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/v1/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:

wget -O zipkin.jar ''
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/v1 - Api
  • /health - Returns 200 status if OK
  • /info - Provides the version of the running instance
  • /metrics - Includes collector metrics broken down by transport type

There are more built-in endpoints provided by Spring Boot, such as /metrics. To comprehensively list endpoints, GET /mappings.

CORS (Cross-origin Resource Sharing)

By default, all endpoints under /api/v1 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.zipkin=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.


Metrics are exported to the path /metrics and extend defaults reported by spring-boot.

Metrics are also exported to the path /prometheus if the zipkin-autoconfigure-metrics-prometheus is available in the classpath. See the prometheus metrics README for more information.


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 3600000 (1 hour in millis).
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.

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_LOG_LEVEL`: Log level written to the console; Defaults to INFO
* `QUERY_LOOKBACK`: How many milliseconds queries can look back from endTs; Defaults to 7 days
* `STORAGE_TYPE`: SpanStore implementation: one of `mem`, `mysql`, `cassandra`, `elasticsearch`
* `COLLECTOR_PORT`: Listen port for the scribe thrift api; Defaults to 9410
* `COLLECTOR_SAMPLE_RATE`: Percentage of traces to retain, defaults to always sample (1.0).

Cassandra Storage

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

* `CASSANDRA_KEYSPACE`: The keyspace to use. Defaults to "zipkin".
* `CASSANDRA_CONTACT_POINTS`: Comma separated list of hosts / ip addresses part of Cassandra cluster. Defaults to localhost
* `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:

$ STORAGE_TYPE=cassandra java -jar zipkin.jar

MySQL Storage

The following apply 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.

Example usage:

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

Elasticsearch Storage

Zipkin's Elasticsearch storage component supports version 2.x and applies when STORAGE_TYPE is set to elasticsearch

When the value of ES_HOSTS includes an Http URL (ex http://elasticsearch:9200), Zipkin's Elasticsearch Http storage component is used, which supports versions 2.x and 5.x.

The following apply when STORAGE_TYPE is set to elasticsearch:

* `ES_CLUSTER`: The name of the elasticsearch cluster to connect to. Defaults to "elasticsearch".
* `ES_HOSTS`: A comma separated list of elasticsearch hostnodes to connect to. When in host:port
              format, they should use the transport port, not the http port. To use http, specify
              base urls, ex. http://host:9200. Defaults to "localhost:9300". When not using http,
              Only one of the hosts needs to be available to fetch the remaining nodes in the
              cluster. It is recommended to set this to all the master nodes of the cluster.

              If the http URL is an AWS-hosted elasticsearch installation (e.g.
     then Zipkin will attempt to
              use the default AWS credential provider (env variables, system properties, config
              files, or ec2 profiles) to sign outbound requests to the cluster.
* `ES_PIPELINE`: Only valid when the destination is Elasticsearch 5.x. Indicates the ingest
                 pipeline used before spans are indexed. No default.
* `ES_MAX_REQUESTS`: Only valid when the transport is http. Sets maximum in-flight requests from
                     this process to any Elasticsearch host. Defaults to 64.
* `ES_AWS_DOMAIN`: The name of the AWS-hosted elasticsearch domain to use. Supercedes any set
                   `ES_HOSTS`. Triggers the same request signing behavior as with `ES_HOSTS`, but
                   requires the additional IAM permission to describe the given domain.
* `ES_AWS_REGION`: An optional override to the default region lookup to search for the domain
                   given in `ES_AWS_DOMAIN`. Ignored if only `ES_HOSTS` is present.
* `ES_INDEX`: The index prefix to use when generating daily index names. Defaults to zipkin.
* `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.

Example usage:

To connect with http:

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

Or to use transport client.

$ STORAGE_TYPE=elasticsearch ES_CLUSTER=monitoring ES_HOSTS=host1:9300,host2:9300 java -jar zipkin.jar

Or to use the Amazon Elasticsearch Service.

# make sure your cli credentials are setup as zipkin will read them
$ aws es describe-elasticsearch-domain --domain-name mydomain|jq .DomainStatus.Endpoint
$ STORAGE_TYPE=elasticsearch ES_HOSTS= java -jar zipkin.jar

# Or you can have zipkin implicitly lookup your domain's URL
$ STORAGE_TYPE=elasticsearch ES_AWS_DOMAIN=mydomain ES_AWS_REGION=ap-southeast-1 java -jar zipkin.jar

Scribe Collector

The Scribe collector is enabled by default, configured by the following:

* `SCRIBE_ENABLED`: Set to false to prevent scribe from starting; Defaults to true
* `COLLECTOR_PORT`: Listen port for the scribe thrift api; Defaults to 9410

Kafka Collector

This collector remains a Kafka 0.8.x consumer, while Zipkin systems update to 0.9+.

The following apply when KAFKA_ZOOKEEPER is set:

* `KAFKA_TOPIC`: Topic zipkin spans will be consumed from. Defaults to "zipkin"
* `KAFKA_STREAMS`: Count of threads/streams consuming the topic. Defaults to 1

Settings below correspond to "Old Consumer Configs" in Kafka documentation

Variable Old Consumer Config Description
KAFKA_ZOOKEEPER zookeeper.connect The zookeeper connect string, ex. No default
KAFKA_GROUP_ID The consumer group this process is consuming on behalf of. Defaults to "zipkin"
KAFKA_MAX_MESSAGE_SIZE fetch.message.max.bytes Maximum size of a message containing spans in bytes. Defaults to 1 MiB

Example usage:

$ KAFKA_ZOOKEEPER= java -jar zipkin.jar

Example targeting Kafka running in Docker:

$ export KAFKA_ZOOKEEPER=$(docker-machine ip `docker-machine active`)
# Run Kafka in the background
$ docker run -d -p 2181:2181 -p 9092:9092 \
    --env AUTO_CREATE_TOPICS=true \
# Start the zipkin server, which reads $KAFKA_ZOOKEEPER
$ java -jar zipkin.jar

Overriding other properties

You may need to override other consumer properties than what zipkin explicitly defines. In such case, you need to prefix that property name with "zipkin.collector.kafka.overrides" and pass it as a CLI argument or system property.

For example, to override "", you can set a prefixed system property:

$ KAFKA_ZOOKEEPER= java -jar zipkin.jar

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 -DskipTests --also-make -pl zipkin-server clean install
# Run the server
$ java -jar ./zipkin-server/target/zipkin-server-*exec.jar