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Goss - Quick and Easy server validation

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Goss in 45 seconds


Note: For testing docker containers see the dgoss wrapper. Also, user submitted wrapper scripts for Kubernetes kgoss and Docker Compose dcgoss.

Note: For some Docker/Kubernetes healthcheck, health endpoint, and container ordering examples, see my blog post here.


What is Goss?

Goss is a YAML based serverspec alternative tool for validating a server's configuration. It eases the process of writing tests by allowing the user to generate tests from the current system state. Once the test suite is written they can be executed, waited-on, or served as a health endpoint.

Why use Goss?

  • Goss is EASY! - Goss in 45 seconds
  • Goss is FAST! - small-medium test suites are near instantaneous, see benchmarks
  • Goss is SMALL! - <10MB single self-contained binary


Note: For macOS and Windows, see: platform-feature-parity.

This will install goss and dgoss.

Note: Using curl | sh is not recommended for production systems, use manual installation below.

# Install latest version to /usr/local/bin
curl -fsSL | sh

# Install v0.3.16 version to ~/bin
curl -fsSL | GOSS_VER=v0.3.16 GOSS_DST=~/bin sh

Manual installation


curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/goss
chmod +rx /usr/local/bin/goss

curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/dgoss
# Alternatively, using the latest master
# curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/dgoss
chmod +rx /usr/local/bin/dgoss

Specific Version

# See for release versions
curl -L "${VERSION}/goss-linux-amd64" -o /usr/local/bin/goss
chmod +rx /usr/local/bin/goss

# (optional) dgoss docker wrapper (use 'master' for latest version)
curl -L "${VERSION}/dgoss" -o /usr/local/bin/dgoss
chmod +rx /usr/local/bin/dgoss

Build it yourself

make build

Full Documentation

Documentation is available at

Quick start

Writing a simple sshd test

An initial set of tests can be derived from the system state by using the add or autoadd commands.

Let's write a simple sshd test using autoadd.

# Running it as root will allow it to also detect ports
$ sudo goss autoadd sshd

Generated goss.yaml:

    listening: true
    listening: true
    - '::'
    enabled: true
    running: true
    exists: true
    uid: 74
    gid: 74
    - sshd
    home: /var/empty/sshd
    shell: /sbin/nologin
    exists: true
    gid: 74
    running: true

Now that we have a test suite, we can:

  • Run it once
$ goss validate

Total Duration: 0.021s # <- yeah, it's that fast..
Count: 15, Failed: 0
  • Edit it to use templates, and run with a vars file
goss --vars vars.yaml validate
  • keep running it until the system enters a valid state or we timeout
goss validate --retry-timeout 30s --sleep 1s
  • serve the tests as a health endpoint
$ goss serve &
$ curl localhost:8080/healthz

# JSON endpoint
$ goss serve --format json &
$ curl localhost:8080/healthz

# rspecish response via content negotiation
$ goss serve --format json &
$ curl -H "Accept: application/vnd.goss-rspecish" localhost:8080/healthz

Manually editing Goss files

Goss files can be manually edited to improve readability and expressiveness of tests.

A Json draft 7 schema available at makes it easier to edit simple goss.yaml files in IDEs, providing usual coding assistance such as inline documentation, completion and static analysis. See #793 for screenshots.

For example, to configure the Json schema in JetBrains intellij IDEA, follow documented instructions, with arguments such as:

  • schema url=
  • schema version=Json schema version 7
  • file path pattern=*/goss.yaml

In addition, Goss files can also be further manually edited (without yet full json support) to use:

Some examples:

    title: UID must be between 50-100, GID doesn't matter. home is flexible
      desc: Ensure sshd is enabled and running since it's needed for system management
      sev: 5
    exists: true
      # Validate that UID is between 50 and 100
        gt: 50
        lt: 100
      # Home can be any of the following
      - /var/empty/sshd
      - /var/run/sshd

    installed: true
      # Must have 3 kernels and none of them can be 4.4.0
      - have-len: 3
      - not:
          contain-element: 4.4.0

  # Loaded from --vars YAML/JSON file
    installed: true

{{if eq .Env.OS "centos"}}
  # This test is only when $OS environment variable is set to "centos"
    installed: true

Goss.yaml files with templates can still be validated through the Json schema after being rendered using the goss render command. See example below

$ cd docs
$ goss --vars ./vars.yaml render > rendered_goss.yaml
# proceed with json schema validation of rendered_goss.yaml in your favorite IDE
# or in one of the Json schema validator listed in
# The following example is for a Linux AMD64 host
$ curl -LO
$ chmod a+x yajsv.linux.amd64
$ sudo mv yajsv.linux.amd64 /usr/sbin/yajsv

$ yajsv -s goss-json-schema.yaml rendered_goss.yaml

rendered_goss.yaml: fail: skip is required
rendered_goss.yaml: fail: service.sshd: skip is required
1 of 1 failed validation
rendered_goss.yaml: fail: skip is required
rendered_goss.yaml: fail: service.sshd: skip is required

Full list of available Json schema validators can be found in

Supported resources

  • package - add new package
  • file - add new file
  • addr - add new remote address:port - ex:
  • port - add new listening [protocol]:port - ex: 80 or udp:123
  • service - add new service
  • user - add new user
  • group - add new group
  • command - add new command
  • dns - add new dns
  • process - add new process name
  • kernel-param - add new kernel-param
  • mount - add new mount
  • interface - add new network interface
  • http - add new network http url with proxy support
  • goss - add new goss file, it will be imported from this one
  • matching - test for matches in supplied content

Supported output formats

  • rspecish - (default) Similar to rspec output
  • documentation - Verbose test results
  • json - JSON, detailed test result
  • tap - TAP style
  • junit - JUnit style
  • nagios - Nagios/Sensu compatible output /w exit code 2 for failures.
  • prometheus - Prometheus compatible output.
  • silent - No output. Avoids exposing system information (e.g. when serving tests as a healthcheck endpoint).

Community Contributions

  • goss-ansible - Ansible module for Goss.
  • degoss - Ansible role for installing, running, and removing Goss in a single go.
  • kitchen-goss - A test-kitchen verifier plugin for Goss.
  • goss-fpm-files - Might be useful for building goss system packages.
  • molecule - Automated testing for Ansible roles, with native Goss support.
  • packer-provisioner-goss - A packer plugin to run Goss as a provision step.
  • gossboss - Collect and view aggregated Goss test results from multiple remote Goss servers.


goss works well on Linux, but support on Windows & macOS is alpha. See platform-feature-parity.

The following tests have limitations.


  • rpm
  • deb
  • Alpine apk
  • pacman


  • systemd
  • sysV init
  • OpenRC init
  • Upstart