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How to use local go modules with golang with examples

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When coding I like to put everything inside of folders depending on what they do. I almost always got specific directories for utils, parser, etc. So here’s a complete guide on how to use local go modules with golang

When I started using go modules I was migrating a project from dep which followed this architecture. I had an utils directory, and another directory which handled all parsing for my data input into structs. But then I ended up needing functions from the utils directory. I was stuck and couldn’t find how to make directories importable everywhere in the project (like dep used to). Because relative imports are a nightmare with go modules (removing the gopath has a toll after all).

So after quite a bit of fuming and searching all of the web for a solution that is elegant and not something like some crazy relative imports, I found this solution and since I struggled so much to find the solution I figured that I would share it with you all.

The example project

Here’s our example project directory structure :
├── go.mod
├── hello
│   ├── go.mod
│   └── hello.go
├── main.go
└── utils
├── go.mod
└── multigreet.go

You can also see the example code on my github repository here :

The code is relatively straightforward : I have two directories, hello and utils that I want to import from the main.go file. And when things get a little tricky is that I want to import the hello directory inside of the utils directory.

The code for the hello.go file that we want to import is this super complicated function :

package hello

func Hello(name string) string {
   return "hello " + name

The code for the addAndGreet.go file is a bit more complex :

package utils

import (

func AddAndGreet(name string, a, b int) string {
return hello.Hello(name) + " " + strconv.Itoa(a + b)

Notice how we are importing "".

Finally here’s the main.go file :

package main

import (

func main() {
fmt.Println(utils.AddAndGreet("martin", 2, 3))

Obviously the modules or do not exist so these imports make zero sense to our compiler so let’s help him out a bit

Importing local modules in main.go

So first we simply have to convert all of our directories into go modules. For that we need to add a go.mod at the root of every directories.
Then inside of that go.mod give them whatever name that we want as module name. but bear in mind that it has to be an url. In my example I put this:

module in the go.mod for the hello directory
module in the go.mod for the utils directory

The import makes a bit more sense now huh ? but we are not done yet.

The replace keyword

This is where the magic happens, go.mod files have a few keywords that can be very useful, one of them is replace what replace does is that it takes a module path (eg : and replaces it with a direct or relative path.

here’s the syntax for the replace keyword :

replace => /direct/path/to/files

Note that replace also works with relative paths.

The main go.mod


go 1.13

require ( v0.0.0 v0.0.0


replace ( => ./hello => ./utils

Usuall go module dependencies work with versions, so to use local go modules with golang you have to set v0.0.0

Finally after the require, I just tell the compiler that those urls are local and can be found in the same directory under ./hello and ./utils. The great thing about this main go.mod file is that now even the utils module will know where to find the hello module because the url have been replaced.


And that’s all you need to know to use local go modules with golang. Hopefully this will save you all the hours I put into it. Keep in mind that you can find the complete code on my github :

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I got quite busy. But now I should be able to make posts more often on this blog.

Published incodegolangtutorial