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⚠️ Breaking change

With version 3.x.x we have dropped support for Node v0.10. This means that future releases under this major version might contain code changes that are incompatible with Node.js v0.10 to an extent of crashing your application. Please consider updating to a newer runtime, especially that the maintenance of v0.10 has already ended. See our compatibility table below.

Also, since 3.1.0 we switched to a different API backend for collecting traces which is incompatible with the old one. The old endpoint is still supported, but we would like it to be phased out eventually. Please update your agents to 3.1.0 or newer.

Installation and usage

As Trace uses scoped packages, be sure to use npm version greater than 2.7.0.

npm install --save @risingstack/trace


Trace depends on a couple of native addons. We host precompiled binaries of these for Linux and Darwin 64-bit platforms at The installer will attempt to download these dependencies, so it should be allowed through your firewall, or else the download will fail and the installer will fall back to building from source. This also happens if there isn't a precompiled binary for your platform. Note that compiling native addons requires native toolchain.

After you installed Trace as a dependency, you just require it at the beginning of your main file.

var trace = require('@risingstack/trace');


You can specify the configuration two ways. Configuration options can be set via environment variables or using a config module. We look for a config module named trace.config.js at your current working directory by default, which can be overridden with the TRACE_CONFIG_PATH environment variable. Having a config module is optional, but some options may be set only with it. In order to use our service, you need to specify an api key and and a service name at minimum. The corresponding environment variables are: TRACE_API_KEY and TRACE_SERVICE_NAME.

An example for how to start your app with environment variables:


An example with a custom config file using the Trace servers:

node TRACE_CONFIG_PATH=/path/to/my/config.js index.js

or simply

node index.js

if it's in the current working directory.

* Your Trace configuration file at /path/to/my/config.js

module.exports = {
  serviceName: 'your-awesome-app',
  apiKey: 'KEEP_ME_SECRET',
  ignoreHeaders: {
    'user-agent': ['007']
  ignorePaths: [
  ignoreStatusCodes: [
  ignoreOutgoingHosts: [
  disableInstrumentations: [
  proxy: '',
  keepQueryParams: true

For the complete set of configuration options, visit the docs.


If you are running your app with NODE_ENV=test, Trace won't start

API, object)

This method can be use to report additional data to the Trace servers which later on helps with debugging.'name', {
  userId: 10

Throws an error if first parameter is not a String. Throws an error if second parameter is not an Object.

trace.reportError(name, error)

This method can be used to send errors to the Trace servers.

trace.reportError('mysql_error', new Error('connection refused'));

Throws an error if first parameter is not a String.


This method can be use to get the current transactionId. It can be useful if you want to integrate trace with your current logging systems.

var transactionId = trace.getTransactionId();

trace.recordMetric(name, value)

This method can be used to record custom metrics values.

trace.recordMetric('user/imageUpload', 6)

The name must have the following format: <Category>/<Name> The value must be a number.

trace.incrementMetric(name, [amount])

This method can be used to record increment-only type of metrics.


The name must have the following format: <Category>/<Name>


This method gracefully stops trace.


Accepts a node-style callback to be called when trace stopped.

Note: There is no way to restart trace after calling this method. You should end your process after calling this method.


Debug logs

If you have problems using Trace, e.g it doesn't seem to report anything you can turn on logging. We use the lightweight debug. If you are not familiar with it yet, please read its documentation to learn how it works.


To turn it only for Trace start your app with the DEBUG environment variable set to risingstack/trace*.

DEBUG=risingstack/trace* node my_app.js

Configure logging

To make it possible to filter severities and components in Trace we use subnamespaces. The namespace will start with trace/risingstack then a : then a mandatory severity specifier,

  • error,
  • warn or
  • info.

Then come zero or more namespaces led by colons. The namespaces are hierarchically organized according to components inside of Trace.

Currently these namespaces (and their subnamespaces) are used:

  • config
  • instrumentation
  • agent
  • agent:tracer
  • agent:metrics
  • agent:profiler
  • agent:security
  • api

As they can have subnamespaces, always append an * to them to get all messages.


  • get all error messages: DEBUG=risingstack/trace:error*

  • get all messages from agents: DEBUG=risingstack/trace:*:agent*

  • get all error messages and all messages from agents: DEBUG=risingstack/trace:error*,risingstack/trace:*:agent*

Compatibility with Node versions

  • node v0.12
  • node v4
  • node v5
  • node v6
  • node v7

Migrating from previous versions

Versions below 2.x

The trace.config.js file changed, and has the following format:

module.exports = {
  serviceName: 'your-awesome-app',
  apiKey: 'KEEP_ME_SECRET'

Also, from 2.x you can specify these values using only environment variables: TRACE_SERVICE_NAME and TRACE_API_KEY.

Custom reporters are no longer supported in trace 2.x*

Versions below 3.x

We dropped support for Node v0.10. Update your runtime to a more recent version to continue using Trace.