Generating pprof profiling data


pprof is a visualization tool for profiling data and all the backend services in a Sourcegraph instance have the ability to generate pprof profiling data.

Exposing the debug port to generate profiling data

Follow the instructions below to generate profiling data. We will use the Sourcegraph frontend and a memory profile as an example (the instructions are easily adapted to any of the Sourcegraph backends and any profiling kind).


If you’re using the Kubernetes cluster deployment,
you need to port-forward 6060 from the frontend pod (if you have more than one, choose one):

kubectl get pods
kubectl port-forward sourcegraph-frontend-xxxx 6060:6060

Single-container server deployments

The docker run command for the single-container server needs an additional publish flag to expose the debug port:

docker run --publish 7080:7080 --publish --publish --rm --volume ~/.sourcegraph/config:/etc/sourcegraph --volume ~/.sourcegraph/data:/var/opt/sourcegraph sourcegraph/server:3.21.1

If Sourcegraph is deployed to a remote server, then access via an SSH tunnel using a tool such as sshuttle is required to establish a secure connection. To access the remote server using sshuttle from your local machine:

sshuttle -r [email protected] 0/0

Generating profiling data

Once the port is reachable, you can trigger a profile dump by sending an HTTP request: (in the browser or with curl, wget or similar):

curl -sK -v http://localhost:6060/debug/pprof/heap > heap.out

Once the heap.out file has been generated, share it with Sourcegraph support or your account manager for analysis.

Downloading the binary to use with go tool pprof

If you want to use the downloaded profile with go tool pprof you need the binary that produced the profile data.

You can use kubectl to download it:

kubectl cp sourcegraph-frontend-xxxx:/usr/local/bin/frontend frontend-bin

Then you can use go tool pprof:

go tool pprof frontend-bin heap.out

Debug ports

This is a table of Sourcegraph backend debug ports in the two deployment contexts:

kubernetes docker
frontend 6060 6063
gitserver 6060 6068
searcher 6060 6069
symbols 6060 6071
repo-updater 6060 6074
query-runner 6060 6067
zoekt-indexserver 6060 6072
zoekt-webserver 6060 3070

Profiling kinds

  • allocs: A sampling of all past memory allocations
  • block: Stack traces that led to blocking on synchronization primitives
  • cmdline: The command line invocation of the current program
  • goroutine: Stack traces of all current goroutines
  • heap: A sampling of memory allocations of live objects. You can specify the gc GET parameter to run GC before taking the heap sample.
  • mutex: Stack traces of holders of contended mutexes
  • profile: CPU profile. You can specify the duration in the seconds GET parameter. After you get the profile file, use the go tool pprof command to investigate the profile.
  • threadcreate: Stack traces that led to the creation of new OS threads trace: A trace of execution of the current program. You can specify the duration in the seconds GET parameter. After you get the trace file, use the go tool trace command to investigate the trace.

Adapting the URL will generate different profile data, for example

curl -sK -v http://localhost:6060/debug/pprof/profile > profile.out

will generate a CPU profile.