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GHC can be extended for Resource-specific healthchecks via Plugins. GHC already comes with a set of standard plugins that may suffice most installations. However, there is no limit to detailed healthchecks one may want to perform. Hence developers can extend or even replace the GHC standard Plugins with custom implementations.

Two Plugin types exist that can be extended: the Probe and Check class. In v0.7.0 also plugins for Resource Authentication, ResourceAuth, were added and in v0.9.0 the geocoder plugin was introduced.


GHC versions after May 1, 2017 perform healthchecks exclusively via Plugins (see :ref:`upgrade` how to upgrade from older versions). The basic concept is simple: each Resource (typically an OWS endpoint) has one or more Probes. During a GHC run (via cron or manually), GHC sequentually invokes the Probes for each Resource to determine the health (QoS) of the Resource.

A Probe typically implements a single request like a WMS GetMap. A Probe contains and applies one or more Checks (the other Plugin class). A Check implements typically a single check on the HTTP Response object of its parent Probe, for example if the HTTP response has no errors or if a WMS GetMap actually returns an image (content-type check). Each Check will supply a CheckResult to its parent Probe. The list of CheckResults will then ultimately determine the ProbeResult. The Probe will in turn supply the ProbeResult to its parent ResourceResult. The GHC healthchecker will then determine the final outcome of the Run (fail/success) for the Resource, adding the list of Probe/CheckResults to the historic Run-data in the DB. This data can later be used for reporting and determining which Check(s) were failing.

So in summary: a Resource has one or more Probes, each Probe one or more Checks. On a GHC run these together provide a Result.

Probes and Checks available to the GHC instance are configured in, the GHC instance config file. Also configured there is the default Probe class to assign to a Resource-type when it is added. Assignment and configuration/parameterization of Probes and Checks is via de UI on the Resource-edit page and stored in the database (tables: probe_vars and check_vars). That way the GHC healthcheck runner can read (from the DB) the list of Probes/Checks and their config for each Resource.


Probes and Checks plugins are implemented as Python classes derived from :class:`GeoHealthCheck.probe.Probe` and :class:`GeoHealthCheck.check.Check` respectively. These classes inherit from the GHC abstract base class :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugin.Plugin`. This class mainly provides default attributes (in capitals) and introspection methods needed for UI configuration. Class-attributes (in capitals) are the most important concept of GHC Plugins in general. These provide metadata for various GHC functions (internal, UI etc). General class-attributes that Plugin authors should provide for derived Probes or Checks are:

  • AUTHOR: Plugin author or team.
  • NAME: Short name of Plugin.
  • DESCRIPTION: Longer description of Plugin.
  • PARAM_DEFS: Plugin Parameter definitions (see next)

PARAM_DEFS, a Python dict defines the parameter definitions for the Probe or Check that a user can configure via the UI. Each parameter (name) is itself a dict entry key that with the following key/value pairs:

  • type: the parameter type, value: 'string', 'stringlist' (comma-separated strings) or 'bbox' (lowerX, lowerY, upperX, upperY),
  • description: description of the parameter,
  • default: parameter default value,
  • required: is parameter required?,
  • range: range of possible parameter values (array of strings), results in UI dropdown selector

A Probe should supply these additional class-attributes:

  • RESOURCE_TYPE : GHC Resource type this Probe applies to, e.g. OGC:WMS, *:* (any Resource Type), see for range
  • REQUEST_METHOD : HTTP request method capitalized, 'GET' (default) or 'POST'.
  • REQUEST_HEADERS : dict of optional HTTP request headers
  • REQUEST_TEMPLATE: template in standard Python str.format(*args) to be substituted with actual parameters from PARAM_DEFS
  • CHECKS_AVAIL : available Check (classes) for this Probe.

Note: CHECKS_AVAIL denotes all possible Checks that can be assigned, by default or via UI, to an instance of this Probe.

A Check has no additional class-attributes.

In many cases writing a Probe is a matter of just defining the above class-attributes. The GHC healthchecker :meth:`GeoHealthCheck.healthcheck.run_test_resource` will call lifecycle methods of the :class:`GeoHealthCheck.probe.Probe` base class, using the class-attributes and actualized parameters (stored in probe_vars table) as defined in PARAM_DEFS plus a list of the actual and parameterized Checks (stored in check_vars table) for its Probe instance.

More advanced Probes can override base-class methods of Probe in particular :meth:`GeoHealthCheck.probe.Probe.perform_request`. In that case the Probe-author should add one or more :class:`GeoHealthCheck.result.Result` objects to self.result via self.result.add_result(result)

Writing a Check class requires providing the Plugin class-attributes (see above) including optional PARAM_DEFS. The actual check is implemented by overriding the Check base class method :meth:`GeoHealthCheck.check.Check.perform`, setting the check-result via :meth:`GeoHealthCheck.check.Check.set_result`.

