Simple command line HTTP server

I have a script which generates a daily report which I want to serve to the so called general public. The problem is I don’t want to add to my headaches maintance of a HTTP server (e.g. Apache) with all the configurations and security implications.

Is there a dead simple solution for serving one small HTML page without the effort of configuring a full blown HTTP server?

Asked By: Cid


Use node.js , fast and lightweight.


just use simple nc netcat command to start a quick webserver on a port and serve the content of a file including the server response headers.

Reference from Wikipedia:

{ echo -ne "HTTP/1.0 200 OKrnrn"; cat some.file; } | nc -l -p 8080
{ echo -ne "HTTP/1.0 200 OKrnContent-Length: $(wc -c <some.file)rnrn"; cat some.file; } | nc -l -p 8080
Answered By: Nikhil Mulley

Yes, nweb.

Can be found here: nweb.c

(previously at

To compile nweb.c:

gcc -O -DLINUX nweb.c -o nweb
Answered By: Alexander

Try using SimpleHTTPServer in Python.

mkdir ~/public_html
command_to_generate_output > ~/public_html/output.txt

(cd ~/public_html; python -c 'import SimpleHTTPServer,BaseHTTPServer; BaseHTTPServer.HTTPServer(("", 8080), SimpleHTTPServer.SimpleHTTPRequestHandler).serve_forever()')

The first two lines are setup for the web server. The last line creates a simple web server, opened on port 8080, which only serves files from ~/public_html. If only one file is in that directory, then only that is exposed: http://localhost:8080/output.txt.

Answered By: Arcege

Try SimpleHTTPServer:

python3 -m http.server 8080

Or, for Python 2

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8080

To bind an IP Address, do

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8080 -b

or for Python 3

python3 -m http.server 8080 -b

It will serve whatever’s in the CWD (e.g. index.html) at

Answered By: Olivier Lalonde

Since version 5.4.0 PHP also has a built-in web server:

php -S localhost:8000

You can Specify the web server’s documents directory with -t, for example:

php -S localhost:8000 -t /var/lib/www

If you want to be able to access the server over the network then:

php -S -t /var/lib/www
Answered By: manatwork

Simple netcat example to put in bash script:

while true ; do nc -l 80 <index.html ; done 
Answered By: hotrider

Node has a simple, fast, light HTTP server module. To install:

sudo npm install http-server -g

(Assuming you have node and npm already installed.)

To run it, using the current directory as the website root:


This creates a server on

Answered By: ashes999

Oldschool Ruby WEBrick HTTP server:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'webrick'
server = => 8000,
                                 :DocumentRoot => '~/webrickroot')

# stop server with Ctrl-C
trap('INT') { server.stop }

Make sure to modify the DocumentRoot for your setup. See also this.

Answered By: user44370

Another option would be to install lighttpd. Following are suggested steps to install lighttpd on a Unbuntu 12.04 LTS.

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded
apt-get install lighttpd
/etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf (Edit to add server.port)
server.port = "8080"

Note: Documentroot is where all web accessible files will be places. The location is /var/wwww

The above step will install a basic lighttpd web server. For more information refer the following references


Answered By: Mahendra Gunawardena

There is a Big list of http static server one-liners:

To get on this list, a solution must:

  1. serve static files using your current directory (or a specified directory) as the server root
  2. be able to be run with a single, one line command (dependencies are fine if they’re a one-time thing)
  3. serve basic file types (html, css, js, images) with proper mime types,
    require no configuration (from files or otherwise) beyond the command itself (no framework-specific servers, etc)
  4. must run, or have a mode where it can run, in the foreground (i.e. no daemons)

For example:

  • Twisted (Python)

    twistd -n web -p 8000 --path . 
  • Erlang:

    erl -s inets -eval 'inets:start(httpd,[{server_name,"NAME"},{document_root, "."},{server_root, "."},{port, 8000},{mime_types,[{"html","text/html"},{"htm","text/html"},{"js","text/javascript"},{"css","text/css"},{"gif","image/gif"},{"jpg","image/jpeg"},{"jpeg","image/jpeg"},{"png","image/png"}]}]).'
  • Plack (Perl)

    cpan Plack
    plackup -MPlack::App::Directory -e 'Plack::App::Directory->new(root=>".");' -p 8000
  • webfs

    webfsd -F -p 8000
  • Ruby 1.9.2+

    ruby -run -ehttpd . -p8000
Answered By: Evgeny Vereshchagin

Simple Ruby one liner to serve a directory:

ruby -run -e httpd . -p 8080
Answered By: Travis Reeder

./devd -o -a -P devd:devd .

