created_at2017-12-15 15:49:49.454485
updated_at2024-06-21 22:32:34.765129
descriptionSimple and configurable command-line HTTP server
Esteban Borai (EstebanBorai)




Simple and configurable command-line HTTP server Documentation Build Clippy Formatter Tests Benches


cargo install http-server

Verify successful installation.

http-server --help

Expect the following output:

    http-server [FLAGS] [OPTIONS] [root-dir]

        --cors                 Enable Cross-Origin Resource Sharing allowing any origin
        --graceful-shutdown    Waits for all requests to fulfill before shutting down the server
        --gzip                 Enable GZip compression for HTTP Responses
        --help                 Prints help information
    -l, --logger               Prints HTTP request and response details to stdout
    -q, --quiet                Turns off stdout/stderr logging
        --spa                  Route non-existent files to /index.html
        --tls                  Enables HTTPS serving using TLS
    -i, --index            Route directories to index.html if present
    -V, --version              Prints version information

    -c, --config <config>                          Path to TOML configuration file
    -h, --host <host>                              Host (IP) to bind the server [default:]
        --password <password>                      Specifies password for basic authentication
    -p, --port <port>                              Port to bind the server [default: 7878]
        --proxy <proxy>                            Proxy requests to the provided URL
        --tls-cert <tls-cert>                      Path to the TLS Certificate [default: cert.pem]
        --tls-key <tls-key>                        Path to the TLS Key [default: key.rsa]
        --tls-key-algorithm <tls-key-algorithm>    Algorithm used to generate certificate key [default: rsa]
        --username <username>                      Specifies username for basic authentication

    <root-dir>    Directory to serve files from [default: ./]

If you find this output is out of date, don't hesitate to open a PR here.


When running the server with no options or flags provided, a set of default configurations will be used. You can always change this behavior by either creating your own config with the Configuration TOML file or by providing CLI arguments described in the usage section.

Name Description Default
Host Address to bind the server
Port Port to bind the server 7878
Root Directory The directory to serve files from CWD
File Explorer UI A File Explorer UI for the directory configured as the Root Directory Enabled
Configuration File Specifies a configuration file. Example Disabled
HTTPS (TLS) HTTPS Secure connection configuration. Refer to TLS (HTTPS) reference Disabled
CORS Cross-Origin-Resource-Sharing headers support. Refer to CORS reference Disabled
Compression GZip compression for HTTP Response Bodies. Refer to Compression reference Disabled
Quiet Don't print server details when running. This doesn't include any logging capabilities. Disabled
Index Route directories to index.html if present Disabled
SPA Route non-existent files to /index.html Disabled
Basic Authentication Authorize requests using Basic Authentication. Refer to Basic Authentication Disabled
Logger Prints HTTP request and response details to stdout Disabled


http-server [FLAGS] [OPTIONS] [root-dir]


Flags are provided without any values. For example:

http-server --help
Name Short Long Description
Cross-Origin Resource Sharing N/A --cors Enable Cross-Origin Resource Sharing allowing any origin
GZip Compression N/A --gzip Enable GZip compression for responses
Graceful Shutdown N/A --graceful-shutdown Wait for all requests to be fulfilled before shutting down the server
Help N/A --help Print help information
Logger -l --logger Print HTTP request and response details to stdout
Version -V --version Print version information
Quiet -q --quiet Don't print output to console
Index -i --index Route directories to index.html if present
SPA N/A --spa Route non-existent files to /index.html


Options receive a value and support default values as well.

http-server --host
Name Short Long Description Default Value
Host -h --host Address to bind the server
Port -p --port Port to bind the server 7878
Configuration File -c --config Configuration file. Example N/A
TLS N/A --tls Enable TLS for HTTPS connections. Requires a Certificate and Key. Reference N/A
TLS Certificate N/A --tls-cert Path to TLS certificate file. Depends on --tls cert.pem
TLS Key N/A --tls-key Path to TLS key file. Depends on --tls key.rsa
TLS Key Algorithm N/A --tls-key-algorithm Algorithm used to generate certificate key. Depends on --tls rsa
Username N/A --username Username to validate using basic authentication N/A
Password N/A --password Password to validate using basic authentication. Depends on --username N/A
Proxy N/A --proxy Proxy requests to the provided URL N/A

Request Handlers

This HTTP Proxy supports different Request Handlers which determine how each incoming HTTP request is handled. They can't be combined, you must choose one based on your needs.

File Server Handler

Serves files from the provided directory. Navigation is scoped to the specified directory. If no directory is provided the CWD will be used.

