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zipkin-server is a Spring Boot application, packaged as an executable jar. You need JRE 8+ to start zipkin-server.

Span storage and collectors are configurable. By default, storage is in-memory, the http collector (POST /api/v2/spans endpoint) is enabled, and the server listens on port 9411.


The quickest way to get started is to fetch the latest released server as a self-contained executable jar. Note that the Zipkin server requires minimum JRE 8. For example:

$ curl -sSL | bash -s
$ java -jar zipkin.jar

Once you've started, browse to http://your_host:9411 to find traces!


The following endpoints are defined under the base url http://your_host:9411

  • / - UI
  • /config.json - Configuration for the UI
  • /api/v2 - Api
  • /health - Returns 200 status if OK
  • /info - Provides the version of the running instance
  • /metrics - Includes collector metrics broken down by transport type
  • /prometheus - Prometheus scrape endpoint

The legacy /api/v1 Api is still supported. Backends are decoupled from the HTTP api via data conversion. This means you can still accept legacy data on new backends and visa versa. Enter into the explore box of the Swagger UI to view the old definition

CORS (Cross-origin Resource Sharing)

By default, all endpoints under /api/v2 are configured to allow cross-origin requests.

This can be changed by modifying the YAML configuration file (zipkin.query.allowed-origins) or by setting an environment variable.

For example, to allow CORS requests from



By default, zipkin writes log messages to the console at INFO level and above. You can adjust categories using the --logging.level.XXX parameter, a -Dlogging.level.XXX system property, or by adjusting yaml configuration.

For example, if you want to enable debug logging for all zipkin categories, you can start the server like so:

$ java -jar zipkin.jar --logging.level.zipkin2=DEBUG

Under the covers, the server uses Spring Boot - Logback integration. For example, you can add --logging.exception-conversion-word=%wEx{full} to dump full stack traces instead of truncated ones.


Collector Metrics are exported to the path /metrics. These and additional metrics are exported to the path /prometheus.

Example Prometheus configuration

Here's an example /prometheus configuration, using the Prometheus exposition text format version 0.0.4

  - job_name: 'zipkin'
    scrape_interval: 5s
    metrics_path: '/prometheus'
      - targets: ['localhost:9411']
      # Response code count
      - source_labels: [__name__]
        regex: '^status_(\d+)_(.*)$'
        replacement: '${1}'
        target_label: status
      - source_labels: [__name__]
        regex: '^status_(\d+)_(.*)$'
        replacement: '${2}'
        target_label: path
      - source_labels: [__name__]
        regex: '^status_(\d+)_(.*)$'
        replacement: 'http_requests_total'
        target_label: __name__


Collector metrics are broken down by transport. The following are exported to the "/metrics" endpoint:

Metric Description
counter.zipkin_collector.messages.$transport cumulative messages received; should relate to messages reported by instrumented apps
counter.zipkin_collector.messages_dropped.$transport cumulative messages dropped; reasons include client disconnects or malformed content
counter.zipkin_collector.bytes.$transport cumulative message bytes
counter.zipkin_collector.spans.$transport cumulative spans read; should relate to messages reported by instrumented apps
counter.zipkin_collector.spans_dropped.$transport cumulative spans dropped; reasons include sampling or storage failures
gauge.zipkin_collector.message_spans.$transport last count of spans in a message
gauge.zipkin_collector.message_bytes.$transport last count of bytes in a message


Self tracing exists to help troubleshoot performance of the zipkin-server. Production deployments who enable self-tracing should lower the sample rate from 1.0 (100%) to a much smaller rate, like 0.001 (0.1% or 1 out of 1000).

When Brave dependencies are in the classpath, and zipkin.self-tracing.enabled=true, Zipkin will self-trace calls to the api.

yaml configuration binds the following environment variables to spring properties:

Variable Property Description
SELF_TRACING_ENABLED zipkin.self-tracing.enabled Set to true to enable self-tracing. Defaults to false
SELF_TRACING_SAMPLE_RATE`: Percentage of self-traces to retain, defaults to always sample (1.0).
SELF_TRACING_FLUSH_INTERVAL zipkin.self-tracing.flush-interval Interval in seconds to flush self-tracing data to storage. Defaults to 1

Configuration for the UI

Zipkin has a web UI, which is enabled by default when you depend on io.zipkin:zipkin-ui. This UI is automatically included in the exec jar, and is hosted by default on port 9411.

When the UI loads, it reads default configuration from the /config.json endpoint. These values can be overridden by system properties or any other alternative supported by Spring Boot.

