Skip to content
Switch branches/tags


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


The LightStep distributed tracing library for C#

NuGet CircleCI codecov


Install the package via NuGet into your solution, or use Install-Package LightStep / dotnet add package LightStep.

Basic Usage

It's recommended to initialize the tracer once at the beginning of your application and assign it as the global tracer, as follows:

var tracerOptions = new Options();
var tracer = new Tracer(tracerOptions);

Once you've initialized a tracer, you can begin to create and emit spans.

Please refer to the OpenTracing C# documentation for information on how to create spans.

You can also refer to the examples folder for sample code and projects.

Advanced Usage

There's several options that can be adjusted when instantiating a LightStepTracer.


Method Description
WithTags(IDictionary<string, object>) Default tags to apply to all spans created by the tracer.
WithReportPeriod(TimeSpan) How frequently the Tracer should batch and send Spans to LightStep (5s default)
WithReportTimeout(TimeSpan) Timeout for sending spans to the Satellite (30s default)
WithToken(string) The LightStep Project Access Token
WithSatellite(SatelliteOptions) A SatelliteOptions object that specifies the host, port, and if we should use HTTPS
WithHttp2(bool) If this is true, we use HTTP/2 to communicate with the Satellite. We reccomend you enable this option if you're on a modern version of .NET (4.6.1+ or .NET Core)
WithAutomaticReporting(bool) If false, disables the automatic flushing of buffered spans.
WithMaxBufferedSpans(int) The maximum amount of spans to record in a single buffer.
WithTransport(enum) Which transport to use when sending spans to the Satellite.


Property Description
SatelliteHost The hostname of a Satelite (i.e.,
SatellitePort The port number where the Satellite is listening for HTTP traffic (defaults to 443)
UsePlaintext Should we use HTTP or HTTPS traffic? (Defaults to HTTPS)

The C# Tracer will prefer TLS 1.2 when available on all .NET Runtime versions, but should fall back to TLS 1.1 or 1.0 in that order.

The following is an example of overriding the LightStep Component Name and adding a new custom tag for all spans -

var satelliteOptions = new SatelliteOptions("");
var overrideTags = new Dictionary<string, object> 
    {LightStepConstants.ComponentNameKey, "test_component"},
    {"my_tag", "foobar"}
var tracerOptions = new Options("TEST_TOKEN").WithSatellite(satelliteOptions).WithTags(overrideTags);
var tracer = new Tracer(tracerOptions);


This tracer uses LibLog, a transparent logging abstraction that provides built-in support for NLog, Log4Net, Serilog, and Loupe. If you use a logging provider that isn't identified by LibLog, see this gist on how to implement a custom logging provider.

Integration Notes

You may notice that there's a lot of overloads for creating a Tracer! You have the flexibility to override and re-implement much of this library. In 0.10.0+, the ILightStepHttpClient interface has been decoupled from report translation, allowing you control over the exact mechanism by which the tracer reports spans to Lightstep. You can reference this issue for more information and a discussion about why you might want to do this.

For most users, sticking with the defaults is fine. You should also look at the Tracer(Options, IPropagator, ILightStepHttpClient) ctor for custom integration - the span recorder and span translator overloads are not terribly interesting. Creating and managing propagators allows you to either select a built-in propagator (textmap, B3, etc.), create a propagator 'stack' (if you potentially have multiple input or output trace context formats), or write your own propagator.