Setting up your workspace

gopls supports both Go module and GOPATH modes. However, it needs a defined scope in which language features like references, rename, and implementation should operate.

The following options are available for configuring this scope:

Module mode

One module

If you are working with a single module, you can open the module root (the directory containing the go.mod file), a subdirectory within the module, or a parent directory containing the module.

Note: If you open a parent directory containing a module, it must only contain that single module. Otherwise, you are working with multiple modules.

Multiple modules

As of Jan 2021, if you are working with multiple modules or nested modules, you will need to create a “workspace folder” for each module. This means that each module has its own scope, and features will not work across modules. We are currently working on addressing this limitation--see details about experimental workspace module mode below.

In VS Code, you can create a workspace folder by setting up a multi-root workspace. View the documentation for your editor plugin to learn how to configure a workspace folder in your editor.

Workspace module (experimental)

Many gopls users would like to work with multiple modules at the same time (golang/go#32394), and specifically, have features that work across modules. We plan to add support for this via a concept called the “workspace module”, which is described in this design document. This feature works by creating a temporary module that requires all of your workspace modules, meaning all of their dependencies must be compatible.

The workspace module feature is currently available as an opt-in experiment, and it will allow you to work with multiple modules without creating workspace folders for each module. You can try it out by configuring the experimentalWorkspaceModule setting. If you try it and encounter issues, please report them so we can address them before the feature is enabled by default.

You can follow our progress on the workspace module work by looking at the open issues in the gopls/workspace-module milestone.


When opening a directory within your GOPATH, the workspace scope will be just that directory.

At your own risk

Some users or companies may have projects that encompass one $GOPATH. If you open your entire $GOPATH or $GOPATH/src folder, the workspace scope will be your entire GOPATH. If your GOPATH is large, gopls to be very slow to start because it will try to find all of the Go files in the directory you have opened. It will then load all of the files it has found.

To work around this case, you can create a new $GOPATH that contains only the packages you want to work on.

If you have additional use cases that are not mentioned above, please file a new issue.