One of the biggest reasons to use Go is its great tooling. Godoc is one of those tools and it makes documentation so simple that you’ll be wanting to document your code instead of dreading it. Besides having a command line interface for displaying documentation, it can also start an HTTP Server. is a public version of this for the standard packages. GoDoc does a similar thing for public packages.

I have some private repositories though that I host internally and I’ve always wanted to be able to view the package documentation. There are at least a couple of ways to accomplish this. First, if you simply want to host it your local machine, godoc can do that for you:

$ godoc -http=:6060

This will create an HTTP web server that listens on port 6060 and serves up the standard documentation as well as anything in your GOPATH.

What I’ve always wanted to do though is have it run on the server that’s hosting all my repositories. I finally spent some time getting this working and it turns out to be quite simple. Since the HTTP Server is already built, we just need a way to get the system to recognize it as a service. I use Arch Linux and systemd is the default service manager. If you use something else, I’m guessing this should translate fairly easily to the other services.

Since systemd can manage starting and stopping services using signals, we really just need to tell systemd how to start up the godoc server. Here is the godoc.service file in full:

Description=Go Documentation

Environment=GOPATH=/srv/go/ GOROOT=/usr/lib/go/
ExecStart=/usr/bin/godoc -index -http=:6060


The meat of the configuration is ExecStart. It is simply a call to godoc with the -http parameter. I added -index so that the documentation could be searched. I thought this would be useful since it’s intended to be online full-time.

One thing to note, I set the GOPATH to /srv/go. Since systemd doesn’t otherwise load environment variables, the GOPATH would not normally be set. You can change that path to your actual GOPATH. I simply used a symbolic link to my actual go repositories.

Copy your service file to a place where system will recognize it:

$ sudo cp godoc.service /etc/systemd/system

That’s all there is to it! I now have a fully functional, locally hosted Go documentation web site. I use it like, but it also searches and displays my private packages. I can use it like any other systemd service:

$ sudo systemctl enable godoc.service # Start at boot.
$ sudo systemctl {start,stop,restart} godoc.service

If you are using Arch Linux, I made an AUR package named godoc-systemd. You can install it like you would any other AUR package:

$ wget
$ makepkg
$ sudo pacman -U godoc-systemd-1.0-1-any.pkg.tar.xz

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the tooling built for Go. Godoc is only one of many and it is a good example of how useful, extendable, and manageable the go tools are.