Custom Instrumentation

On this page you will learn how to manually propagate trace information into and out of your Java application. Please note, that you do not need to do this manually, if you use one of our supported frameworks, or you have our tracing feature turned on.

To set it up manually, all you have to do is to make sure your application extracts incoming headers and to set those headers again when making an outgoing request within your application.

Incoming tracing information has to be extracted and stored in memory for later use. Sentry provides the continueTrace() function to help you with this. Incoming tracing information can come from HTTP headers, for example, by another Sentry SDK used in your frontend project.

Here's an example of how to extract and store incoming tracing information using continueTrace():

import io.sentry.BaggageHeader;
import io.sentry.ITransaction;
import io.sentry.Sentry;
import io.sentry.SentryTraceHeader;
import io.sentry.TransactionContext;

final String sentryTraceHeader = httpRequest.getHeader(SentryTraceHeader.SENTRY_TRACE_HEADER);
final List<String> baggageHeader = Collections.list(httpRequest.getHeaders(BaggageHeader.BAGGAGE_HEADER));

final TransactionContext transactionContext = Sentry.continueTrace(sentryTraceHeader, baggageHeader);
if (transactionContext != null) {
    final ITransaction transaction = Sentry.startTransaction(transactionContext);

In this example, getHeader() returns a single String or null and getHeaders() returns an enumeration of Strings which may be empty.

If you pass these headers to Sentry's continueTrace() function it will store them in memory for later use.

For distributed tracing to work, the two headers sentry-trace and baggage, must now also be added to outgoing requests.

If you are sending outgoing HTTP requests with RestTemplate, WebClient, Apollo, Apollo 3 or OpenFeign and have our integration for it enabled, this tracing information is automatically added to outgoing requests. You do not have to enable Performance for distributed tracing to work.

If you're using none of the above, you can generate this tracing information with the Sentry SDK's getTraceparent() and getBaggage() functions. Here's an example:

import io.sentry.BaggageHeader;
import io.sentry.Sentry;
import io.sentry.SentryTraceHeader;

final SentryTraceHeader traceparent = Sentry.getTraceparent();
if (traceparent != null) {
    httpHeaders.add(traceparent.getName(), traceparent.getValue());
final BaggageHeader baggage = Sentry.getBaggage();
if (baggage != null) {
    httpHeaders.add(baggage.getName(), baggage.getValue());

performRequest("", httpHeaders);

In this example, tracing information is propagated to the project running at If this project uses the Sentry Java SDK, it will extract and save the tracing information for later use.

The two services are now connected with your custom distributed tracing implementation.

If you make outgoing requests from your project to other services, check if the headers sentry-trace and baggage are present in the request. If so, distributed tracing is working.

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