How to migrate dependency management to go modules in a Golang project


Go didn’t had any official dependency management tool till the version 1.10, but gophers heavily used the third party dependency management tools like govendor,dep,etc. In late 2018, go modules was introduced as an experimental dependency management tool in the version 1.11 and since then it has proved it’s mettle and now in 2019 it has become the official one. You can get plenty of resources online which talks about how to get started with go modules but here I’m going to talk about how to migrate a project’s dependency management from govendor/dep to go modules.


A module can be thought of as the project. The module is described in it’s go.mod file. A module comprises of packages. Each package can be imported by users by doing, for example go get There are four directives in a module:-

1) module –> Determines the path of the module

2) require –> Determines all the dependencies required

3) replace –> Allows to supply another import path that might be a module in another VCS or in local file system

4) exclude –> To exclude specific version of a dependency

Note- Check the version of the packages for satisfaction by doing go list -m all


go modules has native support for migration from several dependency managers like govendor,dep,glide,etc. You need to perform a simple one liner:- go mod init , this will read and translate vendor file and create appropriate go.mod file.

A major point of writing this article is that, while doing this migration I was stuck at an issue, and the issue is that I have some packages required, which are local only, hence it worked with GOPATH but now since GOPATH is gone, I need a workaround.

Here comes the requirement of replace directive as mentioned above.


If you have a new golang project with dependencies vendored with modules and now you want to synchronize the dependencies, you have to first move the project outside of GOPATH. Once you’ve done that make sure GO111MODULE is on.

Now if you try to install/build the project, the dependencies will be vendored automatically.


I have a dependency requirement of a package called which is local package.


In order to import this I need to replace this import path with the absolute or relative path of the module which provides this package and also mention this in the require directive.

  • Add –> v0.0.0 in the require section.

  • Add –> replace => <absolute or relative path>/go_server at the bottom.

This solves two major steps that are often required while migrating the dependency management tool. I’ll update this article with more hurdles that might come in the way while I work with modules more.

Moving ahead, read this brilliant article by Russ Cox on go modules.