Go Q & A


What is the purpose of the “go install” command in Go?

The go install command in Go is used to compile Go packages and install the resulting executable binaries or package archives into the bin directory of the Go workspace. The go install command is part of the Go toolchain and is commonly used to build and install executable binaries or libraries for reuse in other Go projects.


Here’s the purpose and usage of the go install command in Go:


  • Compilation: The primary purpose of the go install command is to compile Go source code files into machine-readable executable binaries or package archives. When invoked, go install reads the specified Go package or command source files, resolves dependencies, and generates the corresponding object files and executable binaries based on the platform and architecture.
  • Executable Binaries: When building a main package (i.e., a package with a package main declaration), go install produces an executable binary file with the same name as the main package or a specified output file name. The resulting binary is installed into the bin directory of the Go workspace, making it accessible from the command line for execution.
  • Library Packages: When building a non-main package (i.e., a package without a package main declaration), go install compiles the package source code into a package archive file (e.g., .a file) that can be imported and used by other Go packages and programs. Library packages installed with go install are stored in the pkg directory of the Go workspace for reuse by other Go projects.
  • Dependency Resolution: The go install command automatically resolves and fetches any required dependencies and external packages referenced by the Go source files. It ensures that all necessary dependencies are available and up-to-date before compiling the source code into executable binaries or package archives.
  • Cross-Compilation: go install supports cross-compilation, allowing developers to build Go programs and libraries for different target platforms and architectures. By specifying the target platform and architecture using the -o flag or environment variables such as GOOS and GOARCH, developers can generate cross-compiled binaries compatible with various operating systems and processor architectures.
  • Installation Directory: The resulting executable binaries and package archives generated by go install are installed into the bin and pkg directories of the Go workspace, respectively. The bin directory contains executable binaries that can be executed from the command line, while the pkg directory contains compiled package archives used by other Go packages and programs.
  • Reuse and Dependency Management: By installing executable binaries and libraries into the Go workspace, go install enables code reuse and dependency management across different Go projects. Installed packages and executables can be imported, executed, and referenced by other Go programs without the need for manual compilation or build configurations.


The go install command is a fundamental tool in the Go toolchain for compiling Go packages and installing executable binaries or libraries into the Go workspace. By using go install, developers can build, install, and manage Go packages and programs efficiently, enabling code reuse, dependency management, and cross-platform development in Go projects.

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Over 5 years of experience in Golang. Led the design and implementation of a distributed system and platform for building conversational chatbots.