A Guide to Rust vs. Golang: Performance and Uses

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Rust and Go are fast, compelling, and modern alternatives to programming languages like C/C++. Both provide built-in concurrency models to take advantage of multiple CPUs. But is there a clear advantage to either Rust or Go that makes one a better programming language? More importantly, which one is right for your use case?

This tutorial helps to answer those questions. Continue reading to learn the core characteristics of each language along with their strengths and weaknesses. Discover what contexts each excels in and where to make the most of them.

What Is Golang (Go)?

Go, also known as Golang, is an open source, statically typed, compiled programming language created by Google developers. Go aims to fill the role of the C programming language, but with an emphasis on safety, simplicity, readability, performance, and efficiency.

Go keeps much of the performance of C, but compliments it with features like memory safety and garbage collection. This makes Go programs easier to work on and secure.

In many ways, Go is also similar to C syntactically. However, Go takes many cues from modern programming languages with an emphasis on readability. The result is a syntax that rings familiar to C veterans but is more approachable and easier to maintain.

Additionally, Go features built-in support for concurrency. Its “Goroutines” provide a simple and accessible method for creating and managing subroutines. This makes Go exceptional when it comes to applications with parallel processing and asynchronous processes.

What Is Rust?

Rust is an open source, multi-paradigm programming language. Like Go, Rust resembles C/C++, but Rust was specifically designed with performance and reliability at the forefront.

Rust combines low-level systems programming features, like memory management, with high-level features like functional-programming principles. Rust also boasts some of the best performance of any programming language. Meanwhile, it also guarantees memory safety, in contrast to languages like C/C++.

One of Rust’s highlights is its ability to maintain memory safety without relying on the often burdensome garbage collection. Instead, Rust uses a borrow checker, which validates references at compile time. Not only does this keep Rust memory safe, it does so without the substantial performance impacts usually incurred by garbage collection.

Like Go, Rust also comes with built-in support for concurrency. While its concurrency model is more complicated, it is able to maintain Rust’s high performance while still guaranteeing safety in concurrent operations.

Golang vs. Rust: What’s the Difference?

How do Rust and Go stack up when it comes to features and usage? The following sections break down that question, looking comparatively at both programming languages over several key areas.


The choice between Rust and Go often comes down to the application you’re working on and the particular problems you want to solve.

Go excels at compiling code, as the Performance section below explains. This makes Go a good choice when you expect to have a large codebase and a large team working on it. In these cases, Go’s quick compilation time saves time and vastly improves developer experience over languages that compile more slowly.

Go also features top-notch, built-in support for HTTP. This and Go’s general orientation toward web development make it a strong choice for web applications. In fact, you might consider using Go where you might normally find something like Node.js. Because Go is a compiled language, it has a higher level of performance than many other web-oriented languages.

Rust prioritizes secure performance over everything else, which is elaborated in the Performance section below. This makes Rust a compelling choice when it comes to applications with complex algorithms and large amounts of data to process. In tests, Rust tends to hold its remarkable performance through complex operations and high levels of abstraction. Few other languages compare when speed is the premium.

Rust also performs close to “the metal”, or the machine components. Its low-level efficiencies and fine-grained control make it an outstanding option for systems programming. It may even outshine C/C++ in this field due to its modern sensibilities and ability to guarantee memory safety without performance compromises.

Ease of Use

This category is where the two languages most strongly differ. This is largely because each works from a different set of principles when it comes to what the language wants to accomplish.

Go sets developer experience at the forefront. In fact, its designers intended to make a streamlined alternative to the complexity that had grown into C over the years. To that end, Go has a simplified and approachable syntax. The language is easier to read and more intuitive, making it more straightforward to maintain and collaborate on.

Go also comes with a limited set of default features. The intention is to only include what is necessary, while giving developers a robust system for importing external packages as needed.

By contrast, Rust prioritizes speed and control over usability. In other words, it is performance-oriented rather than developer-oriented. While Rust has blazing-fast run-time speeds and first-in-class safety, it comes with a steep learning curve. It also demands developers engage with and be mindful of memory usage and security. Rust typically requires more code per task than a language like Go.


Both Go and Rust are fast. They fit into the category of efficient compiled languages like C/C++, and have performance levels that come with that category of languages.

However, when it comes to run-time speed, Rust wins. It prioritizes low-level efficiencies and speeds near a machine’s limits. What’s more, it accomplishes this while maintaining memory safety, making it an excellent alternative when you want C/C++ speeds but stronger memory guarantees. When run-time performance is the priority, Rust provides some of the best. However, as mentioned above, this achievement comes at a cost to ease of use.

Go’s performance shines in a different arena. Go’s run-time speeds do not reach the levels of Rust. However, Go has some of the fastest compile times of any programming language. This makes Go an especially compelling choice for large codebases and distributed teams, where shaving off compilation time is more valuable. Go allows developers to have code running in a fraction of the time needed for most other compiled programming languages.

Both languages also feature highly developed concurrency models, making them effective for scaling applications. However, Go prioritizes simplicity and usability in its concurrency model, while Rust prioritizes memory safety (a challenging task for concurrency operations).

Rust vs. Go: When to Use Each

Both Rust and Go have strong built-in support for concurrency. However, each has its own advantages and particular use cases it is best suited towards. Overall, look to developer-centered Go when you need something to improve developer experience and efficiency. Meanwhile, turn to machine-centered Rust when you need something to sharpen performance and reliability.

The next two sections provide detailed perspectives on when and where each of these languages works best.

When Go Is Best

Go works exceptionally well for large codebases and wherever want to put readability at the forefront. This is often the case with large, complex applications like those in enterprise contexts. Go’s simplicity makes it a great tool for distributed teams, where you expect numerous developers to work on the codebase.

Go also stands out for its simple approach to concurrency. With Go, concurrency is more straightforward and manageable. This makes it an excellent choice for distributed applications.

When Rust Is Best

Rust runs closer to the low-level machine components. For that reason, Rust is the go-to choice when it comes to systems programming and applications where speed is one of the foremost priorities. Rust shares many sensibilities with other modern programming languages. It includes high-level features like those leveraged for functional programming, while fitting low-level roles previously dominated by C/C++.

Rust also features memory safety along with its speed. This makes it an especially good choice for applications where you might otherwise use C/C++ but are looking to have more safety and security.


You should now have what you need to make a decision between Go and Rust. Both are outstanding languages that stand out in their own ways. Your choice should come down to which one best fits your particular needs. As this tutorial has shown, choose Go for a streamlined and simplified developer-centered experience. Meanwhile, choose Rust for intense speed and memory safety.

Ready to move forward and learn more? Take a look at our guides on these languages:

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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