Attribute Property Description
environment zipkin.ui.environment The value here becomes a label in the top-right corner. Not required.
defaultLookback zipkin.ui.default-lookback Default duration in millis to look back when finding traces. Affects the "Start time" element in the UI. Defaults to 900000 (15 minutes in millis).
searchEnabled If the Find Traces screen is enabled. Defaults to true.
queryLimit zipkin.ui.query-limit Default limit for Find Traces. Defaults to 10.
instrumented zipkin.ui.instrumented Which sites this Zipkin UI covers. Regex syntax. e.g. http:\/\/\/.* Defaults to match all websites (.*).
logsUrl zipkin.ui.logs-url Logs query service url pattern. If specified, a button will appear on the trace page and will replace {traceId} in the url by the traceId. Not required.
dependency.lowErrorRate zipkin.ui.dependency.low-error-rate The rate of error calls on a dependency link that turns it yellow. Defaults to 0.5 (50%) set to >1 to disable.
dependency.highErrorRate zipkin.ui.dependency.high-error-rate The rate of error calls on a dependency link that turns it red. Defaults to 0.75 (75%) set to >1 to disable.
basePath zipkin.ui.basepath path prefix placed into the tag in the UI HTML; useful when running behind a reverse proxy. Default "/zipkin"
suggestLens zipkin.ui.suggest-lens When true, a button will appear on the navigation bar, when pressed switches to the Lens Ui (for Beta testing). Default true

For example, if using docker you can set ZIPKIN_UI_QUERY_LIMIT=100 to affect $.queryLimit in /config.json.

Environment Variables

zipkin-server is a drop-in replacement for the scala query service.

yaml configuration binds the following environment variables from zipkin-scala:

  • QUERY_PORT: Listen port for the http api and web ui; Defaults to 9411
  • QUERY_ENABLED: false disables the query api and UI assets. Search may also be disabled for the storage backend if it is not needed; Defaults to true
  • SEARCH_ENABLED: false disables trace search requests on the storage backend. Does not disable trace by ID or dependency queries. Disable this when you use another service (such as logs) to find trace IDs; Defaults to true
  • QUERY_LOG_LEVEL: Log level written to the console; Defaults to INFO
  • QUERY_LOOKBACK: How many milliseconds queries can look back from endTs; Defaults to 24 hours (two daily buckets: one for today and one for yesterday)
  • STORAGE_TYPE: SpanStore implementation: one of mem, mysql, cassandra, elasticsearch
  • COLLECTOR_SAMPLE_RATE: Percentage of traces to retain, defaults to always sample (1.0).
  • AUTOCOMPLETE_KEYS: list of span tag keys which will be returned by the /api/v2/autocompleteTags endpoint; Tag keys should be comma separated e.g. "instance_id,user_id,env"
  • AUTOCOMPLETE_TTL: How long in milliseconds to suppress calls to write the same autocomplete key/value pair. Default 3600000 (1 hr)

In-Memory Storage

Zipkin's In-Memory Storage holds all data in memory, purging older data upon a span limit. It applies when STORAGE_TYPE is unset or set to the value mem.

* `MEM_MAX_SPANS`: Oldest traces (and their spans) will be purged first when this limit is exceeded. Default 500000

Example usage:

$ java -jar zipkin.jar

Note: this storage component was primarily developed for testing and as a means to get Zipkin server up and running quickly without external dependencies. It is not viable for high work loads. That said, if you encounter out-of-memory errors, try decreasing MEM_MAX_SPANS or increasing the heap size (-Xmx).

Exampled of doubling the amount of spans held in memory:

$ MEM_MAX_SPANS=1000000 java -Xmx1G -jar zipkin.jar

Cassandra Storage

Zipkin's Cassandra storage component supports version 3.11+ and applies when STORAGE_TYPE is set to cassandra3:

* `CASSANDRA_KEYSPACE`: The keyspace to use. Defaults to "zipkin2"
* `CASSANDRA_CONTACT_POINTS`: Comma separated list of host addresses part of Cassandra cluster. You can also specify a custom port with 'host:port'. Defaults to localhost on port 9042.
* `CASSANDRA_LOCAL_DC`: Name of the datacenter that will be considered "local" for latency load balancing. When unset, load-balancing is round-robin.
* `CASSANDRA_ENSURE_SCHEMA`: Ensuring cassandra has the latest schema. If enabled tries to execute scripts in the classpath prefixed with `cassandra-schema-cql3`. Defaults to true
* `CASSANDRA_USERNAME` and `CASSANDRA_PASSWORD`: Cassandra authentication. Will throw an exception on startup if authentication fails. No default
* `CASSANDRA_USE_SSL`: Requires `` and ``, defaults to false.

