If you want to run integration tests in go, and want an easy way to not have to script all the setup and teardown, you can use dockertest helper. It will let you use docker to run services needed for the integration testing, which lets you easily clean up everything after testing is done.

For example if you need to test with redis, it will spin up a container just for the duration of the test, and then tear it down once the testing is over.

One worry is that the external dependency will slow you down, but is takes less then 200ms for both setup and teardown on my 2014 MacBook Pro.

I’ve created created a github repo with sample code to show how it can be done.

$ go test
testing took 181.810519ms
ok  	github.com/pmenglund/go-testing-redis-with-docker	0.293s

Some things to note with the below code:

  • I use a test wrapper to work around the fact that TestMain expects to use os.Exit(), which ignores defer, but this simple wrapper fixes that.
  • If you use docker-machine you can’t use localhost for the hostname, as you’re connecting to the docker-machine image, so you have to get the correct endpoint through the pool.Client.Endpoint() call.

Sample test code:

package main

import (

	dockertest "gopkg.in/ory-am/dockertest.v3"

var client *redis.Client

func TestMain(m *testing.M) {
	// use a test wrapper, as os.Exit ignores defer, so we can't automatically
	// call `pool.Purge(resource)`

func testWrapper(m *testing.M) int {
	pool, err := dockertest.NewPool("")
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("Could not connect to docker: %s", err)

	resource, err := pool.Run("redis", "latest", nil)
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("Could not start resource: %s", err)
	defer pool.Purge(resource)

	// if run with docker-machine the hostname needs to be set
	u, err := url.Parse(pool.Client.Endpoint())
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("Could not parse endpoint: %s", pool.Client.Endpoint())

	if err := pool.Retry(func() error {
		client = redis.NewClient(&redis.Options{
			Addr:     net.JoinHostPort(u.Hostname(), resource.GetPort("6379/tcp")),
			Password: "", // no password set
			DB:       0,  // use default DB

		ping := client.Ping()
		return ping.Err()
	}); err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("Could not connect to docker: %s", err)

	return m.Run()

func TestGetNext(t *testing.T) {
	expected := getNext(client)
	if expected != 1 {
		t.Errorf("got %d but expected 1", expected)