  • -o opens url in browser
  • -a for all interfaces
  • -P auth user/pass
  • . serve files in same directory

Answered By: nwgat

SFK worth mentioning here

an excellent multipurpose tool with no dependencies

available in both deb and rpm flavours

sfk httpserv -port 1234

will serve current directory

sfk httpserv -port 1234 -rw

will also allow file uploading

Answered By: Tagwint

You can piggy back on xinetd. Put the following config file into /etc/xinetd.d/ and service xinetd reload:

service http
  flags = REUSE IPv4
  protocol = tcp
  socket_type = stream
  port = 80
  wait = no
  user = nobody
  server = /bin/echo
  server_args = -e HTTP/1.0 301 Moved PermanentlynContent-Length: 0nLocation:
  disable = no

Works for my redirecting purposes:

# wget
--2016-04-04 22:56:20--
Connecting to connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
Location: [following]
Answered By: AXE Labs

Pure bash: A web server in a shell script.

Also, you’ll need xinetd (I believe available in any distro) to listen port and run the script when needed, so you don’t have to code tcp stack etc in bash.

Answered By: Putnik

A simple fix/enhancement to a slightly unfairly (imho) down voted answer might also work. Let’s set up the html file first …

echo '<html><head><title>My Test File</title></head><body><h1>OK!</h1></body></html>' > my_file.html

(Thx to Steve Folly for catching my typo in the HTML above. fixed.)

Now you can serve it up with this one-liner:

while true; do echo -e "HTTP/1.1 200 OKrnContent-Type: text/htmlrnrn" | cat - my_file.html  | nc -l -p 8080; done

This basic idea lends itself to other tricks that might work for you via other cat or subshell ideas such as:

while true; do echo -e "HTTP/1.1 200 OKrnContent-Type: text/htmlrnrnI think the date is $(date), Have a good day!" | nc -l -p 8080; done
Answered By: Vijay

try caddy

curl | bash

serve content from /var/www
caddy -root /var/www "browse"

now you find the server at http://localhost:2015

Answered By: nwgat

I used these instructions to install a web server on my CentOS machine without having to use sudo or touch any system files:

First install node (see the latest available version of the nodejs package here and change the package filename in the wget):

$ cd ~
$ wget
$ tar node-v18.10.0-linux-x64.tar.gz

then install http-server:

$ export PATH=~/node-v18.10.0-linux-x64/bin:$PATH
$ npm install http-server

then run http-server on port 12321:

$ ~/node-v18.10.0-linux-x64/bin/node_modules/http-server/bin/http-server -p 12321
Answered By: user674669

I’ve improved the nc solution a bit so it:

  • Adds the filename= hint,
  • Runs in a loop until Ctrl + C,
  • Saves a PID to /tmp/serveFile-$PORT so you can kill it later easily.



if [ "$FILE" == "" ] ; then echo "Usage: $0 <file-to-serve> [<port:7979>]"; exit; fi
echo Serving $FILE at $PORT, PID: $$
echo $$ > /tmp/serveFilePID-$PORT

while true; do 
    { echo -ne "HTTP/1.0 200 OKrnContent-Length: $(wc -c <$FILE)rnContent-Disposition: inline; filename="$(basename $FILE)"rnrn"; cat $FILE; } | nc -l $PORT
    #echo "Code: $CODE";
    if [ $CODE -gt 128 ] ; then break; fi;

rm /tmp/serveFilePID-$PORT

One could also use nc -k -l ... but this way you can

  • do custom actions between files served,
  • make several files alternate.
Answered By: Ondra Žižka

My five cents, written in shell:

Supermatic can run on FreeBSD and any other OS which has Bourne Shell
and inetd-like daemon. It serves static HTML and TXT files along with
GIF, JPEG and PNG image formats. What’s about any other standards and
features? No, never heard of them.

Answered By: Mikhail Zakharov

A docker based one liner so you don’t have to have any particular language installed:

docker run --rm -i -p 8000:8000 -v $(pwd):/app -w /app ruby:alpine ruby -run -ehttpd . -p8000
Answered By: Travis Reeder

To nweb.c I have added directory listing functionality.

nweb.c, simple http server with directory listing.
nwebs, statically compiled binary for linux.

Answered By: Janardhan B. Chinta
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