Building Go binaries for different architectures

October 19, 2016
go docker

While this tutorial uses a Docker container, the entire process can be performed on any system with the go binary installed.

Configuring Docker

To start off, let’s create a docker-compose.yml file.

version: "2"

    image: golang
      - ./:/src
    command: "/src/"

All we really need to do is map our project root directory to /src directory inside the container and to execute the script inside that /src directory.

We will create the script shortly, but first lets create a simple Go program.


In case you do not have any Go code laying around, create the file simple.go in your project root directory.

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello, world")

Let’s build some binaries

The trick to cross-compiling Go to different architectures is to setup environment variables GOOS and GOARCH to your specific needs. The list of specific values and combinations for them can be found at

To compile a Windows 64-bit executable we would run the following command.

env GOOS=windows GOARCH=amd64 go build simple.go

This would give us a file named simple.exe.

env allows us to set environment variables only for the duration of the execution of the command. Both GOOS and GOARCH get reverted back to their original values after go build is finished.

To make life easier for us, lets create a script file called inside the project root directory.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

cd /src

echo "Building for Windows 32-bit"
env GOOS=windows GOARCH=386 go build -o simple_32bit.exe simple.go

echo "Building for Windows 64-bit"
env GOOS=windows GOARCH=amd64 go build -o simple_64bit.exe simple.go

echo "Building for Linux 32-bit"
env GOOS=linux GOARCH=386 go build -o simple_32bit simple.go

echo "Building for Linux 64-bit"
env GOOS=linux GOARCH=amd64 go build -o simple_64bit simple.go

Running the container

We have our Docker configuration, our Go code and our builder script. Time to build some binaries.

docker-compose run --rm go

That’s it. The new files are ready and waiting in the project root directory.

Building Alpine binaries

You might have come across a problem when deploying your Go code to an Alpine Linux distribution. It doesn’t run. With our setup, this problem can be fixed in a second.

In your docker-compose.yml file change image: golang to image: golang:alpine and run the container once again. Your Linux binaries will now run on Alpine.