Stubbing degenerate network conditions in Go with `DialFunc` and `net.Conn`

While fixing a bug in River’s pgx driver’s listener the other day, I got to a point where I was trying to write a regression test, but found it difficult because getting the Close function on a pgxpool connection to return an error is practically impossible through normal usage. I thought I’d be able to do it with a prematurely cancelled context, but it didn’t do the trick.

Reading pgx’s source, errors on Close are generally avoided in favor of quietly cleaning up disposed of resources, and more or less the only time an error will ever be returned is if there’s a problem deep at the network level in the underlying net.Conn.

Even there, I was having difficulty because even after reading Go source, it wasn’t readily apparent how I could prompt net.Conn’s Close to return an error, even if I could inject my own through three layers worth of pgx abstractions.

But I did find a way that’s reasonably clean. Like many other well-behaved Go packages involving networking, pgxpool provides a configurable DialFunc that’s implemented by a function that returns (net.Conn, error).

type DialFunc func(
    ctx context.Context,
    network, addr string,
) (net.Conn, error)

net.Conn is an interface, so we can combine DialFunc with a lightweight stub that embeds a real net.Conn (so functions on the interface that we don’t need to stub are inherited), but lets individual functions be overridden as needed:

type connStub struct {

    closeFunc func() error

func newConnStub(conn net.Conn) *connStub {
    return &connStub{
        Conn: conn,

        closeFunc: conn.Close,

func (c *connStub) Close() error {
    return c.closeFunc()

Wrap a connection from net.Dailer with a stub, and then we’re well positioned to easily have Close return an error of choice:

var config *pgxpool.Config = testPoolConfig()
config.ConnConfig.DialFunc = func(ctx context.Context, network, addr string) (net.Conn, error) {
    // Dialer settings come from pgx's default internal one (not exported).
    conn, err := (&net.Dialer{KeepAlive: 5 * time.Minute}).Dial(network, addr)
    if err != nil {
        return nil, err

    connStub = newConnStub(conn)
    return connStub, nil

listener := &Listener{dbPool: testPool(ctx, t, config)}

expectedErr := errors.New("conn close error")
connStub.closeFunc = func() error {
    return expectedErr

require.ErrorIs(t, listener.Close(ctx), expectedErr)

Did I make a mistake? Please consider sending a pull request.