1.9.2 • Public • Published

gulp-server-livereload Build Status

Gulp plugin to run a local webserver with live reload using

Serve a folder over HTTP and watch it for changes, telling the browser to reload itself when a change happens.

  • Uses - livereload mechanism works even if your browser does not support WebSockets (PhoneGap developers rejoice!).

  • window.console capture - it can capture console output from the client-side and transmit it to the back-end for display. This is useful for when testing from Phonegap, etc.

  • Supports CSS injection (no need to reload the whole page if just your CSS has changed).

  • Proxy mode - proxy requests arriving at certain URLs to other servers.

  • Comes with a command-line runnable.


$ npm install --save-dev gulp-server-livereload


The folder supplied to gulp.src() will be the root folder from which files will be served.

var gulp = require('gulp');
var server = require('gulp-server-livereload');
gulp.task('webserver', function() {
      livereload: true,
      directoryListing: true,
      open: true

If you run gulp webserver your browser should automatically open up to http://localhost:8000 and show a directory listing of the app folder.


Install the package globally:

$ npm install -g gulp-server-livereload

Then you can run the livereload command to serve files out of the current folder. Here are the available options:

$ livereload help
  Usage: livereload [options]
    -h, --help        output usage information
    -V, --version     output the version number
    -n, --no-browser  do not open the localhost server in a browser
    -l, --log [type]  log level (default: info)
    -p, --port <n>    the port to run on


Note: not all of these options are currently available via the CLI executable

Key Type Default Description
host String localhost hostname of the webserver
port Number 8000 port of the webserver
livereload Boolean/Object false whether to use livereload. For advanced options, provide an object with enable set to true.
livereload.port Number 35729 port for livereload server to listen on.
livereload.markupHost String null the hostname to use for the livereload server in the injected SCRIPT tag. Default is to calculate it dynamically in the browser.
livereload.filter Function - function to filter out files to watch (default filters out node_modules).
livereload.clientConsole Boolean false whether to capture window.console output from the client and send it to the back-end for display.
directoryListing Boolean/Object false whether to display a directory listing. For advanced options, provide an object. You can use the path property to set a custom path or the options property to set custom serve-index options.
defaultFile String index.html default file to show when root URL is requested. If directoryListing is enabled then this gets disabled.
fallback String undefined file to fall back to (relative to webserver root) when requested resource not found. Useful when building single-page apps with non-has URLs.
fallbackLogic Function see index.js Middleware function responsible for writing the fallback file to output, or anything else you might want to do instead.
open Boolean/Object false open the localhost server in the browser
https Boolean/Object false whether to use https or not. By default, gulp-server-livereload provides you with a development certificate but you remain free to specify a path for your key and certificate by providing an object like this one: {key: 'path/to/key.pem', cert: 'path/to/cert.pem'}.
log String info If set to debug you will see all requests logged to the console.
clientLog String debug Chooses the level of logging to report from the client in the console if livereload.clientConsole is enabled. Available choices: debug, info, warn, error.
proxies Array [] a list of proxy objects. Each proxy object can be specified by {source: '/abc', target: 'http://localhost:8080/abc', options: {headers: {'ABC_HEADER': 'abc'}}}.

Livereload behaviour

By default when a file changes the livereload script in the browser does the following:

  1. Checks to see whether the changed file is a CSS file
  2. If it is a CSS file then it reloads the changed CSS files in the browser
  3. Otherwise it reloads the whole page

To override the default behaviour define the following method in Javascript:

 * This method gets called by the livereload script when the server notifies it
 * that something has changed.
 * @param  {Object} file File which changed.
window._onLiveReloadFileChanged = function(file) {
  // do whatever you want here, e.g. location.reload();

The file parameter has the following structure:

  "path": ...full path to file which changed...
  "name": ...file name (without path)...
  "ext": ...file extension name...


Why can't I reach the server from the network?

Set as the host option.

How can I set main.html to automatically load when I visit the URL?

Set the defaultFile to main.html:

gulp.task('webserver', function() {
      defaultFile: 'main.html'

How can I use livereload if my HTML is already being served up by a node.js/other app?

You'll have to add some Javascript to dynamically load in the browser-side scripts. For example, if the gulp-server-livereload livereload port is set to 34322 then you would add:

(function() {
  var lrHost = location.protocol + '//' + location.hostname + ':34322';
  var s = document.createElement('script');
  s.async = true;
  s.setAttribute('src', lrHost + '/livereload.js');

To enable console logging capture add the following query paramter:

s.setAttribute('src', lrHost + '/livereload.js?extra=capture-console');

How can I pass a custom filter to livereload?

In the livereload object, set the enable to true and provide filter function in filter:

gulp.task('webserver', function() {
      livereload: {
        enable: true,
        filter: function(filePath, cb) {
          cb( !(/node_modules/.test(filePath)) );

How can I use non-hash URLs for my single page app (i.e. HTML5 mode) with this plugin?

When you're building a single-page app with non-hash URLs (html5 mode) then you want the server to always serve up the same file for every URL. This is where the fallback option comes into play:

gulp.task('webserver', function() {
      fallback: 'index.html'

You can control exactly how the fallback mode works using the fallbackLogic parameter. For example, if you wanted to handle PNG files separately and not have the fallback get returned for such requests:

gulp.task('webserver', function() {
      fallback: 'index.html',
      fallbackLogic: function(req, res, fallbackFile) {
        if (req.url.match(/\.png$/i)) {
          res.statusCode = 404;
        } else {
          // default fallback config

How can I use this with CSS preprocessors such as LESS or SASS?

If you use a CSS preprocessor in gulp, you'll need to run its gulp task (typically with gulp-watch) together with the server, so that LESS/SASS files are compiled as you save.

You'll also want to configure livereload to ignore changes to the source files, and instead let it only handle changes to the compiled CSS (which will be refreshed inline).

var watch = require('gulp-watch');
gulp.task('watch', function () {
  watch('./styles/*.less', batch(function (events, done) {
    gulp.start('default', done);
gulp.task('webserver', ['watch'], function () {
      livereload: {
        enable: true,
        filter: function (filename, cb) {
      directoryListing: true,
      open: true

Note: the livereload server automatically handles generated sourcemap files properly so don't worry about them.


MIT - see

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