20.19. SimpleHTTPServer — Simple HTTP request handler


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.

The SimpleHTTPServer module defines a single class, SimpleHTTPRequestHandler, which is interface-compatible with BaseHTTPServer.BaseHTTPRequestHandler.

The SimpleHTTPServer module defines the following class:

class SimpleHTTPServer.SimpleHTTPRequestHandler(request, client_address, server)

This class serves files from the current directory and below, directly mapping the directory structure to HTTP requests.

A lot of the work, such as parsing the request, is done by the base class BaseHTTPServer.BaseHTTPRequestHandler. This class implements the do_GET() and do_HEAD() functions.

The following are defined as class-level attributes of SimpleHTTPRequestHandler:


This will be "SimpleHTTP/" + __version__, where __version__ is defined at the module level.


A dictionary mapping suffixes into MIME types. The default is signified by an empty string, and is considered to be application/octet-stream. The mapping is used case-insensitively, and so should contain only lower-cased keys.

The SimpleHTTPRequestHandler class defines the following methods:


This method serves the 'HEAD' request type: it sends the headers it would send for the equivalent GET request. See the do_GET() method for a more complete explanation of the possible headers.


The request is mapped to a local file by interpreting the request as a path relative to the current working directory.

If the request was mapped to a directory, the directory is checked for a file named index.html or index.htm (in that order). If found, the file’s contents are returned; otherwise a directory listing is generated by calling the list_directory() method. This method uses os.listdir() to scan the directory, and returns a 404 error response if the listdir() fails.

If the request was mapped to a file, it is opened and the contents are returned. Any IOError exception in opening the requested file is mapped to a 404, 'File not found' error. Otherwise, the content type is guessed by calling the guess_type() method, which in turn uses the extensions_map variable.

A 'Content-type:' header with the guessed content type is output, followed by a 'Content-Length:' header with the file’s size and a 'Last-Modified:' header with the file’s modification time.

Then follows a blank line signifying the end of the headers, and then the contents of the file are output. If the file’s MIME type starts with text/ the file is opened in text mode; otherwise binary mode is used.

The test() function in the SimpleHTTPServer module is an example which creates a server using the SimpleHTTPRequestHandler as the Handler.

New in version 2.5: The 'Last-Modified' header.

The SimpleHTTPServer module can be used in the following manner in order to set up a very basic web server serving files relative to the current directory.

import SimpleHTTPServer
import SocketServer

PORT = 8000

Handler = SimpleHTTPServer.SimpleHTTPRequestHandler

httpd = SocketServer.TCPServer(("", PORT), Handler)

print "serving at port", PORT

The SimpleHTTPServer module can also be invoked directly using the -m switch of the interpreter with a port number argument. Similar to the previous example, this serves the files relative to the current directory.

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8000

See also

Module BaseHTTPServer
Base class implementation for Web server and request handler.

Previous topic

20.18. BaseHTTPServer — Basic HTTP server

Next topic

20.20. CGIHTTPServer — CGI-capable HTTP request handler

This Page