Spring Boot Health Endpoint: Monitoring Application Health and Dependencies

Monitoring the health of your Spring Boot applications is crucial for maintaining high availability, identifying issues, and ensuring optimal performance. One of the key features provided by Spring Boot Actuator is the health endpoint, which enables developers and operations teams to monitor the health of applications and their dependencies. In this article, we’ll explore the Spring Boot health endpoint, discuss its capabilities, and demonstrate how to configure and extend it to meet your application monitoring needs.

Understanding the Spring Boot Health Endpoint

The health endpoint in Spring Boot Actuator is available at the /actuator/health URL by default and provides a comprehensive view of your application’s health status. It combines the health statuses of various components and dependencies, such as data sources, message queues, and third-party services, to give you a unified view of your application’s overall health. The health endpoint offers an easy way to determine if your application is running optimally or if there are issues that need to be addressed.

Default Health Indicators

Spring Boot Actuator includes several built-in health indicators that monitor the health of common application components and dependencies. Some of the default health indicators are:

  • DataSourceHealthIndicator: Checks the health of your data sources by running a simple query against the database.
  • DiskSpaceHealthIndicator: Monitors the available disk space on your application server.
  • JmsHealthIndicator: Verifies the connectivity to your JMS broker.
  • RabbitHealthIndicator: Validates the connection to your RabbitMQ server.
  • RedisHealthIndicator: Ensures that your Redis data store is accessible and responsive.

These default health indicators are automatically registered and enabled when their corresponding dependencies are present in your application.

Configuring the Health Endpoint

You can configure the health endpoint in your Spring Boot application by modifying your application.properties or application.yml configuration file. Some common configuration options include:

  • Enabling and disabling health indicators: You can enable or disable specific health indicators by setting their management.health.<indicator-name>.enabled property to true or false.
  • Changing the health endpoint’s status mappings: You can customize the status codes returned by the health endpoint by modifying the management.health.status.http-mapping property. This allows you to map specific health statuses to custom HTTP status codes.
  • Configuring health endpoint security: By default, the health endpoint is publicly accessible. If your application uses Spring Security, you can configure access rules for the health endpoint by adding security configurations to your security configuration class. This allows you to control which users or roles can access the health endpoint.

Creating Custom Health Indicators

In addition to the default health indicators, you can create custom health indicators to monitor the health of your application-specific components and dependencies. To create a custom health indicator, you need to implement the HealthIndicator interface and override its health() method. The health() method should return a Health object with the appropriate status and additional details as needed. Once your custom health indicator is implemented, you need to register it as a Spring bean so that it’s automatically picked up by the health endpoint.

Here’s an example of a custom health indicator that checks the availability of an external API:

In this example, the ExternalApiHealthIndicator uses a RestTemplate to make an HTTP request to an external API’s status endpoint. If the API returns an “OK” response, the custom health indicator reports the status as “up” and includes additional details. If the API is unavailable or an exception occurs, the health indicator reports the status as “down” and includes the relevant details or exception.

Aggregating Health Information from Microservices

In a microservices architecture, multiple independent services work together to provide the functionality of a larger application. Monitoring the health of each microservice becomes crucial for maintaining the overall health of the entire system. Aggregating health information from all microservices in a central location can simplify monitoring and provide a comprehensive view of your system’s health. In this article, we will discuss how to aggregate health information from microservices in Spring Boot.

1. Expose Health Endpoints in Each Microservice

First, ensure that each microservice in your system exposes a health endpoint using Spring Boot Actuator. This will allow you to monitor the health and status of each individual service. Configure the health endpoints to include relevant information about the service and its dependencies, such as database connections, message queues, or external APIs.

2. Create a Centralized Monitoring Service

Create a separate monitoring service that will be responsible for aggregating health information from all microservices. This service should periodically query the health endpoints of all microservices and store the collected information. You can use technologies such as Spring Cloud Discovery or a service registry, like Consul or Eureka, to automatically discover and maintain a list of available microservices.

3. Aggregate Health Information

In the centralized monitoring service, aggregate the health information from all microservices into a single view. This can be done by storing the health data in a time-series database, such as InfluxDB or Prometheus, and then querying and combining the data as needed. Alternatively, you can use an API gateway or a service mesh, like Istio, to collect and aggregate health data from all microservices.

4. Visualize and Monitor the Aggregated Health Data

Visualize the aggregated health data using a monitoring dashboard, such as Grafana or Kibana, to provide a comprehensive view of your system’s health. Set up alerts and notifications based on predefined health thresholds to notify you of potential issues or when the health of a microservice degrades. By continuously monitoring the aggregated health data, you can proactively address issues and maintain the overall health of your microservices architecture.

5. Implement Resilience Patterns

Microservices architectures can be more resilient to failures if they are designed with falt tolerance in mind. Implement resilience patterns, such as circuit breakers, retries, and fallbacks, to ensure that your system can continue to operate even when some microservices experience issues. These patterns can help minimize the impact of failures and improve the overall health of your microservices system.

Best Practices for Using the Health Endpoint

The health endpoint in Spring Boot Actuator is a valuable tool for monitoring the health and status of your application and its dependencies. To make the most of this powerful feature, follow these best practices:

1. Secure the Health Endpoint

While the health endpoint provides valuable insights into your application, exposing this information to unauthorized users can pose a security risk. Ensure that you secure the health endpoint by configuring access control and authentication. For example, you can use Spring Security to protect the endpoint and require authentication for accessing sensitive information.

2. Customize Health Endpoint Output

By default, the health endpoint provides a basic overview of the application’s health. However, you can customize the output to include additional details that are relevant to your specific use case. Configure the health endpoint to include more information or to aggregate health information from multiple sources, such as other microservices in your system. This can help you gain a more comprehensive view of your application’s health and performance.

3. Implement Custom Health Indicators

While Spring Boot Actuator includes built-in health indicators for many common components, you may need to monitor additional components or services that are specific to your application. Implement custom health indicators to monitor these components, and register them with the health endpoint. This allows you to track the health of your application’s unique components and dependencies, ensuring a complete picture of your system’s health.

4. Monitor Health Endpoint Regularly

Regularly monitoring the health endpoint can help you detect and address issues before they escalate into more significant problems. Use monitoring tools, such as Prometheus or Grafana, to collect and visualize health data from your application’s health endpoint. Set up alerts and notifications to inform you of any potential issues, allowing you to take action quickly and maintain your application’s performance and stability.

5. Use Health Endpoint for Graceful Shutdowns

When deploying updates or performing maintenance on your application, it’s essential to ensure a smooth and graceful shutdown. Use the health endpoint to monitor your application’s status during the shutdown process, ensuring that all dependencies are functioning correctly and that no critical tasks are running before terminating the application. This can help prevent data loss, corruption, or other issues that may arise during an abrupt shutdown.


The Spring Boot health endpoint is an essential tool for monitoring the health of your applications and their dependencies. By understanding how the health endpoint works and how to configure and extend it, you can ensure that your Spring Boot applications are running optimally and maintain a high level of reliability, performance, and overall stability. Implementing custom health indicators allows you to tailor health monitoring to your specific use case, providing valuable insights into the state of your application and the services it relies on. With the right setup and configuration, the health endpoint can be a powerful ally in maintaining the health and well-being of your applications and their ecosystems.

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