Andrew Prock edited this page Oct 7, 2016 · 4 revisions
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The GOPATH environment variable is used to specify directories outside of $GOROOT that contain the source for Go projects and their binaries.

See the go command and go/build package documentation for more details.

Since the $GOPATH variable can be a list, the rest of this document will use $GOPATH to mean the first element unless otherwise specified.

Integrating GOPATH

On OS X or Linux (bash), adding the following expression to PATH will add all $GOPATH/bin directories.


Directory layout

The source for a package with the import path "X/Y/Z" is in the directory


The binary for a package with the import path "X/Y/Z" is in


The binary for a command whose source is in $GOPATH/src/A/B is


Repository Integration and Creating "go gettable" Projects

When fetching a package the go tool looks at the package's import path to discover a URL. For instance, if you attempt to

go get

the go tool will get the source from the project hosted at It will clone the repository to


As a result, if (from your repository project) you import a package that is in the same repository, you need to use its "full" import path - the place "go get" puts it. In this example, if something else wants to import the "matrix" package, it should import "" rather than "matrix".

Tips and tricks

Use a single GOPATH

Even though the GOPATH may be a list of directories, it is generally sufficient to use a single GOPATH for all Go code on your machine. Since all packages retrieved with "go get" have a unique URL (and thus a unique path on disk), having more than one GOPATH is almost never necessary when building with the Go tool.


Why won't $GOPATH/src/cmd/mycmd/*.go build?

When the go command is looking for packages, it always looks in $GOROOT first. This includes directories, so if it finds (as in the case above) a cmd/ directory in $GOROOT it won't proceed to look in any of the GOPATH directories. This prevents you from defining your own math/matrix package as well as your own cmd/mycmd commands.