Node.js quick file server (static files over HTTP)

The Question :

696 people think this question is useful

Is there Node.js ready-to-use tool (installed with npm), that would help me expose folder content as file server over HTTP.

Example, if I have


Then starting in D:\Folder\ node node-file-server.js I could access file via


Why is my node static file server dropping requests? reference some mystical

standard node.js static file server

If there’s no such tool, what framework should I use?

Related: Basic static file server in NodeJS

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

1179 people think this answer is useful

A good “ready-to-use tool” option could be http-server:

npm install http-server -g

To use it:

cd D:\Folder

Or, like this:

http-server D:\Folder

Check it out:

The Answer 2

196 people think this answer is useful

If you do not want to use ready tool, you can use the code below, as demonstrated by me at

var http = require('http');
var fs = require('fs');
var path = require('path');

http.createServer(function (request, response) {
    console.log('request starting...');

    var filePath = '.' + request.url;
    if (filePath == './')
        filePath = './index.html';

    var extname = path.extname(filePath);
    var contentType = 'text/html';
    switch (extname) {
        case '.js':
            contentType = 'text/javascript';
        case '.css':
            contentType = 'text/css';
        case '.json':
            contentType = 'application/json';
        case '.png':
            contentType = 'image/png';
        case '.jpg':
            contentType = 'image/jpg';
        case '.wav':
            contentType = 'audio/wav';

    fs.readFile(filePath, function(error, content) {
        if (error) {
            if(error.code == 'ENOENT'){
                fs.readFile('./404.html', function(error, content) {
                    response.writeHead(200, { 'Content-Type': contentType });
                    response.end(content, 'utf-8');
            else {
                response.end('Sorry, check with the site admin for error: '+error.code+' ..\n');
        else {
            response.writeHead(200, { 'Content-Type': contentType });
            response.end(content, 'utf-8');

console.log('Server running at');

UPDATE If you need to access your server from external demand/file, you need to overcome the CORS, in your node.js file by writing the below, as I mentioned in a previous answer here

// Website you wish to allow to connect
response.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Origin', '*');

// Request methods you wish to allow
response.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Methods', 'GET, POST, OPTIONS, PUT, PATCH, DELETE');

// Request headers you wish to allow
response.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Headers', 'X-Requested-With,content-type');

// Set to true if you need the website to include cookies in the requests sent
// to the API (e.g. in case you use sessions)
response.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Credentials', true);


As Adrian mentioned, in the comments, he wrote an ES6 code with full explanation here, I just re-posting his code below, in case the code gone from the original site for any reason:

const http = require('http');
const url = require('url');
const fs = require('fs');
const path = require('path');
const port = process.argv[2] || 9000;

http.createServer(function (req, res) {
  console.log(`${req.method} ${req.url}`);

  // parse URL
  const parsedUrl = url.parse(req.url);
  // extract URL path
  let pathname = `.${parsedUrl.pathname}`;
  // based on the URL path, extract the file extention. e.g. .js, .doc, ...
  const ext = path.parse(pathname).ext;
  // maps file extention to MIME typere
  const map = {
    '.ico': 'image/x-icon',
    '.html': 'text/html',
    '.js': 'text/javascript',
    '.json': 'application/json',
    '.css': 'text/css',
    '.png': 'image/png',
    '.jpg': 'image/jpeg',
    '.wav': 'audio/wav',
    '.mp3': 'audio/mpeg',
    '.svg': 'image/svg+xml',
    '.pdf': 'application/pdf',
    '.doc': 'application/msword'

  fs.exists(pathname, function (exist) {
    if(!exist) {
      // if the file is not found, return 404
      res.statusCode = 404;
      res.end(`File ${pathname} not found!`);

    // if is a directory search for index file matching the extention
    if (fs.statSync(pathname).isDirectory()) pathname += '/index' + ext;