The following are tuning parameters which may not concern all users:

* `CASSANDRA_MAX_CONNECTIONS`: Max pooled connections per datacenter-local host. Defaults to 8
* `CASSANDRA_INDEX_CACHE_MAX`: Maximum trace index metadata entries to cache. Zero disables caching. Defaults to 100000.
* `CASSANDRA_INDEX_CACHE_TTL`: How many seconds to cache index metadata about a trace. Defaults to 60.
* `CASSANDRA_INDEX_FETCH_MULTIPLIER`: How many more index rows to fetch than the user-supplied query limit. Defaults to 3.

Example usage with logging:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=cassandra3 java -jar zipkin.jar --logging.level.zipkin=trace --logging.level.zipkin2=trace

Elasticsearch Storage

Zipkin's Elasticsearch storage component supports versions 5-7.x and applies when STORAGE_TYPE is set to elasticsearch

The following apply when STORAGE_TYPE is set to elasticsearch:

* `ES_HOSTS`: A comma separated list of elasticsearch base urls to connect to ex. http://host:9200.
              Defaults to "http://localhost:9200".
* `ES_PIPELINE`: Indicates the ingest pipeline used before spans are indexed. No default.
* `ES_TIMEOUT`: Controls the connect, read and write socket timeouts (in milliseconds) for
                Elasticsearch Api. Defaults to 10000 (10 seconds)
* `ES_INDEX`: The index prefix to use when generating daily index names. Defaults to zipkin.
* `ES_DATE_SEPARATOR`: The date separator to use when generating daily index names. Defaults to '-'.
* `ES_INDEX_SHARDS`: The number of shards to split the index into. Each shard and its replicas
                     are assigned to a machine in the cluster. Increasing the number of shards
                     and machines in the cluster will improve read and write performance. Number
                     of shards cannot be changed for existing indices, but new daily indices
                     will pick up changes to the setting. Defaults to 5.
* `ES_INDEX_REPLICAS`: The number of replica copies of each shard in the index. Each shard and
                       its replicas are assigned to a machine in the cluster. Increasing the
                       number of replicas and machines in the cluster will improve read
                       performance, but not write performance. Number of replicas can be changed
                       for existing indices. Defaults to 1. It is highly discouraged to set this
                       to 0 as it would mean a machine failure results in data loss.
* `ES_USERNAME` and `ES_PASSWORD`: Elasticsearch basic authentication, which defaults to empty string.
                                   Use when X-Pack security (formerly Shield) is in place.
* `ES_HTTP_LOGGING`: When set, controls the volume of HTTP logging of the Elasticsearch Api.
                     Options are BASIC, HEADERS, BODY

Example usage:

To connect normally:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=elasticsearch ES_HOSTS=http://myhost:9200 java -jar zipkin.jar

To log Elasticsearch api requests:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=elasticsearch ES_HTTP_LOGGING=BASIC java -jar zipkin.jar

Using a custom Key Store or Trust Store (SSL)

If your Elasticsearch endpoint customized SSL configuration (for example self-signed) certificates, you can use any of the following subset of JSSE properties to connect.


Usage example:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=elasticsearch java $JAVA_OPTS -jar zipkin.jar

Under the scenes, these map to properties prefixed, which affect the Armeria client used to connect to Elasticsearch.

The above properties allow the most common SSL setup to work out of box. If you need more customization, please make a comment in this issue.

Legacy (v1) storage components

The following components are no longer encouraged, but exist to help aid transition to supported ones. These are indicated as "v1" as they use data layouts based on Zipkin's V1 Thrift model, as opposed to the simpler v2 data model currently used.

MySQL Storage

Zipkin's MySQL component is tested against MySQL 5.7 and applies when STORAGE_TYPE is set to mysql:

* `MYSQL_DB`: The database to use. Defaults to "zipkin".
* `MYSQL_USER` and `MYSQL_PASS`: MySQL authentication, which defaults to empty string.
* `MYSQL_HOST`: Defaults to localhost
* `MYSQL_TCP_PORT`: Defaults to 3306
* `MYSQL_MAX_CONNECTIONS`: Maximum concurrent connections, defaults to 10
* `MYSQL_USE_SSL`: Requires `` and ``, defaults to false.

Note: This module is not recommended for production usage. Before using this, you must apply the schema.

