Skipper Save

An HTTP router and reverse proxy for service composition, including use cases like Kubernetes Ingress

Project README

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Skipper is an HTTP router and reverse proxy for service composition. It's designed to handle >300k HTTP route definitions with detailed lookup conditions, and flexible augmentation of the request flow with filters. It can be used out of the box or extended with custom lookup, filter logic and configuration sources.

Main features:

An overview of deployments and data-clients shows some use cases to run skipper.


  • identifies routes based on the requests' properties, such as path, method, host and headers
  • allows modification of the requests and responses with filters that are independently configured for each route
  • simultaneously streams incoming requests and backend responses
  • optionally acts as a final endpoint (shunt), e.g. as a static file server or a mock backend for diagnostics
  • updates routing rules without downtime, while supporting multiple types of data sources — including etcd, Kubernetes Ingress, Innkeeper (deprecated), static files, route string and custom configuration sources
  • can serve as a Kubernetes Ingress controller without reloads. You can use it in combination with a controller that will route public traffic to your skipper fleet; see AWS example
  • shipped with eskip: a descriptive configuration language designed for routing rules

Skipper provides a default executable command with a few built-in filters. However, its primary use case is to be extended with custom filters, predicates or data sources. Go here for additional documentation.

A few examples for extending Skipper:

Getting Started


In order to build and run Skipper, only the latest version of Go needs to be installed. Skipper can use Innkeeper or Etcd as data sources for routes, or for the simplest cases, a local configuration file. See more details in the documentation:


From Binary

Download binary tgz from

Example, assumes that you have $GOBIN set to a directory that exists and is in your $PATH:

% curl -LO
% tar xzf skipper-v0.14.8-linux-amd64.tar.gz
% mv skipper-v0.14.8-linux-amd64/* $GOBIN/
% skipper -version
Skipper version v0.14.8 (commit: 95057948, runtime: go1.19.1)
From Source
% git clone
% make
% ./bin/skipper -version
Skipper version v0.14.8 (commit: 95057948, runtime: go1.19.3)


Create a file with a route:

echo 'hello: Path("/hello") -> ""' > example.eskip

Optionally, verify the file's syntax:

eskip check example.eskip

If no errors are detected nothing is logged, else a descriptive error is logged.

Start Skipper and make an HTTP request:

skipper -routes-file example.eskip &
curl localhost:9090/hello

To run the latest Docker container:

docker run

To run eskip you first mount the .eskip file, into the container, and run the command

docker run \
  -v $(PWD)/doc-docker-intro.eskip:/doc-docker-intro.eskip \ eskip print doc-docker-intro.eskip

To run skipper you first mount the .eskip file, into the container, expose the ports and run the command

docker run -it \
    -v $(PWD)/doc-docker-intro.eskip:/doc-docker-intro.eskip \
    -p 9090:9090 \
    -p 9911:9911 \ skipper -routes-file doc-docker-intro.eskip

Skipper will then be available on http://localhost:9090

Authentication Proxy

Skipper can be used as an authentication proxy, to check incoming requests with Basic auth or an OAuth2 provider including audit logging. See the documentation at:

Working with the code

Getting the code with the test dependencies (-t switch):

git clone
cd skipper

Build and test all packages:

make deps
make install
make shortcheck

On Mac the tests may fail because of low max open file limit. Please make sure you have correct limits setup by following these instructions.

Working from IntelliJ / GoLand

To run or debug skipper from IntelliJ IDEA or GoLand, you need to create this configuration:

Parameter Value
Template Go Build
Run kind Directory
Directory skipper source dir + /cmd/skipper
Working directory skipper source dir (usually the default)

Kubernetes Ingress

Skipper can be used to run as an Kubernetes Ingress controller. Details with examples of Skipper's capabilities and an overview you will can be found in our ingress-controller deployment docs.

For AWS integration, we provide an ingress controller, that manage ALBs in front of your skipper deployment. A production example, can be found in our Kubernetes configuration


Skipper's Documentation and Godoc developer documentation, includes information about deployment use cases and detailed information on these topics:

1 Minute Skipper introduction

The following example shows a skipper routes file in eskip format, that has 3 named routes: baidu, google and yandex.

% cat doc-1min-intro.eskip
        -> setRequestHeader("Host", "")
        -> setPath("/s")
        -> setQuery("wd", "godoc skipper")
        -> "";
        -> setPath("/search")
        -> setQuery("q", "godoc skipper")
        -> "";
        * && Cookie("yandex", "true")
        -> setPath("/search/")
        -> setQuery("text", "godoc skipper")
        -> tee("")
        -> "";

Matching the route:

  • baidu is using Path() matching to differentiate the HTTP requests to select the route.
  • google is the default matching with wildcard '*'
  • yandex is the default matching with wildcard '*' if you have a cookie "yandex=true"

Request Filters:

  • If baidu is selected, skipper sets the Host header, changes the path and sets a query string to the http request to the backend "".
  • If google is selected, skipper changes the path and sets a query string to the http request to the backend "".
  • If yandex is selected, skipper changes the path and sets a query string to the http request to the backend "". The modified request will be copied to ""

Run skipper with the routes file doc-1min-intro.eskip shown above

% skipper -routes-file doc-1min-intro.eskip

To test each route you can use curl:

% curl -v localhost:9090/baidu
% curl -v localhost:9090/
% curl -v --cookie "yandex=true" localhost:9090/

To see the request that is made by the tee() filter you can use nc:

[terminal1]% nc -l 12345
[terminal2]% curl -v --cookie "yandex=true" localhost:9090/

3 Minutes Skipper in Kubernetes introduction

This introduction was moved to ingress controller documentation.

For More details, please check out our Kubernetes ingress controller docs, our ingress usage and how to handle common backend problems in Kubernetes.

You should have a base understanding of Kubernetes and Ingress.

Packaging support


Skipper uses Go modules, so you might need to add GO111MODULE=on in your custom build process.

In case you want to implement and link your own modules into your skipper, there is organization to enable you to do so. In order to explain you the build process with custom Go modules there is, that was used to build skipper's opentracing package. We moved the opentracing plugin source into the tracing package.


User or developer questions can be asked in our public Google Group

We also have a slack channel #skipper in Get an invite. If for some reason this link doesn't work, you can find more information about the gophers communities here.


We do our proposals open in Skipper's Google drive. If you want to make a proposal feel free to create an issue and if it is a bigger change we will invite you to a document, such that we can work together.


Zalando uses this project as shop frontend http router with 350000 routes, as Kubernetes ingress controller and runs several custom skipper instances that use skipper as library.

Sergio Ballesteros from spotahome

We also ran tests with several ingress controllers and skipper gave us the more reliable results. Currently we are running skipper since almost 2 years with like 20K Ingress rules. The fact that skipper is written in go let us understand the code, add features and fix bugs since all of our infra stack is golang.

In the media

Blog posts:

Conference/Meetups talks

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Skipper" Project. README Source: zalando/skipper

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