    // read file from file system
    fs.readFile(pathname, function(err, data){
        res.statusCode = 500;
        res.end(`Error getting the file: ${err}.`);
      } else {
        // if the file is found, set Content-type and send data
        res.setHeader('Content-type', map[ext] || 'text/plain' );


console.log(`Server listening on port ${port}`);

The Answer 3

82 people think this answer is useful

For people wanting a server runnable from within NodeJS script:

You can use expressjs/serve-static which replaces connect.static (which is no longer available as of connect 3):


var http = require('http');

var finalhandler = require('finalhandler');
var serveStatic = require('serve-static');

var serve = serveStatic("./");

var server = http.createServer(function(req, res) {
  var done = finalhandler(req, res);
  serve(req, res, done);


and then from command line:

  • $ npm install finalhandler serve-static
  • $ node myapp.js

The Answer 4

63 people think this answer is useful

I know it’s not Node, but I’ve used Python’s SimpleHTTPServer:

python -m SimpleHTTPServer [port]

It works well and comes with Python.

The Answer 5

35 people think this answer is useful

connect could be what you’re looking for.

Installed easily with:

npm install connect

Then the most basic static file server could be written as:

var connect = require('connect'),
    directory = '/path/to/Folder';


console.log('Listening on port 80.');

The Answer 6

23 people think this answer is useful

One-line™ Proofs instead of promises

enter image description here

The first is http-server, hslink

npm i -g http-server   // install
hs C:\repos            // run with one line?? FTW!!

The second is serve by – link

npm i -g serve         // install
serve C:\repos         // run with one line?? FTW!!

Following are available options, if this is what helps you decide.

C:\Users\Qwerty>http-server --help
usage: http-server [path] [options]

  -p           Port to use [8080]
  -a           Address to use []
  -d           Show directory listings [true]
  -i           Display autoIndex [true]
  -g --gzip    Serve gzip files when possible [false]
  -e --ext     Default file extension if none supplied [none]
  -s --silent  Suppress log messages from output
  --cors[=headers]   Enable CORS via the "Access-Control-Allow-Origin" header
                     Optionally provide CORS headers list separated by commas
  -o [path]    Open browser window after starting the server
  -c           Cache time (max-age) in seconds [3600], e.g. -c10 for 10 seconds.
               To disable caching, use -c-1.
  -U --utc     Use UTC time format in log messages.

  -P --proxy   Fallback proxy if the request cannot be resolved. e.g.:

  -S --ssl     Enable https.
  -C --cert    Path to ssl cert file (default: cert.pem).
  -K --key     Path to ssl key file (default: key.pem).

  -r --robots  Respond to /robots.txt [User-agent: *\nDisallow: /]
  -h --help    Print this list and exit.
C:\Users\Qwerty>serve --help

  Usage: serve.js [options] [command]


    help  Display help


    -a, --auth      Serve behind basic auth
    -c, --cache     Time in milliseconds for caching files in the browser
    -n, --clipless  Don't copy address to clipboard (disabled by default)
    -C, --cors      Setup * CORS headers to allow requests from any origin (disabled by default)
    -h, --help      Output usage information
    -i, --ignore    Files and directories to ignore
    -o, --open      Open local address in browser (disabled by default)
    -p, --port   Port to listen on (defaults to 5000)
    -S, --silent    Don't log anything to the console
    -s, --single    Serve single page applications (sets `-c` to 1 day)
    -t, --treeless  Don't display statics tree (disabled by default)
    -u, --unzipped  Disable GZIP compression
    -v, --version   Output the version number

If you need to watch for changes, see hostr, credit Henry Tseng’s answer

The Answer 7

21 people think this answer is useful

Install express using npm:

Create a file named server.js at the same level of your index.html with this content:

var express = require('express');
var server = express();
server.use('/', express.static(__dirname + '/'));

If you wish to put it in a different location, set the path on the third line:

server.use('/', express.static(__dirname + '/public'));

