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Quick and Easy server testing/validation

Language: Go

Goss - Quick and Easy server validation

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Goss in 45 seconds

Note: For an even faster way of doing this, see: autoadd

Note: For testing docker containers see the dgoss wrapper

Note: For some Docker/Kubernetes healtcheck, 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 suits are near instantaneous, see benchmarks
  • Goss is SMALL! - <10MB single self-contained binary


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 v0.3.4 version to ~/bin
curl -fsSL | GOSS_VER=v0.3.4 GOSS_DST=~/bin sh

Manual installation

# See for release versions
curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/goss
chmod +rx /usr/local/bin/goss

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

Full Documentation

Documentation is available here:

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:

$ cat 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

Manually editing Goss files

Goss files can be manually edited 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

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
  • goss - add new goss file, it will be imported from this one

Supported output formats

  • rspecish (default) - Similar to rspec output
  • documentation - Verbose test results
  • JSON - Detailed test result
  • TAP
  • JUnit
  • nagios - Nagios/Sensu compatible output /w exit code 2 for failures.
  • 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.


Currently goss only runs on Linux.

The following tests have limitations.


  • rpm
  • deb
  • Alpine apk
  • pacman


  • systemd
  • sysV init
  • OpenRC init
  • Upstart

Project Statistics

Sourcerank 3
Repository Size 446 KB
Stars 1
Forks 0
Watchers 1
Open issues disabled
Dependencies 29
Tags 46
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v0.3.4 July 21, 2017
v0.3.3 July 10, 2017
v0.3.2 April 23, 2017
v0.3.1 March 15, 2017
v0.3.0 March 06, 2017
v0.2.6 February 18, 2017
v0.2.5 December 10, 2016
v0.2.4 September 28, 2016
issue/147 September 13, 2016
v0.2.3 August 11, 2016
v0.2.2 August 04, 2016
v0.2.1 August 02, 2016
v0.2.0 August 02, 2016
v0.1.10 July 26, 2016
v0.1.9 July 22, 2016

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