How To Setup A Simple HTTP Server With Python

There are times when you need to setup a quick web server to test your web applications. For basic applications which don’t require database or server-side language support, Python has a module to run a mini web server on your system. It takes no time to configure and eats up very little system resources!

SimpleHTTPServer by command line

Open up a terminal and go to the directory you would like to start the web server:

$ cd /home/somedirectory

To start the server, simply type:

$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer

That’s it! Now your HTTP server will run in port 8000. You can access it via localhost:8000 or If the directory has a file named “index.html”, it will be served as the initial file. If there is no “index.html”, then the files in the directory will be listed. To quit the web server, use CTRL+C.

If you wish to change the port, it can be configured as an additional parameter:

$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8200

SimpleHTTPServer by python script

The SimpleHTTPServer can also be started in a script. Here’s a snippet of the code I use:

import sys, SimpleHTTPServer, BaseHTTPServer
from SimpleHTTPServer import SimpleHTTPRequestHandler

SimpleHTTPRequestHandler.protocol_version = "HTTP/1.0"

httpd = BaseHTTPServer.HTTPServer(('', 8000), SimpleHTTPRequestHandler)

sa = httpd.socket.getsockname()

print "Serving HTTP on", sa[0], sa[1], "..."


And there you go. Happy web serving!