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OpenTracing & OpenCensus

OpenTracing and OpenCensus are two popular vendor-neutral open standards for adding distributed tracing instrumentation to your systems. These projects are in the process of merging into the OpenTelemetry standard, which will supersede both projects. Honeycomb can work with data from both OpenTracing and OpenCensus, and we plan to be fully compatible with OpenTelemetry in the future.

Note: For most teams, Honeycomb’s Beelines are the fastest, most direct route to rich instrumentation — but we know for teams with existing instrumentation, consistency across your codebases may be more important than reducing instrumentation work. If you already use OpenCensus or OpenTracing in your applications, you may want to use these standards to send your data to Honeycomb too.


Honeycomb provides the Honeycomb OpenCensus Go Exporter to send OpenCensus traces to Honeycomb from go applications. The Exporter also works with OpenCensus Service. See our Sending Trace Data docs for more information on how to send us data using the Exporter.

If you have a Python or Elixir application instrumented with OpenCensus, check out our community-created Python Exporter or Elixir Exporter.


Honeycomb can work with OpenTracing data in the Zipkin v1 wire format, one of the common ways to send OpenTracing data to a tracing backend. To send this data to Honeycomb, you’ll need to run a simple proxy that will forward this data from your Zipkin-instrumented app to the Honeycomb backend. See our Sending Trace Data docs for more information on how to run the proxy and send us OpenTracing data.


OpenTelemetry is a new project that will be the successor to OpenCensus and OpenTracing. If you are interested in OpenTelemetry compatibility, instrumenting with OpenCensus and using our OpenCensus Exporter or OpenCensus Service to send data to Honeycomb is likely to provide you with the most straightforward migration path in the future, since the project plans to provide compatibility bridges to migrate to the new standard.