Setting a Timeout on Golang Unit Tests

There are multiple ways of ensuring that a test suite does not take too long to run. The first is simply by setting a timeout as an option with the go test command:

go test -timeout 300ms

One can use any value that time.ParseDuration accepts.

The second is making use of a channel within the test itself:

func TestWithTimeOut(t *testing.T) {
  timeout := time.After(3 * time.Second)
  done := make(chan bool)

  go func() {

    // do your testing here
    done <- true

  select {
  case <-timeout:
    t.Fatal("test didn't finish in time")
   case <-done:

I’ve found this to be useful in tests that cover concurrent code. Sometimes a bug in that code could cause the test to hang forever, so a backstop is needed. But if things go well, we don’t want to add any artificial delays.