it with the necessary dependencies, such as a web server like Apache or Nginx.

  2. Next, set up a GitHub Actions workflow in your repository. In the workflow, you can use an action to build and compile your Golang code into a binary file. Here’s an example of what the workflow might look like:

name: Build and Deploy

      - main

  AWS_REGION: us-west-2

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    - name: Checkout code
      uses: actions/checkout@v2

    - name: Build and Compile
      run: go build

    - name: Upload Binary to AWS S3
      uses: aws-actions/upload-to-s3@v1
        args: myapp
        bucket-name: my-s3-bucket
        region: ${{ env.AWS_REGION }}
  1. The next step is to deploy the binary file to your EC2 instance. You can do this by using another action in your workflow to transfer the file from S3 to your EC2 instance. Here’s an example of what the deployment step might look like:
    - name: Deploy to EC2
      uses: appleboy/ssh-action@master
        host: your-ec2-instance-ip
        username: ec2-user
        key: ${{ secrets.SSH_PRIVATE_KEY }}
        script: |
          sudo scp -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no s3://my-s3-bucket/myapp .
          sudo mv myapp /usr/local/bin/
          sudo systemctl restart myapp          
  1. Finally, you can configure your web server to serve your application. For example, if you’re using Nginx, you might add a configuration like this:
server {
    listen 80;
    server_name your-domain.com;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:8080;
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection 'upgrade';
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_cache_bypass $http_upgrade;

And with that, you’ve successfully deployed your Golang application using GitHub Actions and EC2. Of course, this is just a basic example, and you may need to make additional configurations or add more steps depending on your specific requirements. But hopefully, this gives you a starting point for your deployment process.


In this post, we’ve covered the basics of Golang backend development, from setting up your development environment to building your first API. We’ve discussed the benefits of using Golang and the steps required to build a simple API.

Whether you’re new to Golang or an experienced developer, I hope this post has provided you with a good starting point for building your own Golang backend applications. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out.

As you continue your journey with Golang, there are many resources available online to help you expand your knowledge and skills. From online forums and tutorials to blogs and books, there’s a wealth of information available to help you become an expert in Golang backend development.

So, get started today and take your first steps towards building amazing Golang backend applications!

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