CD to the folder containing your file and run node from the console with this command:

node server.js

Browse to localhost:8080

The Answer 8

16 people think this answer is useful


If that’s all you need, try this:

const http = require('http');
const fs = require('fs');
const port = 3000;
const app = http.createServer((req,res) => {
    if (req.url === '/') req.url = '/index.html'; // courtesy of @JosephCho
    res.end(fs.readFileSync(__dirname + req.url));


note: You need to use “/index.html” as part of your address ie “http://localhost:3000/index.html

The Answer 9

11 people think this answer is useful

From npm@5.2.0, npm started installing a new binary alongside the usual npm called npx. So now, one liners to create static http server from current directory:

npx serve


npx http-server

The Answer 10

8 people think this answer is useful

There is another static web server that is quite nice: browser-sync.

It can be downloaded using node package manager:

npm install -g browser-sync

After installation, navigate to the project folder in the cmd prompt and just run the following:

browser-sync start --server --port 3001 --files="./*"

It will start catering all the files in the current folder in the browser.

More can be found out from BrowserSync


The Answer 11

8 people think this answer is useful

In plain node.js:

const http = require('http')
const fs = require('fs')
const path = require('path')

process.on('uncaughtException', err => console.error('uncaughtException', err))
process.on('unhandledRejection', err => console.error('unhandledRejection', err))

const publicFolder = process.argv.length > 2 ? process.argv[2] : '.'
const port = process.argv.length > 3 ? process.argv[3] : 8080

const mediaTypes = {
  zip: 'application/zip',
  jpg: 'image/jpeg',
  html: 'text/html',
  /* add more media types */

const server = http.createServer(function(request, response) {
  console.log(request.method + ' ' + request.url)

  const filepath = path.join(publicFolder, request.url)
  fs.readFile(filepath, function(err, data) {
    if (err) {
      response.statusCode = 404
      return response.end('File not found or you made an invalid request.')

    let mediaType = 'text/html'
    const ext = path.extname(filepath)
    if (ext.length > 0 && mediaTypes.hasOwnProperty(ext.slice(1))) {
      mediaType = mediaTypes[ext.slice(1)]

    response.setHeader('Content-Type', mediaType)

server.on('clientError', function onClientError(err, socket) {
  console.log('clientError', err)
  socket.end('HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request\r\n\r\n')

server.listen(port, '', function() {
  console.log('👨‍🔧 Development server is online.')

This is a simple node.js server that only serves requested files in a certain directory.


node server.js folder port

folder may be absolute or relative depending on the server.js location. The default value is . which is the directory you execute node server.js command.

port is 8080 by default but you can specify any port available in your OS.

In your case, I would do:

cd D:\Folder
node server.js

You can browse the files under D:\Folder from a browser by typing

The Answer 12

7 people think this answer is useful

Here is my one-file/lightweight node.js static file web-server pet project with no-dependency that I believe is a quick and rich tool which its use is as easy as issuing this command on your Linux/Unix/macOS terminal (or termux on Android) when node.js (or nodejs-legacy on Debian/Ubuntu) is installed:

curl | node 

(different commands exist for Windows users on the documentation)

It supports different things that I believe can be found useful,

  • Hierarchical directory index creation/serving
    • With sort capability on the different criteria
    • Upload from browser by [multi-file] drag-and-drop and file/text-only copy-paste and system clipboard screen-shot paste on Chrome, Firefox and other browsers may with some limitations (which can be turned off by command line options it provides)
    • Folder/note-creation/upload button
  • Serving correct MIMEs for well known file types (with possibility for disabling that)
  • Possibility of installation as a npm package and local tool or, one-linear installation as a permanent service with Docker
  • HTTP 206 file serving (multipart file transfer) for faster transfers
  • Uploads from terminal and browser console (in fact it was originally intended to be a file-system proxy for JS console of browsers on other pages/domains)
  • CORS download/uploads (which also can be turned off)
  • Easy HTTPS integration
  • Lightweight command line options for achieving better secure serving with it:
    • With my patch on node.js 8, you can have access to the options without first installation: curl | node - -h
    • Or first install it as a system-global npm package by [sudo] npm install -g pad.js and then use its installed version to have access to its options: pad -h
    • Or use the provided Docker image which uses relatively secure options by default. [sudo] docker run --restart=always -v /files:/files --name pad.js -d -p 9090:9090