This is the default behavior for the HTTP server.

Proxy Handler

Proxies requests to the provided URL. The URL provided is used as the base URL for incoming requests.


The following are some relevant details on features supported by this HTTP Server that may be of interest to the user.


Even though compression is supported, by default the server will not compress any HTTP response contents. You must specify the compression configuration you want to use, in the configuration file or on the command line.

As of today the server only supports compression with the GZip algorithm, but brotli support is also planned.

The following MIME types are never compressed:

  • application/gzip
  • application/octet-stream
  • application/wasm
  • application/zip
  • image/*
  • video/*

The Configuration File's Compression Section

As future support for other compression algorithms is planned, the configuration file already supports compression settings.

gzip = true

The --gzip flag

Provide the --gzip argument to the server when executing it.

http-server --gzip


The TLS solution supported for this HTTP Server is built with the rustls crate along with hyper-rustls.

When running with TLS support you will need:

  • A certificate
  • A matching RSA Private Key for the certificate

A script to generate certificates and keys is available here This script relies on openssl, so make sure you have it installed on your system.

Run http-server as follows:

http-server --tls --tls-cert <PATH TO YOUR CERTIFICATE> --tls-key <PATH TO YOUR KEY> --tls-key-algorithm pkcs8

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)

This HTTP Server supports CORS headers out of the box. Based on the headers you want to provide in your HTTP Responses, two different methods for CORS configuration are available.

By providing the --cors option to http-server, CORS headers will be appended to every HTTP Response, allowing any origin.

For more complex configurations, like specifying an origin, a set of allowed HTTP methods and more, you should specify the configuration via the configuration TOML file.

The following example shows all the available options.

allow_credentials = false
allow_headers = ["content-type", "authorization", "content-length"]
allow_methods = ["GET", "PATCH", "POST", "PUT", "DELETE"]
allow_origin = ""
expose_headers = ["*", "authorization"]
max_age = 600
request_headers = ["x-app-version"]
request_method = "GET"

Basic Authentication

Basic Authentication is supported to deny requests when credentials are invalid. You must provide the allowed username and password either by using the CLI options --username along with the desired username and --password along with the desired password, or by specifying such values through the configuration TOML file.

username = "John"
password = "Appleseed"


The HTTP Server is able to proxy requests to a specified URL.

When using the proxy, the FileExplorer won't be available, as the proxy is an alternate Request Handler.

The config TOML file can be used to provide proxy configurations:

url = ""


The following roadmap list features to provide for the version v1.0.0.

This roadmap is still open for suggestions. If you find that there's a missing feature in this list, that you would like to work on or expect for the first stable release, please contact the software editors by opening an issue or a discussion.

If you want to contribute to one of these, please make sure there's an issue tracking the feature and ping me. Otherwise open an issue to be assigned and track the progress there.

  • Logging
    • Request/Response Logging
    • Service Config Logins
  • File Explorer
    • Modified Date
    • File Size
    • Breadcrumb Navigation
    • File Upload
    • Filtering
    • Sorting
      • Sort By: File Name
      • Sort By: File Size
      • Sort By: File Modified Date
      • Directories First
      • Files First
  • HTTPS/TLS Serving
    • HTTPS/TLS Support
  • Compression
    • gzip/deflate Compression
    • brotli Compression
  • CORS
    • Cross Origin Resource Sharing
      • Allow Credentials
      • Allow Headers
      • Allow Methods
      • Allow Origin
      • Expose Headers
      • Max Age
      • Request Headers
      • Request Methods
      • Multiple Origins (#8)
  • Cache Control
    • Last-Modified and ETag
    • Respond with 304 to If-Modified-Since
  • Partial Request
    • Accept-Ranges
    • Content-Range
    • If-Range
    • If-Match
    • Range
  • Standalone Builds
    • macOS
    • Linux
    • Windows
  • Development Server
    • Live Reload
  • Proxy
    • URL Configuration
  • Basic Authentication
    • Username
    • Password
  • Graceful Shutdown


In order to create a release you must push a Git tag as follows

git tag -a <version> -m <message>


git tag -a v0.1.0 -m "First release"

Tags must follow semver conventions. Tags must be prefixed with a lowercase v letter.

Then push tags as follows:

git push origin main --follow-tags


Every contribution to this project is welcome. Feel free to open a pull request or an issue. Just by using this project you're helping it grow. Thank you!


Distributed under the terms of both the MIT license and the Apache License (Version 2.0)

Commit count: 443

cargo fmt