How Do I Run a Simple Web Server?


Scott Campbell

Running a web server is an essential skill for anyone who wants to develop and test web applications locally. In this tutorial, we will learn how to run a simple web server on your computer using HTML.

What is a Web Server?
A web server is a software application that serves web pages to clients upon their request. It handles HTTP requests and responds with the requested content, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, etc.

Setting up a Simple Web Server

To run a simple web server on your computer, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose a Web Server Software

There are several options available for running a simple web server locally. Some popular choices include Apache HTTP Server, Nginx, and Microsoft IIS. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use Python’s built-in HTTP server.

Step 2: Install Python (if not already installed)

Python is an interpreted programming language that comes pre-installed on most operating systems. However, if you don’t have Python installed on your computer, you can download it from the official Python website ( and follow the installation instructions.

Step 3: Open Terminal (or Command Prompt)

To run the web server using Python’s built-in HTTP server, we need to open the terminal or command prompt. On Windows, you can press Win + R and type “cmd” in the Run dialog box. On macOS or Linux, you can open the Terminal application.

Step 4: Navigate to Your Project Directory

Use the “cd” command in the terminal or command prompt to navigate to your project directory where your HTML files are located. For example:

cd /path/to/your/project/directory

Replace “/path/to/your/project/directory” with the actual path to your project directory.

Step 5: Start the Web Server

Once you are in your project directory, you can start the web server by running the following command:

python -m http.server

This command starts a web server on port 8000 by default. If port 8000 is already in use, you can specify a different port by appending it to the end of the command. For example:

python -m http.server 8080

With the web server running, you can now access your HTML files in a web browser by navigating to “http://localhost:8000” (or “http://localhost:8080” if you specified a different port).

Additional Tips

– Make sure that your HTML files are located in the project directory or its subdirectories for the web server to serve them correctly.

– You can create subdirectories within your project directory and organize your HTML files accordingly. The web server will serve files from subdirectories as well.

– If you make changes to your HTML files while the web server is running, simply refresh your browser to see the updated content.

  • Conclusion
  • Running a simple web server is an essential skill for anyone involved in web development. By following these simple steps and using Python’s built-in HTTP server or other software, you can easily set up and run a local web server on your computer. This allows you to test and develop web applications without needing to deploy them to a remote server.

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