Alternatively you can use MYSQL_JDBC_URL and specify the complete JDBC url yourself. Note that the URL constructed by using the separate settings above will also include the following parameters: ?autoReconnect=true&useSSL=false&useUnicode=yes&characterEncoding=UTF-8. If you specify the JDBC url yourself, add these parameters as well.

Example usage:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=mysql MYSQL_USER=root java -jar zipkin.jar

Cassandra Storage

Zipkin's Legacy (v1) Cassandra storage component supports version 2.2+ and applies when STORAGE_TYPE is set to cassandra:

The environment variables are the same as STORAGE_TYPE=cassandra3, except the default keyspace name is "zipkin".

Example usage:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=cassandra java -jar zipkin.jar

Throttled Storage (Experimental)

These settings can be used to help tune the rate at which Zipkin flushes data to another, underlying StorageComponent (such as Elasticsearch):

* `STORAGE_THROTTLE_ENABLED`: Enables throttling
* `STORAGE_THROTTLE_MIN_CONCURRENCY`: Minimum number of Threads to use for writing to storage.
* `STORAGE_THROTTLE_MAX_CONCURRENCY`: Maximum number of Threads to use for writing to storage.
* `STORAGE_THROTTLE_MAX_QUEUE_SIZE`: How many messages to buffer while all Threads are writing data before abandoning a message (0 = no buffering).

As this feature is experimental, it is not recommended to run this in production environments.

Service and Span names query

The Zipkin Api does not include a parameter for how far back to look for service or span names. In order to prevent excessive load, service and span name queries are limited by QUERY_LOOKBACK, which defaults to 24hrs (two daily buckets: one for today and one for yesterday)

HTTP Collector

The HTTP collector is enabled by default. It accepts spans via POST /api/v1/spans and POST /api/v2/spans. The HTTP collector supports the following configuration:

Property Environment Variable Description
zipkin.collector.http.enabled COLLECTOR_HTTP_ENABLED false disables the HTTP collector. Defaults to true.

Scribe (Legacy) Collector

A collector supporting Scribe is enabled when COLLECTOR_SCRIBE_ENABLED=true. New sites are discouraged from using this collector as Scribe is an archived technology.

Environment Variable Property Description
COLLECTOR_PORT zipkin.collector.scribe.port The port to listen for thrift RPC scribe requests. Defaults to 9410
SCRIBE_CATEGORY zipkin.collector.scribe.category Category zipkin spans will be consumed from. Defaults to zipkin

ActiveMQ Collector

The ActiveMQ Collector is enabled when ACTIVEMQ_URL is set to a v5.x broker. The following settings apply in this case.

Environment Variable Property Description
COLLECTOR_ACTIVEMQ_ENABLED zipkin.collector.activemq.enabled false disables the ActiveMQ collector. Defaults to true.
ACTIVEMQ_URL zipkin.collector.activemq.url Connection URL to the ActiveMQ broker, ex. tcp://localhost:61616 or failover:(tcp://localhost:61616,tcp://remotehost:61616)
ACTIVEMQ_QUEUE zipkin.collector.activemq.queue Queue from which to collect span messages. Defaults to zipkin
ACTIVEMQ_CLIENT_ID_PREFIX zipkin.collector.activemq.client-id-prefix Client ID prefix for queue consumers. Defaults to zipkin
ACTIVEMQ_CONCURRENCY zipkin.collector.activemq.concurrency Number of concurrent span consumers. Defaults to 1
ACTIVEMQ_USER zipkin.collector.activemq.user Optional username to connect to the broker
ACTIVEMQ_PASSWORD zipkin.collector.activemq.password Optional password to connect to the broker

Example usage:

$ ACTIVEMQ_URL=tcp://localhost:61616 java -jar zipkin.jar

Kafka Collector

The Kafka collector is enabled when KAFKA_BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS is set to a v0.10+ server. The following settings apply in this case. Some settings correspond to "New Consumer Configs" in Kafka documentation.

Variable New Consumer Config Description
COLLECTOR_KAFKA_ENABLED N/A false disables the Kafka collector. Defaults to true.
KAFKA_BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS bootstrap.servers Comma-separated list of brokers, ex. No default
KAFKA_GROUP_ID The consumer group this process is consuming on behalf of. Defaults to zipkin
KAFKA_TOPIC N/A Comma-separated list of topics that zipkin spans will be consumed from. Defaults to zipkin
KAFKA_STREAMS N/A Count of threads consuming the topic. Defaults to 1

Example usage:

    java -jar zipkin.jar

Other Kafka consumer properties

You may need to set other Kafka consumer properties, in addition to the ones with explicit properties defined by the collector. In this case, you need to prefix that property name with zipkin.collector.kafka.overrides and pass it as a system property argument.

