Does Python Come With a Web Server?


Heather Bennett

Does Python Come With a Web Server?

If you are new to Python and exploring its capabilities for web development, you might be wondering if Python comes with a built-in web server. Well, the answer is yes! Python does come with a simple and lightweight web server that can be quite handy for testing and development purposes.

The ‘http.server’ Module

In Python, you can use the http.server module to quickly set up a basic web server. This module provides classes for implementing HTTP servers (Web servers). It is part of the standard library, which means that it comes bundled with your Python installation.

To use the http.server module, you need to import it into your Python script:

import http.server

Starting the Server

Once you have imported the http.server module, you can start the server by running the following code:


This code starts a web server on your local machine using port 8000 by default. You can access your website by opening a web browser and entering http://localhost:8000/.

Serving Files and Directories

The default behavior of the SimpleHTTPRequestHandler, which is used in the above example, is to serve files and directories from the current working directory. This means that if you run the server from a specific directory, it will serve files from that directory.

If you want to specify a different directory to serve, you can pass it as an argument to the test() function:

http.SimpleHTTPRequestHandler, directory='/path/to/directory')

This will serve files and directories from the specified directory instead of the current working directory.

Customizing the Server

The http.server module provides various classes that can be used to customize your web server. For example:

  • BaseHTTPRequestHandler: The base class for creating custom request handlers.
  • SimpleHTTPRequestHandler: A simple request handler that serves files and directories.
  • CGIHTTPRequestHandler: A request handler that supports CGI scripts.
  • ThreadingHTTPServer: A multi-threaded HTTP server.

You can create your own custom request handler by subclassing one of these classes and implementing your desired functionality. This gives you the flexibility to handle requests in a way that suits your specific needs.

Taking Security into Consideration

While the built-in web server provided by Python is great for testing and development, it is not intended for production use. It lacks many security features and performance optimizations that are crucial for a production-grade web server. Therefore, it is important to use a dedicated web server like Nginx or Apache when deploying your Python web applications in a production environment.

In conclusion, Python does come with a built-in web server that can be used for testing and development purposes. It provides a simple way to quickly set up a basic web server without requiring any additional installations or configurations. However, for production use, it is recommended to use a dedicated web server that offers better security and performance features.

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