Error handling is a crucial aspect of writing robust and maintainable Go (Golang) applications. While Go provides a built-in error type, there are cases where custom errors are more appropriate and informative. This guide explores advanced error handling in Go, focusing on creating and using custom error types to enhance the clarity and reliability of your code. Sample code is included to illustrate each concept.

The Need for Custom Errors

Built-in error types in Go are versatile but can lack specific context. Custom errors allow you to provide detailed information about the error, making it easier to understand and troubleshoot issues. Common use cases for custom errors include handling domain-specific errors or enriching errors with context.

Creating Custom Error Types

In Go, custom error types are merely user-defined types that implement the built-in error interface. Here's how to create a custom error type:

package main
import "fmt"
type CustomError struct {
message string
func (e *CustomError) Error() string {
return e.message
func NewCustomError(message string) *CustomError {
return &CustomError{message}

In this example, a custom error type "CustomError" is created. It implements the "Error()" method of the error interface to provide a custom error message. A constructor function "NewCustomError" is also defined to create instances of the custom error.

Using Custom Errors

Once you have created custom error types, you can use them in your code to provide clear error context. Here's an example of using a custom error in a function:

func Divide(a, b int) (int, error) {
if b == 0 {
return 0, NewCustomError("division by zero")
return a / b, nil

In this "Divide" function, a custom error is used to indicate a division by zero. If an error occurs, it is returned along with a description.

Error Context

Custom errors can be enriched with context information, such as error codes, to help with debugging and handling. Here's an example of an error with context:

type CustomErrorWithCode struct {
code int
message string
func (e *CustomErrorWithCode) Error() string {
return fmt.Sprintf("Error %d: %s", e.code, e.message)
func NewCustomErrorWithCode(code int, message string) *CustomErrorWithCode {
return &CustomErrorWithCode{code, message}

In this example, the "CustomErrorWithCode" type includes an error code along with the message. The "NewCustomErrorWithCode" constructor creates instances of this error type.

Error Wrapping

Go 1.13 introduced the "errors" package, which includes functions for wrapping errors. Error wrapping allows you to provide additional context while preserving the original error. This is especially useful for creating more informative custom errors.

import "errors"
func CustomErrorWithWrap() error {
originalError := NewCustomError("original error")
return errors.Wrap(originalError, "additional context")

In this example, the "errors.Wrap" function is used to wrap the original custom error with additional context.


Advanced error handling with custom errors is a valuable skill in Go programming. Custom errors provide context and clarity, making it easier to identify and resolve issues in your applications. By creating custom error types, enriching errors with context, and using error wrapping, you can take your error handling to the next level and build more reliable software.

Further Resources

To further enhance your knowledge of advanced error handling in Go, consider these resources: