How to install and use Node.js http-server (Web server) via NPM

The Apache and Nginx are two popular web server used to install various types of web applications. However, if you have Node.js installed on your system, then you can use lightweight command line HTTP-server via NPM package manager. It is not like Apache and Nginx rather mainly to server static files to the browser without creating any server.js file. Just switch to the directory having HTML pages and start the installed HTTP-server. For Tutorial we are using Ubuntu 19.04, however, the commands will be the same for earlier Ubuntu version and Windows/MacOS versions too.

Node.js Http-server install + example

Step 1: Install the Node.js and NPM on your Windows or Linux OS.

The simple commands to install Node and NPM on Ubuntu is:

sudo apt-get install nodejs

sudo apt-get install npm

For detail installation tutorial see:

Step 2: Install http-server using NPM package manager

Open Command prompt/power shell in Windows or Command Terminal in Ubuntu and run the following command to install and setup simple NodeJS -HTTP Server / Local Web Server.

 npm install -g http-server

On Ubuntu use the above command with sudo.

Step 3: Check http-server running or not

To check whether our installed Node JS HTTP web server is working or not use the following command


The above command will display the IP-address where the Local Node Js web server is running and accessible.

The port number depends on which one is free and available to use. If you want to use some specific port number then the use the -p syntax after the above command. For example-

To use port number 8080, the command will be:

http-server -p 8082

It will start the http-server under the port 8082.

setup http-server on Node JSusing npm

Step 4: Access your installed http-server

Go to the browser and point to the IP address given by the http-server command over Terminal or Command prompt.

naodjs http-server local

Step 5: Use some custom Web project or static HTML files

If you want to use your own web project with Node JS web server then simply first switch to that directory and then type the http-server command,

http-server example:

I have downloaded a free HTML template from the internet which is in my Downloads folder. So, first I switched to Downloads then to the folder that contains the HTML template. After I fired the command http-server.

Node js http server personal project

This time, when I opened the same local IP, the template would have appeared.

custom web project on Node http server