Go by Example: Signals

Sometimes we’d like our Go programs to intelligently handle Unix signals. For example, we might want a server to gracefully shutdown when it receives a SIGTERM, or a command-line tool to stop processing input if it receives a SIGINT. Here’s how to handle signals in Go with channels.

package main
import (
func main() {

Go signal notification works by sending os.Signal values on a channel. We’ll create a channel to receive these notifications. Note that this channel should be buffered.

    sigs := make(chan os.Signal, 1)

signal.Notify registers the given channel to receive notifications of the specified signals.

    signal.Notify(sigs, syscall.SIGINT, syscall.SIGTERM)

We could receive from sigs here in the main function, but let’s see how this could also be done in a separate goroutine, to demonstrate a more realistic scenario of graceful shutdown.

    done := make(chan bool, 1)

This goroutine executes a blocking receive for signals. When it gets one it’ll print it out and then notify the program that it can finish.

    go func() {
        sig := <-sigs
        done <- true

The program will wait here until it gets the expected signal (as indicated by the goroutine above sending a value on done) and then exit.

    fmt.Println("awaiting signal")

When we run this program it will block waiting for a signal. By typing ctrl-C (which the terminal shows as ^C) we can send a SIGINT signal, causing the program to print interrupt and then exit.

$ go run signals.go
awaiting signal

Next example: Exit.