Understanding Go Build vs Go Install: What Does Go Build Build?

When it comes to building and installing Go programs, two common commands are go build and go install. While both of these commands are used for building Go programs, they have some key differences that are important to understand.

  1. What is Go Build?
  2. What is Go Install?
  3. What Does Go Build Build?
    1. Conclusion

What is Go Build?

Go build is a command that compiles Go source code files and generates an executable binary file. When you run go build, it creates an executable file in the current directory that you can run directly from the terminal.

One of the main benefits of go build is that it allows you to quickly test your code without having to install it. This can be especially helpful during development when you are making frequent changes and want to quickly test each change.

What is Go Install?

Go install, on the other hand, not only compiles the Go source code files but also installs the resulting binary into the $GOPATH/bin/ directory. This means that you can run the program from anywhere on your system without having to specify the full path to the binary.

Additionally, go install can also be used to install third-party packages that your code depends on. When you run go install with the name of a package, it will download the package and install it into the $GOPATH/pkg/ directory.

What Does Go Build Build?

Go build builds the executable binary file for the specified Go source code file. It does not install the binary anywhere on your system. The resulting binary file can be run directly from the command line.

When you run go build, it compiles the source code file and generates an executable binary file in the same directory as the source code file. The name of the binary file is the same as the name of the directory that contains the source code file.


In summary, go build is used to compile Go source code files and generate an executable binary file, while go install not only compiles the code but also installs the resulting binary and any third-party packages into the $GOPATH/ directory. Understanding the differences between these two commands is important for effectively building and installing Go programs.

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