A simple zero-configuration command-line http server
Last updated 3 months ago by marlodch .
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http-server: a command-line http server

http-server is a simple, zero-configuration command-line http server. It is powerful enough for production usage, but it's simple and hackable enough to be used for testing, local development, and learning.

Example of running http-server

Forked to include support for apple-app-site-association files

In order for Apple to read the apple-app-site-association file, we must send it as application/json without the .json file extension


Globally via npm

npm install --global http-server

This will install http-server globally so that it may be run from the command line anywhere.

Globally via Homebrew

brew install http-server

Running on-demand:

Using npx you can run the script without installing it first:

npx http-server [path] [options]

As a dependency in your npm package:

npm install http-server


 http-server [path] [options]

[path] defaults to ./public if the folder exists, and ./ otherwise.

Now you can visit http://localhost:8080 to view your server

Note: Caching is on by default. Add -c-1 as an option to disable caching.

Available Options:

-p or --port Port to use (defaults to 8080)

-a Address to use (defaults to

-d Show directory listings (defaults to true)

-i Display autoIndex (defaults to true)

-g or --gzip When enabled (defaults to false) it will serve ./public/some-file.js.gz in place of ./public/some-file.js when a gzipped version of the file exists and the request accepts gzip encoding. If brotli is also enabled, it will try to serve brotli first.

-b or --brotli When enabled (defaults to false) it will serve ./public/some-file.js.br in place of ./public/some-file.js when a brotli compressed version of the file exists and the request accepts br encoding. If gzip is also enabled, it will try to serve brotli first.

-e or --ext Default file extension if none supplied (defaults to html)

-s or --silent Suppress log messages from output

--cors Enable CORS via the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header

-o [path] Open browser window after starting the server. Optionally provide a URL path to open. e.g.: -o /other/dir/

-c Set cache time (in seconds) for cache-control max-age header, e.g. -c10 for 10 seconds (defaults to 3600). To disable caching, use -c-1.

-U or --utc Use UTC time format in log messages.

--log-ip Enable logging of the client's IP address (default: false).

-P or --proxy Proxies all requests which can't be resolved locally to the given url. e.g.: -P http://someurl.com

--username Username for basic authentication [none]

--password Password for basic authentication [none]

-S or --ssl Enable https.

-C or --cert Path to ssl cert file (default: cert.pem).

-K or --key Path to ssl key file (default: key.pem).

-r or --robots Provide a /robots.txt (whose content defaults to User-agent: *\nDisallow: /)

--no-dotfiles Do not show dotfiles

-h or --help Print this list and exit.

-v or --version Print the version and exit.

Magic Files

  • index.html will be served as the default file to any directory requests.
  • 404.html will be served if a file is not found. This can be used for Single-Page App (SPA) hosting to serve the entry page.

Catch-all redirect

To implement a catch-all redirect, use the index page itself as the proxy with:

http-server --proxy http://localhost:8080?

Note the ? at the end of the proxy URL. Thanks to @houston3 for this clever hack!


First, you need to make sure that openssl is installed correctly, and you have key.pem and cert.pem files. You can generate them using this command:

openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -new -nodes -x509 -days 3650 -keyout key.pem -out cert.pem

You will be prompted with a few questions after entering the command. Use as value for Common name if you want to be able to install the certificate in your OS's root certificate store or browser so that it is trusted.

This generates a cert-key pair and it will be valid for 3650 days (about 10 years).

Then you need to run the server with -S for enabling SSL and -C for your certificate file.

http-server -S -C cert.pem

This is what should be output if successful:

Starting up http-server, serving ./ through https
Available on:
Hit CTRL-C to stop the server


Checkout this repository locally, then:

$ npm i
$ node bin/http-server

Now you can visit http://localhost:8080 to view your server

You should see the turtle image in the screenshot above hosted at that URL. See the ./public folder for demo content.

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