Basic Error Handling with ‘panic’ and ‘recover’ in Golang

Brama Mahendra
2 min readSep 18

Error handling is an essential aspect of writing robust programs. Go (Golang) provides built-in mechanisms for error handling, among which ‘panic’ and ‘recover’ are the most unique. This article explores the basic principles of using ‘panic’ and ‘recover’ for error handling in Golang.

1. The ‘panic’ Function

In Go, the ‘panic’ function is used to immediately stop the execution of a function and propagate an error up the call stack.

1.1 Basic Usage

Here’s how to use ‘panic’:

func divide(a, b int) int {
if b == 0 {
panic("Division by zero")
return a / b

In this example, the function panics if someone tries to divide a number by zero.

1.2 Propagation

When ‘panic’ is called, the execution of the current function stops, and the function that called it also stops, propagating the panic up the call stack. This continues until it reaches ‘main()’, after which the program terminates.

2. The ‘recover’ Function

The ‘recover’ function is used to regain control over a panicking goroutine. ‘recover’ can only be used inside a deferred function and helps you to stop the panic from propagating.

2.1 Basic Usage

Here’s a basic example:

func safeDivision(a, b int) (result int, err error) {
defer func() {
if r := recover(); r != nil {
err = fmt.Errorf("Caught a panic: %v", r)

if b == 0 {
panic("Division by zero")

result = a / b

In this example, the deferred function captures the panic, and the ‘recover’ function stops the panic from propagating further.

2.2 Proper Usage

Although ‘panic’ and ‘recover’ are available, they are often discouraged for regular error handling in favor of explicit error return values. They are mostly used for exceptional cases that should halt normal execution.

3. Combining ‘panic’ and ‘recover’

Brama Mahendra

Application Developer, Software Developer, Web Developer. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Informatics and a Master's degree in Business Information Systems.