ee8478a Sep 1, 2016
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Creating custom toxics

Creating a toxic is done by implementing the Toxic interface:

type Toxic interface {

The Pipe() function defines how data flows through the toxic, and is passed a ToxicStub to operate on. A ToxicStub stores the input and output channels for the toxic, as well as an interrupt channel that is used to pause operation of the toxic.

The input and output channels in a ToxicStub send and receive StreamChunk structs, which are similar to network packets. A StreamChunk contains a byte[] of stream data, and a timestamp of when Toxiproxy received the data from the client or server. This is used instead of just a plain byte[] so that toxics like latency can find out how long a chunk of data has been waiting in the proxy.

Toxics are registered in an init() function so that they can be used by the server:

func init() {
    toxics.Register("toxic_name", new(ExampleToxic))

In order to use your own toxics, you will need to compile your own binary. This can be done by copying toxiproxy.go into a new project and registering your toxic with the server. This will allow you to add toxics without having to make a full fork of the project. If you think your toxics will be useful to others, contribute them back with a Pull Request.

An example project for building a separate binary can be found here:

A basic toxic

The most basic implementation of a toxic is the noop toxic, which just passes data through without any modifications.

type NoopToxic struct{}

func (t *NoopToxic) Pipe(stub *toxics.ToxicStub) {
    for {
        select {
        case <-stub.Interrupt:
        case c := <-stub.Input:
            if c == nil {
            stub.Output <- c

The above code reads from stub.Input in a loop, and passes the StreamChunk along to stub.Output. Since reading from stub.Input will block until a chunk is available, we need to check for interrupts as the same time.

Toxics will be interrupted whenever they are being updated, or possibly removed. This can happen at any point within the Pipe() function, so all blocking operations (including sleep), should be interruptible. When an interrupt is received, the toxic should return from the Pipe() function after it has written any "in-flight" data back to stub.Output. It is important that all data read from stub.Input is passed along to stub.Output, otherwise the stream will be missing bytes and become corrupted.

When an end of stream is reached, stub.Input will return a nil chunk. Whenever a nil chunk is returned, the toxic should call Close() on the stub, and return from Pipe().

Toxic configuration

Toxic configuration information can be stored in the toxic struct. The toxic will be json encoded and decoded by the api, so all public fields will be api accessible.

An example of a toxic that uses configuration values is the latency toxic

type LatencyToxic struct {
    Latency int64 `json:"latency"`
    Jitter  int64 `json:"jitter"`

These fields can be used inside the Pipe() function, but generally should not be written to from the toxic. A separate instance of the toxic exists for each connection through the proxy, and may be replaced when updated by the api. If state is required in your toxic, it is better to use a local variable at the top of Pipe(), since struct fields are not guaranteed to be persisted across interrupts.

Toxic buffering

By default, toxics are not buffered. This means that writes to stub.Output will block until either the endpoint or another toxic reads it. Since toxics are chained together, this means not reading from stub.Input will block other toxics (and endpoint writes) from operating. If this is not behavior you want your toxic to have, you can specify a buffer size for your toxic's input. The latency toxic uses this in order to prevent added latency from limiting the proxy bandwidth.

Specifying a buffer size is done by implementing the BufferedToxic interface, which adds the GetBufferSize() function:

func (t *LatencyToxic) GetBufferSize() int {
    return 1024

The unit used by GetBufferSize() is StreamChunks. Chunks are generally anywhere from 1 byte, up to 32KB, so keep this in mind when thinking about how much buffering you need, and how much memory you are comfortable with using.

Stateful toxics

If a toxic needs to store extra information for a connection such as the number of bytes transferred (See limit_data toxic), a state object can be created by implementing the StatefulToxic interface. This interface defines the NewState() function that can create a new state object with default values set.

When a stateful toxic is created, the state object will be stored on the ToxicStub and can be accessed from toxic.Pipe():

state := stub.State.(*ExampleToxicState)

If necessary, some global state can be stored in the toxic struct, which will not be instanced per-connection. These fields cannot have a custom default value set and will not be thread-safe, so proper locking or atomic operations will need to be used.

Using io.Reader and io.Writer

If your toxic involves modifying the data going through a proxy, you can use the ChanReader and ChanWriter interfaces in the stream package. These allow reading and writing from the input and output channels as you would a normal data stream such as a TCP socket.

An implementation of the noop toxic above using the stream package would look something like this:

func (t *NoopToxic) Pipe(stub *toxics.ToxicStub) {
    buf := make([]byte, 32*1024)
    writer := stream.NewChanWriter(stub.Output)
    reader := stream.NewChanReader(stub.Input)
    for {
        n, err := reader.Read(buf)
        if err == stream.ErrInterrupted {
        } else if err == io.EOF {

See for a full example of using the stream package with Go's http package.