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Datagram Format and Shell Usage

This section specifies the raw datagram format for each data type that DogStatsD accepts. This isn’t required reading if you’re using any of the DogStatsD client libraries; however, if you want to write your own library, or use the shell to send metrics or events, then read on.

Datagram Format



  • metric.name — a string with no colons, bars, or @ characters. See the metric naming policy.
  • value — an integer or float.
  • typec for counter, g for gauge, ms for timer, h for histogram, s for set.
  • sample rate (optional) — a float between 0 and 1, inclusive. Only works with counter, histogram, and timer metrics. Default is 1 (i.e. sample 100% of the time).
  • tags (optional) — a comma separated list of tags. Use colons for key/value tags, i.e. env:prod. The key device is reserved; Datadog drops a user-added tag like device:foobar.

Here are some example datagrams:

# Increment the page.views counter

# Record the fuel tank is half-empty

# Sample the song length histogram half of the time

# Track a unique visitor to the site

# Increment the active users counter, tag by country of origin

# Track active China users and use a sample rate



  • _e - The datagram must begin with _e
  • title — Event title.
  • text — Event text. Insert line breaks with an escaped slash (\\n)
  • |d:timestamp (optional) — Add a timestamp to the event. Default is the current Unix epoch timestamp.
  • |h:hostname (optional) - Add a hostname to the event. No default.
  • |k:aggregation_key (optional) — Add an aggregation key to group the event with others that have the same key. No default.
  • |p:priority (optional) — Set to ‘normal’ or ‘low’. Default ‘normal’.
  • |s:source_type_name (optional) - Add a source type to the event. No default.
  • |t:alert_type (optional) — Set to ‘error’, ‘warning’, ‘info’ or ‘success’. Default ‘info’.
  • |#tag1:value1,tag2,tag3:value3... (optional) — The colon in tags is part of the tag list string and has no parsing purpose like for the other parameters. No default.

Here are some example datagrams:

# Send an exception
_e{21,36}:An exception occurred|Cannot parse CSV file from|t:warning|#err_type:bad_file

# Send an event with a newline in the text
_e{21,42}:An exception occurred|Cannot parse JSON request:\\n{"foo: "bar"}|p:low|#err_type:bad_request

Service Checks


  • _sc — the datagram must begin with _sc
  • name — Service check name.
  • status — Integer corresponding to the check status (OK = 0, WARNING = 1, CRITICAL = 2, UNKNOWN = 3).
  • d:timestamp (optional) — Add a timestamp to the check. Default is the current Unix epoch timestamp.
  • h:hostname (optional) — Add a hostname to the event. No default.
  • #tag1:value1,tag2,tag3:value3,... (optional) — The colon in tags is part of the tag list string and has no parsing purpose like for the other parameters. No default.
  • m:service_check_message (optional) — Add a message describing the current state of the service check. This field MUST be positioned last among the metadata fields. No default.

Here’s an example datagram:

# Send a CRITICAL status for a remote connection
_sc|Redis connection|2|#redis_instance:|m:Redis connection timed out after 10s

Send metrics and events using DogStatsD and the shell

For Linux and other Unix-like OS, we use Bash. For Windows we need Powershell and powershell-statsd, a simple Powershell function that takes care of the network bits for us.

The idea behind DogStatsD is simple: create a message that contains information about your metric/event, and send it to a collector over UDP on port 8125. Read more about the message format.

Sending metrics

The format for sending metrics is metric.name:value|type|@sample_rate|#tag1:value,tag2, so let’s go ahead and send datapoints for a gauge metric called custom_metric with the shell tag. We use a locally installed Agent as a collector, so the destination IP address is

On Linux:

vagrant@vagrant-ubuntu-14-04:~$ echo -n "custom_metric:60|g|#shell" >/dev/udp/localhost/8125


vagrant@vagrant-ubuntu-14-04:~$ echo -n "custom_metric:60|g|#shell" | nc -4u -w0 8125

On Windows:

PS C:\vagrant> .\send-statsd.ps1 "custom_metric:123|g|#shell"
PS C:\vagrant>

On any platform with Python (on Windows, the Agent’s embedded Python interpreter can be used, which is located at C:\Program Files\Datadog\Datadog Agent\embedded\python.exe):

import socket
sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM) # UDP
sock.sendto("custom_metric:60|g|#shell", ("localhost", 8125))

Sending events

The format for sending events is:


Here we need to calculate the size of the event’s title and body.

On Linux:

vagrant@vagrant-ubuntu-14-04:~$ title="Event from the shell"
vagrant@vagrant-ubuntu-14-04:~$ text="This was sent from Bash!"
vagrant@vagrant-ubuntu-14-04:~$ echo "_e{${#title},${#text}}:$title|$text|#shell,bash"  >/dev/udp/localhost/8125

On Windows:

PS C:\vagrant> $title = "Event from the shell"
PS C:\vagrant> $text = "This was sent from Powershell!"
PS C:\vagrant> .\send-statsd.ps1 "_e{$($title.length),$($text.Length)}:$title|$text|#shell,powershell"

Further reading