Finally your Probes and Checks need to be made available to your GHC instance via and need to be found on the Python-PATH of your app.

The above may seem daunting at first. Examples below will hopefully make things clear as writing new Probes and Checks may sometimes be a matter of minutes!

TODO: may need VERSION variable class-attr to support upgrades


GHC includes Probes and Checks that on first setup are made available in By studying the the GHC standard Probes and Checks under the subdir GeoHealthCheck/plugins, Plugin-authors may get a feel how implementation can be effected.

There are broadly two ways to write a Probe:

An example for each is provided, including the Checks used.

The simplest Probe is one that does:

  • an HTTP GET on a Resource URL
  • checks if the HTTP Response is not errored, i.e. a 404 or 500 status
  • optionally checks if the HTTP Response (not) contains expected strings

Below is the implementation of the class :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http.HttpGet`:

.. literalinclude:: ../GeoHealthCheck/plugins/probe/
   :language: python
   :lines: 1-23

Yes, this is the entire implementation of :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http.HttpGet`! Only class-attributes are needed:

  • standard Plugin attributes: AUTHOR ('GHC Team' by default) NAME, DESCRIPTION
  • RESOURCE_TYPE = '*:*' denotes that any Resource may use this Probe (UI lists this Probe under "Probes Available" for Resource)
  • REQUEST_METHOD = 'GET' : GHC should use the HTTP GET request method
  • CHECKS_AVAIL : all Check classes that can be applied to this Probe (UI lists these under "Checks Available" for Probe)

By setting:

'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks.HttpStatusNoError': {
   'default': True

that Check is automatically assigned to this Probe when created. The other Checks may be added and configured via the UI.

Next look at the Checks, the class :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks.HttpStatusNoError`:

.. literalinclude:: ../GeoHealthCheck/plugins/check/
   :language: python
   :lines: 1-34

Also this class is quite simple: providing class-attributes NAME, DESCRIPTION and implementing the base-class method :meth:`GeoHealthCheck.check.Check.perform`. Via self.probe a Check always has a reference to its parent Probe instance and the HTTP Response object via self.probe.response. The check itself is a test if the HTTP status code is in the 400 or 500-range. The CheckResult is implicitly created by setting: self.set_result(False, 'HTTP Error status=%d' % status) in case of errors. self.set_result() only needs to be called when a Check fails. By default the Result is succes (True).

According to this pattern more advanced Probes are implemented for OWS GetCapabilities, the most basic test for OWS-es like WMS and WFS. Below the implementation of the class :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.OwsGetCaps` and its derived classes for specific OWS-es:

.. literalinclude:: ../GeoHealthCheck/plugins/probe/
   :language: python
   :lines: 1-108

More elaborate but still only class-attributes are used! Compared to :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http.HttpGet`, two additional class-attributes are used in :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.OwsGetCaps` :

  • REQUEST_TEMPLATE ='?SERVICE={service}&VERSION={version}&REQUEST=GetCapabilities'

GHC will recognize a REQUEST_TEMPLATE (for GET or POST) and use PARAM_DEFS to substitute configured or default values, here defined in subclasses. This string is then appended to the Resource URL.

Three Checks are available, all included by default. Also see the construct:

'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks.ContainsStrings': {
   'set_params': {
       'strings': {
           'name': 'Contains Title Element',
           'value': ['Title>']
   'default': True

This not only assigns this Check automatically on creation, but also provides it with parameters, in this case a Capabilities response document should always contain a <Title> XML element. The class :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks.ContainsStrings` checks if a response doc contains all of a list (array) of configured strings. So the full checklist on the response doc is:

These Checks are performed in that order. If any fails, the Probe Run is in error.

We can now look at classes derived from :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.OwsGetCaps`, in particular :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WmsGetCaps` and :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WfsGetCaps`. These only need to set their RESOURCE_TYPE e.g. OGC:WMS and override/merge PARAM_DEFS. For example for WMS:

PARAM_DEFS = Plugin.merge(OwsGetCaps.PARAM_DEFS, {

  'service': {
      'value': 'WMS'
  'version': {
      'default': '1.1.1',
      'range': ['1.1.1', '1.3.0']

This sets a fixed value for service, later becoming service=WMS in the URL request string. For version it sets both a range of values a user can choose from, plus a default value 1.1.1. Plugin.merge needs to be used to merge-in new values. Alternatively PARAM_DEFS can be completely redefined, but in this case we only need to make per-OWS specific settings.

Also new in this example is parameterization of Checks for the class :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks.ContainsStrings`. This is a generic HTTP response checker for a list of strings that each need to be present in the response. Alternatively :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks.NotContainsStrings` has the reverse test. Both are extremely useful and for example available to our first example :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http.HttpGet`. The concept of PARAM_DEFS is the same for Probes and Checks.

