This document describes the tools that power the VS Code Go extension.

Tools will be installed by default when you install the extension. You can also manually install or update all of these tools by running the Go: Install/Update Tools command. If any tools are missing, you will see an Analysis Tools Missing warning in the bottom-right corner of the editor, which will prompt you to install these tools.

VS Code Go will install the tools to your $GOPATH/bin by default.


This extension requires you to install the Go toolchain, meaning that you have the go command on your PATH. To do this, follow the Go installation guide.

The extension runs the go command to debug and test your go program. By default, this extension assumes that Go is already installed in your system and the go command can be found from the PATH (or Path in some Windows) environment variable.

This extension works best with the latest versions of Go but some of the features may continue to work with older versions of Go. The Go release policy states that the two newer major releases are officially supported.

The extension checks for the availability of the new Go release by periodically checking the official Go distribution site and notifies you of the new version.


gopls is the official Go language server developed by the Go team. It is the default backend for most of this extension's IntelliSense, code navigation, code editing, and diagnostics features. When the extension starts, it spawns a gopls instance in server mode for each VS Code project.

gopls uses the go command to analyze your code. The extension automatically propagates necessary settings such as "go.buildFlags", "go.buildTags", "go.toolsEnvVars" and the path to the right go command to gopls. No extra settings should be necessary, but when you need to adjust gopls's behavior further (e.g., enable more advanced analysis features), please see all the settings for gopls.

If you encounter issues with gopls, please read the troubleshooting guide. If you want to run the extension without the language server, you can disable it by setting "go.useLanguageServer": false.

gopls officially supports the four newer major versions of Go. If you are using a very old version of Go, or you explicitly disable the language server, the extension will automatically fall back to the legacy mode. The legacy mode uses old tools instead of gopls. Unfortunately many of them are no longer actively maintained and many features the extension provides will not be available. You can tell whether the extension is using gopls, by checking whether the high voltage icon (⚡) is present in the Go status bar.

gopls is under active development, and updating it is important to get new features. The extension periodically checks the module proxy to detect a new version has been released. When a newer version is available, a pop-up will appear, prompting you to update. If you would like to opt out of this automated update check, set "go.toolsManagement.checkForUpdates" to false. For more information about gopls, please visit its documentation.


This extension uses Delve for its debug/test functionalities. The extension currently ships with a thin Debug Adapter that implements the Debug Adapter protocol and connects VS Code and dlv.

For a comprehensive overview of how to debug your Go programs, please see the debugging guide.


This tool provides autocompletion for unimported packages. Replacement of gopkgs with gopls is a work-in-progress.


This tool provides the information needed to compute the various test code lenses. It will be replaced with gopls.


This tool provides support for the Go: Run on Go Playground command.


This tool provides support for the Go: Add Tags to Struct Fields and Go: Remove Tags From Struct Fields commands.


This tool provides support for the Go: Generate Interface Stubs command.


This tool provides support for the Go: Generate Unit Tests set of commands.


This is the default lint tool. See the full list of checks that staticcheck provides. Other lint tools can be used by configuring the "go.lintTool" setting. Other options include:

  • golangci-lint: This meta-linter combines a number of existing lint tools, including staticcheck, into one interface.
  • revive: This tool is an enhancement on top of golint, and it provides additional checks.
  • golint: This used to be the default linter used by this extension before it was officially deprecated.

You can use the "go.lintFlags" setting to further configure your linter of choice. Most linters can be configured via special configuration files, but you may still need to pass these command-line flags. The configuration documentation for each supported linter is listed here:


Enable all golangci-lint linters and only show errors in new code:

"go.lintFlags": ["--enable-all", "--new"]

Configure revive to exclude vendor directories and apply extra configuration with a config.toml file:

"go.lintFlags": [

Misc tools used in the legacy mode

When gopls cannot be used, the extension falls back to the legacy mode. Be aware that many of these tools may be incompatible with the recent versions of Go or do not work in Modules mode.