Tokens are placeholders included in a check definition that the agent replaces with entity information before executing the check. You can use tokens to fine-tune check attributes (like alert thresholds) on a per-entity level while re-using the check definition.

How do tokens work?

When a check is scheduled to be executed by an agent, it first goes through a token substitution step. The agent replaces any tokens with matching attributes from the entity definition, and then the check is executed. Invalid templates or unmatched tokens will return an error, which is logged and sent to the Sensu backend message transport. Checks with token matching errors will not be executed.

Token substitution is only supported for the command attribute of a check definition, and only entity attributes are available for substitution. Available attributes will always have string values, such as labels and annotations.

Managing entity labels

You can use token substitution with any defined entity attributes, including custom labels. See the entity reference for information on managing entity labels for proxy entities and agent entities.

Sensu token specification

Sensu Go uses the Go template package to implement token substitution. Sensu Go token substitution uses double curly braces around the token, and a dot before the attribute to be substituted, such as: {{ .system.hostname }}.

Token substitution syntax

Tokens are invoked by wrapping references to entity attributes and labels with double curly braces, such as {{ .name }} to substitute an entity’s name. Nested Sensu entity attributes can be accessed via dot notation (ex: system.arch).

  • {{ .name }} would be replaced with the entity name attribute
  • {{ .labels.url }} would be replaced with a custom label called url
  • {{ .labels.disk_warning }} would be replaced with a custom label called
  • {{ index .labels "disk_warning" }} would be replaced with a custom label called disk_warning
  • {{ index .labels "cpu.threshold" }} would be replaced with a custom label called cpu.threshold

NOTE: When an annotation or label name has a dot (e.g. cpu.threshold), the template index function syntax must be used to ensure correct processing because the dot notation is also used for object nesting.

Token substitution default values

In the event that an attribute is not provided by the entity, a token’s default value will be substituted. Token default values are separated by a pipe character and the word default (| default), and can be used to provide a “fallback value” for entities that are missing a specified token attribute.

  • {{.labels.url | default ""}} would be replaced with a custom label called url. If no such attribute called url is included in the entity definition, the default (or fallback) value of will be used to substitute the token.

Unmatched tokens

If a token is unmatched during check preparation, the agent check handler will return an error, and the check will not be executed. Unmatched token errors will look similar to the following:

error: unmatched token: template: :1:22: executing "" at <.system.hostname>: map has no entry for key "System"

Check config token errors will be logged by the agent, and sent to Sensu backend message transport as a check failure.

Token data type limitations

As part of the substitution process, Sensu converts all tokens to strings. This means that tokens cannot be used for bare integer values or to access individual list items.

For example, token substitution cannot be used for specifying a check interval because the interval attribute requires an integer value. Token substitution can be used for alerting thresholds because those values are included within the command string.


Token substitution for check thresholds

In this example check configuration, the check-disk-usage.go command accepts -w (warning) and -c (critical) arguments to indicate the thresholds (as percentages) for creating warning or critical events. If no token substitutions are provided by an entity configuration, Sensu will use default values to create a warning event at 80% disk capacity (i.e. {{ .labels.disk_warning | default 80 }}), and a critical event at 90% capacity (i.e. {{ .labels.disk_critical | default 90 }}).

type: CheckConfig
api_version: core/v1
  annotations: null
  labels: null
  name: check-disk-usage
  namespace: default
  check_hooks: null
  command: check-disk-usage.rb -w {{index .labels "disk_warning" | default 80}} -c {{.labels.disk_critical
    | default 90}}
  env_vars: null
  handlers: []
  high_flap_threshold: 0
  interval: 10
  low_flap_threshold: 0
  proxy_entity_name: ""
  publish: true
  runtime_assets: null
  stdin: false
  - staging
  timeout: 0
  ttl: 0
  "type": "CheckConfig",
  "api_version": "core/v1",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "check-disk-usage",
    "namespace": "default",
    "labels": null,
    "annotations": null
  "spec": {
    "command": "check-disk-usage.rb -w {{.labels.disk_warning | default 80}} -c {{.labels.disk_critical | default 90}}",
    "handlers": [],
    "high_flap_threshold": 0,
    "interval": 10,
    "low_flap_threshold": 0,
    "publish": true,
    "runtime_assets": null,
    "subscriptions": [
    "proxy_entity_name": "",
    "check_hooks": null,
    "stdin": false,
    "ttl": 0,
    "timeout": 0,
    "env_vars": null

The following example entity would provide the necessary attributes to override the .labels.disk_warning and labels.disk_critical tokens declared above.

type: Entity
api_version: core/v2
  annotations: null
    disk_critical: "90"
    disk_warning: "80"
  name: example-hostname
  namespace: default
  deregister: false
  deregistration: {}
  entity_class: agent
  last_seen: 1542667231
  - password
  - passwd
  - pass
  - api_key
  - api_token
  - access_key
  - secret_key
  - private_key
  - secret
  - entity:example-hostname
  - staging
    arch: amd64
    hostname: example-hostname
      - addresses:
        - ::1/128
        name: lo
      - addresses:
        - fe80::26a5:54ec:cf0d:9704/64
        mac: 08:00:27:11:ad:d2
        name: enp0s3
      - addresses:
        - fe80::a00:27ff:febc:be60/64
        mac: 08:00:27:bc:be:60
        name: enp0s8
    os: linux
    platform: centos
    platform_family: rhel
    platform_version: 7.4.1708
  user: agent
  "type": "Entity",
  "api_version": "core/v2",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "example-hostname",
    "namespace": "default",
    "labels": {
      "disk_warning": "80",
      "disk_critical": "90"
    "annotations": null
  "spec": {
    "entity_class": "agent",
    "system": {
      "hostname": "example-hostname",
      "os": "linux",
      "platform": "centos",
      "platform_family": "rhel",
      "platform_version": "7.4.1708",
      "network": {
        "interfaces": [
            "name": "lo",
            "addresses": [
            "name": "enp0s3",
            "mac": "08:00:27:11:ad:d2",
            "addresses": [
            "name": "enp0s8",
            "mac": "08:00:27:bc:be:60",
            "addresses": [
      "arch": "amd64"
    "subscriptions": [
    "last_seen": 1542667231,
    "deregister": false,
    "deregistration": {},
    "user": "agent",
    "redact": [