Screenshot of a folder index using the tool

The features described above are mostly documented on the main page of the tool which by some nice trick I used is also the place the tool source itself is also served from!

The tool source is on GitHub which welcomes your feedback, feature requests and ⭐s!

The Answer 13

7 people think this answer is useful

I haven’t had much luck with any of the answers on this page, however, below seemed to do the trick.

Add a server.js file with the following content:

const express = require('express')
const path = require('path')
const port = process.env.PORT || 3000
const app = express()

// serve static assets normally
app.use(express.static(__dirname + '/dist'))

// handle every other route with index.html, which will contain
// a script tag to your application's JavaScript file(s).
app.get('*', function (request, response){
  response.sendFile(path.resolve(__dirname, 'dist', 'index.html'))

console.log("server started on port " + port)

Also make sure that you require express. Run yarn add express --save or npm install express --save depending on your setup (I can recommend yarn it’s pretty fast).

You may change dist to whatever folder you are serving your content is. For my simple project, I wasn’t serving from any folder, so I simply removed the dist filename.

Then you may run node server.js. As I had to upload my project to a Heroku server, I needed to add the following to my package.json file:

  "scripts": {
    "start": "node server.js"

The Answer 14

6 people think this answer is useful

If you use the Express framework, this functionality comes ready to go.

To setup a simple file serving app just do this:

mkdir yourapp
cd yourapp
npm install express

The Answer 15

6 people think this answer is useful

You can use the NPM serve package for this, if you don’t need the NodeJS stuff it is a quick and easy to use tool:

1 – Install the package on your PC:

npm install -g serve

2 – Serve your static folder with serve <path> :

d:> serve d:\StaticSite

It will show you which port your static folder is being served, just navigate to the host like:


The Answer 16

4 people think this answer is useful

Here’s another simple web server.


npm install -g hostr

Change working director

cd myprojectfolder/

And start


The Answer 17

4 people think this answer is useful

For a healthy increase of performance using node to serve static resources, I recommend using Buffet. It works similar to as a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy but it just loads the chosen directory into memory.

Buffet takes a fully-bufferred approach — all files are fully loaded into memory when your app boots, so you will never feel the burn of the filesystem. In practice, this is immensely efficient. So much so that putting Varnish in front of your app might even make it slower! 

We use it on the codePile site and found an increase of ~700requests/sec to >4k requests/sec on a page that downloads 25 resources under a 1k concurrent user connection load.


var server = require('http').createServer();

var buffet = require('buffet')(root: './file'); 


server.on('request', function (req, res) {

  buffet(req, res, function () {

    buffet.notFound(req, res);




server.listen(3000, function () {

  console.log('test server running on port 3000');


The Answer 18

4 people think this answer is useful

Take a look on that link.

You need only to install express module of node js.

var express = require('express');
var app = express();

app.use('/Folder', express.static(__dirname + '/Folder'));

You can access your file like http://hostname/Folder/

The Answer 19

4 people think this answer is useful

Below worked for me:

Create a file app.js with below contents:

// app.js

var fs = require('fs'),
    http = require('http');

http.createServer(function (req, res) {
  fs.readFile(__dirname + req.url, function (err,data) {
    if (err) {

Create a file index.html with below contents:


Start a command line:


Run below in cmd:

node app.js

Goto below URL, in chrome:


That’s all. Hope that helps.