For example, to override auto.offset.reset, you can set a system property named

    java -jar zipkin.jar

Detailed examples

Example targeting Kafka running in Docker:

$ export KAFKA_BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS=$(docker-machine ip `docker-machine active`)
# Run Kafka in the background
$ docker run -d -p 9092:9092 \
    --env AUTO_CREATE_TOPICS=true \
# Start the zipkin server, which reads $KAFKA_BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS
$ java -jar zipkin.jar

Multiple bootstrap servers:

$ KAFKA_BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS=broker1.local:9092,broker2.local:9092 \
    java -jar zipkin.jar

Alternate topic name(s):

    java -Dzipkin.collector.kafka.topic=zapkin,zipken -jar zipkin.jar

Specifying bootstrap servers as a system property, instead of an environment variable:

$ java -Dzipkin.collector.kafka.bootstrap-servers= \
    -jar zipkin.jar

RabbitMQ collector

The RabbitMQ collector will be enabled when the addresses or uri for the RabbitMQ server(s) is set.

Example usage:

$ RABBIT_ADDRESSES=localhost java -jar zipkin.jar

gRPC Collector (Experimental)

You can enable a gRPC span collector endpoint by setting COLLECTOR_GRPC_ENABLED=true. The zipkin.proto3.SpanService/Report endpoint will run on the same port as normal http (9411).

Example usage:

$ COLLECTOR_GRPC_ENABLED=true java -jar zipkin.jar

As this service is experimental, it is not recommended to run this in production environments.

128-bit trace IDs

Zipkin supports 64 and 128-bit trace identifiers, typically serialized as 16 or 32 character hex strings. By default, spans reported to zipkin with the same trace ID will be considered in the same trace.

For example, 463ac35c9f6413ad48485a3953bb6124 is a 128-bit trace ID, while 48485a3953bb6124 is a 64-bit one.

Note: Span (or parent) IDs within a trace are 64-bit regardless of the length or value of their trace ID.

Migrating from 64 to 128-bit trace IDs

Unless you only issue 128-bit traces when all applications support them, the process of updating applications from 64 to 128-bit trace IDs results in a mixed state. This mixed state is mitigated by the setting STRICT_TRACE_ID=false, explained below. Once a migration is complete, remove the setting STRICT_TRACE_ID=false or set it to true.

Here are a few trace IDs the help what happens during this setting.

  • Trace ID A: 463ac35c9f6413ad48485a3953bb6124
  • Trace ID B: 48485a3953bb6124
  • Trace ID C: 463ac35c9f6413adf1a48a8cff464e0e
  • Trace ID D: 463ac35c9f6413ad

In a 64-bit environment, trace IDs will look like B or D above. When an application upgrades to 128-bit instrumentation and decides to create a 128-bit trace, its trace IDs will look like A or C above.

Applications who aren't yet 128-bit capable typically only retain the right-most 16 characters of the trace ID. When this happens, the same trace could be reported as trace ID A or trace ID B.

By default, Zipkin will think these are different trace IDs, as they are different strings. During a transition from 64-128 bit trace IDs, spans would appear split across two IDs. For example, it might start as trace ID A, but the next hop might truncate it to trace ID B. This would render the system unusable for applications performing upgrades.

One way to address this problem is to not use 128-bit trace IDs until all applications support them. This prevents a mixed scenario at the cost of coordination. Another way is to set STRICT_TRACE_ID=false.

When STRICT_TRACE_ID=false, only the right-most 16 of a 32 character trace ID are considered when grouping or retrieving traces. This setting should only be applied when transitioning from 64 to 128-bit trace IDs and removed once the transition is complete.

See for the status of known open source libraries on 128-bit trace identifiers.

See for even more details!

Running with Docker

Released versions of zipkin-server are published to Docker Hub as openzipkin/zipkin. See docker-zipkin for details.

Building locally

To build and run the server from the currently checked out source, enter the following.

# Build the server and also make its dependencies
$ ./mvnw -Dlicense.skip=true -DskipTests --also-make -pl zipkin-server clean install
# Run the server
$ java -jar ./zipkin-server/target/zipkin-server-*exec.jar
# or Run the slim server
$ java -jar ./zipkin-server/target/zipkin-server-*slim.jar
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