In fact a Probe for any REST API could be defined in the above matter. For example, later in the project a Probe was added for the SensorThings API (STA), a recent OGC-standard for managing Sensor data via a JSON REST API. See the listing below:

.. literalinclude:: ../GeoHealthCheck/plugins/probe/
   :language: python

Up to now all Probes were defined using and overriding class-attributes. Next is a more elaborate example where the Probe overrides the Probe baseclass method :meth:`GeoHealthCheck.probe.Probe.perform_request`. The example is more of a showcase: :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wmsdrilldown.WmsDrilldown` literally drills-down through WMS-entities: starting with the GetCapabilities doc it fetches the list of Layers and does a GetMap on random layers etc. It uses OWSLib.WebMapService.

We show the first 70 lines here.

.. literalinclude:: ../GeoHealthCheck/plugins/probe/
   :language: python
   :lines: 1-70

This shows that any kind of simple or elaborate healthchecks can be implemented using single or multiple HTTP requests. As long as Result objects are set via self.result.add_result(result). It is optional to also define Checks in this case. In the example :class:`GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wmsdrilldown.WmsDrilldown` example no Checks are used.

One can imagine custom Probes for many use-cases:

  • drill-downs for OWS-es
  • checking both the service and its metadata (CSW links in Capabilities doc e.g.)
  • gaps in timeseries data (SOS, STA)
  • even checking resources like a remote GHC itself!

Writing custom Probes is only limited by your imagination!


Plugins available to a GHC installation are configured via and overridden in By default all built-in Plugins are available.

  • GHC_PLUGINS: list of built-in/core Plugin classes and/or modules available on installation
  • GHC_PROBE_DEFAULTS: Default Probe class to assign on "add" per Resource-type
  • GHC_USER_PLUGINS: list of your Plugin classes and/or modules available on installation

To add your Plugins, you need to configure GHC_USER_PLUGINS. In most cases you don't need to bother with GHC_PLUGINS and GHC_PROBE_DEFAULTS.

See an example for both below from for GHC_PLUGINS and GHC_PROBE_DEFAULTS:

    # Probes

    # Checks

# Default Probe to assign on "add" per Resource-type
    'OGC:WMS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WmsGetCaps'
    'OGC:WMTS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WmtsGetCaps'
    'OSGeo:TMS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.tms.TmsCaps'
    'OGC:WFS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WfsGetCaps'
    'OGC:WCS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WcsGetCaps'
    'OGC:WPS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.WpsGetCaps'
    'OGC:CSW': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.CswGetCaps'
    'OGC:SOS': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps.SosGetCaps'
    'OGC:STA': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.sta.StaCaps'
        'OGC:WFS3': {
            'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wfs3.WFS3Drilldown'
        'ESRI:FS': {
            'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.esrifs.ESRIFSDrilldown'
    'urn:geoss:waf': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http.HttpGet'
    'WWW:LINK': {
        'probe_class': 'GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http.HttpGet'
    'FTP': {
        'probe_class': None

To add your User Plugins these steps are needed:

  • place your Plugin in any directory
  • specify your Plugin in in GHC_USER_PLUGINS var
  • your Plugin module needs to be available in the PYTHONPATH of the GHC app

Let's say your Plugin is in file /plugins/ext/ Example


Then you need to add the path /plugins to the PYTHONPATH such that your Plugin is found.

User Plugins via Docker

The easiest way to add your Plugins (and running GHC in general!) is by using GHC Docker. See more info in the GHC Docker Plugins README.

Plugin API Docs

For GHC extension via Plugins the following classes apply.

Most Plugins have PARAM_DEFS parameter definitions. These are variables that should be filled in by the user in the GUI unless a fixed value applies.

Plugins - Base Classes

These are the base classes for GHC Plugins. Developers will mainly extend Probe and Check.

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugin

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.probe

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.check

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.resourceauth

Results are helper-classes whose intances are generated by both Probe and Check classes. They form the ultimate outcome when running a Probe. A ResourceResult contains ProbeResults, the latter contains CheckResults.

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.result

Plugins - Probes

Probes apply to a single Resource instance. They are responsible for running requests against the Resource URL endpoint. Most Probes are implemented mainly via configuring class variables in particular PARAM_DEFS and CHECKS_AVAIL, but one is free to override any of the Probe baseclass methods.

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.http

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.owsgetcaps

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wms

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wmsdrilldown

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.tms

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.sta

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wfs

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.wfs3

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.probe.esrifs

Plugins - Checks

Checks apply to a single Probe instance. They are responsible for checking request results from their Probe.

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.check.checks

Plugins - Resource Auth

ResourceAuth apply to optional authentication for a Resource instance. They are responsible for handling any (UI) configuration, encoding and execution of specific HTTP authentication methods for the Resource endpoint.

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.resourceauth.resourceauths

Plugins - Geocoder

Geocoder apply to geocoder services. They are responsible for geolocating a server on a map.

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.geocode.fixedlocation

.. automodule:: GeoHealthCheck.plugins.geocode.webgeocoder