The Answer 20

3 people think this answer is useful

You can try serve-me

Using it is so easy:

ServeMe = require('serve-me')();

Thats all.

PD: The folder served by default is “public”.

The Answer 21

2 people think this answer is useful

It isn’t on NPM, yet, but I built a simple static server on Express that also allows you to accept form submissions and email them through a transactional email service (Sendgrid for now, Mandrill coming).

The Answer 22

2 people think this answer is useful

For the benefit of searchers, I liked Jakub g’s answer, but wanted a little error handling. Obviously it’s best to handle errors properly, but this should help prevent a site stopping if an error occurs. Code below:

var http = require('http');
var express = require('express');

process.on('uncaughtException', function(err) {

var server = express();


var port = 10001;
server.listen(port, function() { 
    console.log('listening on port ' + port);     
    //var err = new Error('This error won't break the application...')
    //throw err

The Answer 23

2 people think this answer is useful

First install node-static server via npm install node-static -g -g is to install it global on your system, then navigate to the directory where your files are located, start the server with static it listens on port 8080, naviaget to the browser and type localhost:8080/yourhtmlfilename.

The Answer 24

1 people think this answer is useful

Searching in NPM registry, I have found static-server

Ever needed to send a colleague a file, but can’t be bothered emailing the 100MB beast? Wanted to run a simple example JavaScript application, but had problems with running it through the file:/// protocol? Wanted to share your media directory at a LAN without setting up Samba, or FTP, or anything else requiring you to edit configuration files? Then this file server will make your life that little bit easier.

To install the simple static stuff server, use npm:

npm install -g static-server

Then to serve a file or a directory, simply run

$ serve path/to/stuff
Serving path/to/stuff on port 8001

That could even list folder content.

Unfortunately, it couldn’t serve files 🙂

The Answer 25

1 people think this answer is useful

A simple Static-Server using connect

var connect = require('connect'),
  directory = __dirname,
  port = 3000;


console.log('Listening on port ' + port);

See also Using node.js as a simple web server

The Answer 26

1 people think this answer is useful

For dev work you can use (express 4)

The Answer 27

1 people think this answer is useful

const http = require('http');
const fs = require('fs');
const url = require('url');
const path = require('path');

let mimeTypes = {
  '.html': 'text/html',
  '.css': 'text/css',
  '.js': 'text/javascript',
  '.jpg': 'image/jpeg',
  '.png': 'image/png',
  '.ico': 'image/x-icon',
  '.svg': 'image/svg+xml',
  '.eot': 'appliaction/',
  '.ttf': 'aplication/font-sfnt'

http.createServer(function (request, response) {
  let pathName = url.parse(request.url).path;
  if(pathName === '/'){
    pathName = '/index.html';
  pathName = pathName.substring(1, pathName.length);
  let extName = path.extName(pathName);
  let staticFiles = `${__dirname}/template/${pathName}`;

      if(extName =='.jpg' || extName == '.png' || extName == '.ico' || extName == '.eot' || extName == '.ttf' || extName == '.svg')
          let file = fr.readFileSync(staticFiles);
          res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': mimeTypes[extname]});
          res.write(file, 'binary');
      }else {
        fs.readFile(staticFiles, 'utf8', function (err, data) {
            res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': mimeTypes[extname]});
          }else {
            res.writeHead(404, {'Content-Type': 'text/html;charset=utf8'});
            res.write(`<strong>${staticFiles}</strong>File is not found.`);

The Answer 28

0 people think this answer is useful

I use Houston at work and for personal projects, it works well for me.

The Answer 29

0 people think this answer is useful

If you are intrested in ultra-light http server without any prerequisites you should have a look at: mongoose

The Answer 30

0 people think this answer is useful

You also asked why requests are dropping – not sure what’s the specific reason on your case, but in overall you better server static content using dedicated middleware (nginx, S3, CDN) because Node is really not optimized for this networking pattern. See further explanation here (bullet 13):

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