In some early morning github trending browsing I stumbled across a web framework called Iris, which looks to be really fast, faster in fact that the stdlib, which seemed strange to me. After some browsing of the source code I noticed that Iris is actually using the fasthttp library instead of the net/http standard library for serving http.

It is always a bold claim to say you have created a package that is better, faster and stronger that the implementation of in the standard library. I would know from vestigo url routing.

Looking into fasthttp

After reviewing how handlers are served from fasthttp, I completely have fallen for this library. The creator has done it right. I have mentioned to colleagues how I felt the implementation of the stdlib for net/http has been pretty much completely due to how they run handlers. Looking at the stdlib implementation below it is pretty clear that this implementation uses a separate goroutine PER http request.

func (srv *Server) Serve(l net.Listener) error {
	defer l.Close()
	if fn := testHookServerServe; fn != nil {
		fn(srv, l)
	var tempDelay time.Duration // how long to sleep on accept failure
	if err := srv.setupHTTP2(); err != nil {
		return err
	for {
		rw, e := l.Accept()
		if e != nil {
			if ne, ok := e.(net.Error); ok && ne.Temporary() {
				if tempDelay == 0 {
					tempDelay = 5 * time.Millisecond
				} else {
					tempDelay *= 2
				if max := 1 * time.Second; tempDelay > max {
					tempDelay = max
				srv.logf("http: Accept error: %v; retrying in %v", e, tempDelay)
			return e
		tempDelay = 0
		c := srv.newConn(rw)
		c.setState(c.rwc, StateNew) // before Serve can return
		go c.serve()

Conversely in fasthttp’s implementation there is a workerpool model as the implementation, seen below:

func (s *Server) Serve(ln net.Listener) error {
	var lastOverflowErrorTime time.Time
	var lastPerIPErrorTime time.Time
	var c net.Conn
	var err error

	maxWorkersCount := s.getConcurrency()
	s.concurrencyCh = make(chan struct{}, maxWorkersCount)
	wp := &workerPool{
		WorkerFunc:      s.serveConn,
		MaxWorkersCount: maxWorkersCount,
		LogAllErrors:    s.LogAllErrors,
		Logger:          s.logger(),

	for {
		if c, err = acceptConn(s, ln, &lastPerIPErrorTime); err != nil {
			if err == io.EOF {
				return nil
			return err
		if !wp.Serve(c) {
			s.writeFastError(c, StatusServiceUnavailable,
				"The connection cannot be served because Server.Concurrency limit exceeded")
			if time.Since(lastOverflowErrorTime) > time.Minute {
				s.logger().Printf("The incoming connection cannot be served, because %d concurrent connections are served. "+
					"Try increasing Server.Concurrency", maxWorkersCount)
				lastOverflowErrorTime = time.Now()

			// The current server reached concurrency limit,
			// so give other concurrently running servers a chance
			// accepting incoming connections on the same address.
			// There is a hope other servers didn't reach their
			// concurrency limits yet :)
			time.Sleep(100 * time.Millisecond)
		c = nil

So what?

Well, this is a much better implementation for several reasons:

  1. The worker pool model is a zero allocation model, as the workers are already initialized and are ready to serve, whereas in the stdlib implementation the go c.serve() has to allocate memory for the goroutine.
  2. The worker pool model is easier to tune, as you can increase/decrease the buffer size of the number of work units you are able to accept, versus the fire and and forget model in the stdlib
  3. The worker pool model allows for handlers to be more connected with the server through channel communications, if the server needs to shutdown for example, it would be able to more easily communicate with the workers than in the stdlib implementation
  4. The handler function definition signature is better, as it takes in only a context which includes both the request and writer needed by the handler. this is HUGELY better than the standard library, as all you get from the stdlib is a request and response writer… The work in go1.7 to include context within the request is pretty much a hack to give people what they really want (context) without breaking anyone.

Overall it is just better to write a server with a worker pool model for serving requests, as opposed to just spawning a “thread” per request, with no way of throttling out of the box.

I really hope that the golang net/http maintainers keep this model in mind for golang version 2.