Running a simple HTTP server with Python

Sometimes we just need a quick HTTP server up and running, and we don’t want to bother setting up Apache, Nginx or anything like that. We just want to check a static website layout… or share some pictures in our local network. Quick and simple.

Well, Python can help us with that. It comes with a built-in simple HTTP server which will turn a local directory into a web server directory. And it’s only a line command away:

$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer

We will get a message informing that it’s serving on port 8000 (which is the default port):

Serving HTTP on port 8000 ...

And that’s it! It’s serving our directory on http://localhost:8000.

For example, let’s say I want to share my ~/Pictures directory with my colleagues via local network on port 5000:

$ cd ~/Pictures/
$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer 5000
Serving HTTP on port 5000 ...

Assuming my IP address on the local network is, my colleagues will be able to check out my pictures on

Python 3

The HTTP server changes a little bit in Python 3. A note from the docs:

The SimpleHTTPServer module has been merged into http.server in Python 3. The 2to3 tool will automatically adapt imports when converting your sources to Python 3.

But it’s still one line command:

$ python -m http.server
Serving HTTP on port 8000 ...

Run it with --help argument to see detailed options:

$ python -m http.server --help

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