A Guide to Embedding Static Files in Go using go:embed

4 min read  #cli  #golang

Do you find it cumbersome to deal with separate files for static assets in your Go programs? Are you looking to simplify the deployment and distribution of your Go programs? If yes, then you are in luck! This blog post explores how to use go:embed to embed static files in Go binaries.

If you are interested in accessing the code for this project, you can refer to my GitHub repository.

The //go:embed Directive

The //go:embed directive is a new feature introduced in Go 1.16 that enables developers to embed static files directly into the Go binary, making it easier to include files like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images in Go applications. The directive specifies a list of file paths or glob patterns that should be embedded in the binary.

For example, to embed files from build folder, we can use the following code:

package main

import (

//go:embed dist/*
var assets []byte

func main() {
    // Use assets as needed...

The go:embed directive provides two options for specifying files to embed: go:embed all:folder and go:embed pattern. Let's explore the differences between these two options:

go:embed all:folder

The go:embed all:folder syntax embeds all files in a directory and its subdirectories. All files, including those beginning with "." or "_", will be embedded in the specified variable. For example:

//go:embed all:static
var staticAssets embed.FS

go:embed pattern

The go:embed pattern syntax embeds a specific set of files that match a certain pattern. We can use wildcards and other patterns to specify more complex sets of files to embed. For example:

//go:embed *.png
var imageFiles embed.FS

In summary, the go:embed directive provides two options for specifying files to embed: go:embed all:folder and go:embed pattern. The former is used to embed all files in a directory and its subdirectories, while the latter is used to embed a specific set of files that match a certain pattern.

Create and embedding a react application with vite

This section outlines how to create and embed a React TypeScript application using go:embed in Go.

npm create vite@latest
  1. create a react application by following Scaffolding Your First Vite Project tutorial.

  2. Create a go package file embed.go within UI folder

package ui

import (

//go:embed all:dist
var assets embed.FS

func Assets() (fs.FS, error) {
	return fs.Sub(assets, "dist")
  1. Import embed.go file in main to serve static assets
assets, _ := ui.Assets()

// Use the file system to serve static files
fs := http.FileServer(http.FS(assets))
http.Handle("/", http.StripPrefix("/", fs))

What we're doing here, is creating a route / and serving the static files built by Vite. Checkout GitHub repository for full implementation

Limitations of go:embed

While go:embed is a powerful feature that can simplify the deployment of Go programs, it has some limitations that you should be aware of. The limitations include:

  1. The go:embed directive does not support dynamic file paths. The file paths must be known at compile time.

  2. The go:embed directive only works with files that are accessible from the current working directory or a subdirectory of it. This means that you cannot use the go:embed directive to embed files outside of your project directory or in a parent directory. such as such as .git/* or symbolic links.

  3. The go:embed directive must not match files whose names include the special punctuation characters " * < > ? ` ' | / \ and :


  1. Embed package RFC
  2. Go command support for embedded static assets Draft Design
  3. Proposal cmd/go: support embedding static assets (files) in binaries


By leveraging go:embed, developers can simplify the deployment and distribution of Go programs by embedding static files directly into their code. Although go:embed has some limitations, it is still a powerful feature that can streamline Go programs and improve the deployment process.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to add a comment or contact me on twitter.