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    Developer Web Server

    grunt-devserver provides a simple way to quickly get a development server serving up your content with

    • run from the command line or Grunt 0.4.x
    • no caching content
    • CORS headers for cross-domain requests
    • logs requests to console
    • quickly configure https server
    • redefine your middleware in configuration

    As a developer I needed a lightweight way to serve up client-side applications and content in isolation from a larger server application. Something that supported a rapid workflow and integrated with my tools.

    Build Status NPM version


    Install it from the command line into your project

    npm install grunt-devserver --save-dev

    Or install it globally

    npm install grunt-devserver -g


    From the Command Line

    Once grunt-devserver has been installed globally you can run it from any folder by typing devserver

    Command line options:

    -t, --type (server type) http|https (default is http)
    -p, --port (port number) listen on this port
    -f, --folder (full path to a folder) serves this folder
    -s, --server start a server as defined in the configuration
    --cache (method) the method to return in the Cache-Control HTTP header. Default is no-cache.
    --file (filename) loads a js/json configuration file

    For more information on configuration files see Configuration Files

    From Grunt

    To start a server through grunt you need a devserver configuration in your Gruntfile.js and tell grunt to load grunt-devserver as an available task. For more information see Configuring Tasks.

        var config = {devserver: {server: {}}}

    and execute using:

        grunt devserver

    Now you can add the following options:

    devserver: { options: { 'type' : <string> (http|https defaults to http)
                          , 'port' : <port number> (defaults to 8888)
                          , 'base' : <directory> (defaults to .)
                          , 'cache' : <string> (defaults to 'no-cache')
                          , 'httpsOptions' : <object> https.createServer options
                          , 'file' : <filename>
                          , 'async' : <boolean> (defaults to true)
                          , 'middleware' : <array> || <function> (defaults to predefined middleware)

    NOTE: Starting multiple devservers requires setting the async option to false so that other server tasks may be processed. async can also be useful when a server is needed to support integration or functional testing.

    See the Configuration section for more information.

    From Your Project

    You can also use devserver directly as a module in your project.

        var devserver = require('grunt-devserver')
          , options = { type: "http", port: 8000 }
          , serverStarted = devserver(options)
        serverStarted.then(function(server) {
            // TODO something awesome

    From WebStorm

    As a developer tool integration is extremely important. If you are using a Jetbrains IDE like WebStorm here are instructions to start a devserver directly in your IDE by adding an entry to your External Tools:

    1. Go to Preferences > External Tools
    2. Click Add
    3. Fill in the form:
      1. name: http
      2. group: devserver
      3. program: /usr/local/bin/devserver
      4. paramters: --port $Prompt$
      5. working directory: $FileDir$
    4. Hit OK. You should now be able to right-click on any folder and start your devserver!

    WebStorm Usage


    Q: I am getting "env: node: No such file or directory"

    You need to add node to your path. On a Mac 10.8.x or later see launchctl man page for more information.

    1. From a terminal run sudo vim /etc/launchd.conf
    2. Add setenv PATH /usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin
    3. Reboot


    Configuration files provide you with the same functionality as a grunt configuration and can easily be shared across projects or used from the command-line.



    The type of server

    Type: string
    Default: http
    Command line: -t, --type


    The port where the server will respond

    type: number
    default: 8888
    command line: -p, --port


    The base directory of the web server. This is where files will be served. This configuration is passed to the serve-index middleware.

    type: String
    default: '.'
    command line: -f, --folder


    The type of caching mechanism to use. The noCacheHeaders middleware uses this value to add Cache-Control headers to the HTTP response.

    type: String
    default: no-cache
    command line: --cache


    httpsOptions are passed directly through to node's https.createServer() method. Read the docs for more information. This is ignored unless the server type is specified as https. When a signing certificate is not present, one will be automatically generated.

    type: object
    default: none


    As external configuration file. See Using Configuration Files for samples on how to use file configurations with devserver

    type: string
    default: none
    command line: --file


    async if set to true it will keep Grunt from terminating (see Grunt Tasks)

    type: boolean
    default: true


    Redefines the middleware stack to be used by the server.

    type: array or function
    default: @see model/CommonConfig.defaultMiddleware

    Example: redefine the middleware to log the request and send a hello world message

    { options: { middleware: [ morgan()
                             , function(req, res, next) {
                                res.send('Hello world!').end(200)

    Routes can also be used to define specific middleware handlers

    var route = require('devserver').middleware.route
    var morgan = require('morgan')
    function getName(req, res, next) {
        // retrieve the user name
    function putName(req, res, next) {
        // update the user name
    { options: { middleware: [ morgan()
                             , route('/name/:id').get(getName).put(putName)

    Option Precedence

    When a property exists in the grunt/command-line configuration and in the configuration file, the grunt/command-line option always overrides the file options.


    A example devserverrc file

    { "options": { "type" : "http"
                 , "port" : 8888

    When this file is loaded from the command-line

        devserver --file "./devserverrc" --port 4321 --cache "no-store"

    The resulting configuration used by devserver

    { "options": { "type" : "http"
                 , "port" : 4321
                 , "cache" : "no-store"


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