Programming language: Go
License: MIT License
Latest version: v6.0.1

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GoDoc license


This is a generic middleware to rate-limit HTTP requests.

NOTE 1: This library is considered finished.

NOTE 2: Major version changes are backward-incompatible. v2.0.0 streamlines the ugliness of the old API.


v1.0.0: This version maintains the old API but all the thirdparty modules are moved to their own repo.

v2.x.x: Brand-new API for the sake of code cleanup, thread safety, & auto-expiring data structures.

v3.x.x: Apparently we have been using golang.org/x/time/rate incorrectly. See issue #48. It always limits X number per 1 second. The time duration is not changeable, so it does not make sense to pass TTL to tollbooth.

v4.x.x: Float64 for max requests per second

v5.x.x: go.mod and go.sum

v6.x.x: Replaced go-cache with github.com/go-pkgz/expirable-cache because go-cache leaks goroutines.

v7.x.x: Replaced time/rate with embedded time/rate so that we can support more rate limit headers.

Five Minute Tutorial

package main

import (


func HelloHandler(w http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request) {
    w.Write([]byte("Hello, World!"))

func main() {
    // Create a request limiter per handler.
    http.Handle("/", tollbooth.LimitFuncHandler(tollbooth.NewLimiter(1, nil), HelloHandler))
    http.ListenAndServe(":12345", nil)


  1. Rate-limit by request's remote IP, path, methods, custom headers, & basic auth usernames.

    import (
    lmt := tollbooth.NewLimiter(1, nil)
    // or create a limiter with expirable token buckets
    // This setting means:
    // create a 1 request/second limiter and
    // every token bucket in it will expire 1 hour after it was initially set.
    lmt = tollbooth.NewLimiter(1, &limiter.ExpirableOptions{DefaultExpirationTTL: time.Hour})
    // Configure list of places to look for IP address.
    // By default it's: "RemoteAddr", "X-Forwarded-For", "X-Real-IP"
    // If your application is behind a proxy, set "X-Forwarded-For" first.
    lmt.SetIPLookups([]string{"RemoteAddr", "X-Forwarded-For", "X-Real-IP"})
    // Limit only GET and POST requests.
    lmt.SetMethods([]string{"GET", "POST"})
    // Limit based on basic auth usernames.
    // You add them on-load, or later as you handle requests.
    lmt.SetBasicAuthUsers([]string{"bob", "jane", "didip", "vip"})
    // You can remove them later as well.
    // Limit request headers containing certain values.
    // You add them on-load, or later as you handle requests.
    lmt.SetHeader("X-Access-Token", []string{"abc123", "xyz098"})
    // You can remove all entries at once.
    // Or remove specific ones.
    lmt.RemoveHeaderEntries("X-Access-Token", []string{"limitless-token"})
    // By the way, the setters are chainable. Example:
    lmt.SetIPLookups([]string{"RemoteAddr", "X-Forwarded-For", "X-Real-IP"}).
        SetMethods([]string{"GET", "POST"}).
  2. Compose your own middleware by using LimitByKeys().

  3. Header entries and basic auth users can expire over time (to conserve memory).

    import "time"
    lmt := tollbooth.NewLimiter(1, nil)
    // Set a custom expiration TTL for token bucket.
    // Set a custom expiration TTL for basic auth users.
    // Set a custom expiration TTL for header entries.
  4. Upon rejection, the following HTTP response headers are available to users:

* `X-Rate-Limit-Limit` The maximum request limit.

* `X-Rate-Limit-Duration` The rate-limiter duration.

* `X-Rate-Limit-Request-Forwarded-For` The rejected request `X-Forwarded-For`.

* `X-Rate-Limit-Request-Remote-Addr` The rejected request `RemoteAddr`.

Upon both success and rejection RateLimit headers are sent:

  • RateLimit-Limit The maximum request limit within the time window (1s).

  • RateLimit-Reset The rate-limiter time window duration in seconds (always 1s).

  • RateLimit-Remaining The remaining tokens.

  1. Customize your own message or function when limit is reached.

    lmt := tollbooth.NewLimiter(1, nil)
    // Set a custom message.
    lmt.SetMessage("You have reached maximum request limit.")
    // Set a custom content-type.
    lmt.SetMessageContentType("text/plain; charset=utf-8")
    // Set a custom function for rejection.
    lmt.SetOnLimitReached(func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) { fmt.Println("A request was rejected") })
  2. Tollbooth does not require external storage since it uses an algorithm called Token Bucket (Go library: golang.org/x/time/rate).

Other Web Frameworks

Sometimes, other frameworks require a little bit of shim to use Tollbooth. These shims below are contributed by the community, so I make no promises on how well they work. The one I am familiar with are: Chi, Gin, and Negroni.

My other Go libraries

  • ErrStack: A small library to combine errors and also display filename and line number.

  • Stopwatch: A small library to measure latency of things. Useful if you want to report latency data to Graphite.

  • LaborUnion: A dynamic worker pool library.

  • Gomet: Simple HTTP client & server long poll library for Go. Useful for receiving live updates without needing Websocket.


Before sending a PR with code changes, please make sure altered code is covered with tests which are passing, and that golangci-lint shows no errors.

To check the linter output, install it and then run golangci-lint run in the root directory of the repository.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Tollbooth README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.