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Miscellaneous HTTP gimmicks


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Author's HTTP/S toolbox for Node.js. A compact collection of helpers especially applicable to streaming, proxying, etc. Evolved from (and meant as a DRY replacement for) a number of common Node patterns. Currently focused on debuggability rather than performance.

Set up

git clone git:// or npm install http-util and require:

var httpUtil = require("http-util");
console.log("HTTP Util version: " + httpUtil.version);


The module's public API consists primarily of the request and forward methods which are described here. An annotated version of the source is also maintained as a complete reference.

request (url, rspOrStr[, opts]) → http.ClientRequest

Make a request to some given host (the 'origin-server') and write received data into given rspOrStr - a stream.Writable or http.ServerResponse.

The url parameter is the absolute URL of the resource to be requested. This may be a plain string or a URL object.

The opts parameter indicates further options. None of these is mandatory as they all default to sane values. [Note that in the following, 'response' does not refer to the given rspOrStr but rather at the response received from the origin-server. This isn't accessible to API consumers so they need not be concerned with it. It nevertheless referred to, for clarification purposes. A request argument passed as rspOrStr will always be refered to as 'request-from-client'.]

  • method: Request method - an HTTP verb. 'GET' by default
  • headers: A hash of request headers. This may empty as 'host' (the only mandatory header in HTTP/1.1) will be derived from given url if absent. Special headers that should be noted are described in Node docs.
  • maxContentLength: The maximum allowed length for the received content. Lengthier responses will be truncated. Optional (& experimental) - no max by default.
  • followRedirects: Indicates whether redirects should be silently followed, up until the request reaches the origin-server (instead of interpreting the first redirect as a response-to-client). Enabling this will buffer the request's content so that it may be resent on subsequent, post-redirect requests. (This should especially be noted in cases where the request carries sizable content.) False by default.
  • onResponse: Invoked, only once, when a response is first received. It will be passed the response's status-code and headers. In the case where rspOrStr is an http.ServerResponse, the caller may modify the received headers or inject new ones prior to them being written
  • onResponseContent: Invoked, only once, either when response content is first received or, if there's no content for the response, when the response ends. Note that the handler is invoked before the content is written to given stream / response-to-client. The received data chunk (if there is one involved) is passed to the handler.
  • onClose: Invoked when the underlying connection to the origin-server is terminated before the response ends or is able to flush. The caller may choose to abort the request in case it hasn't already ended.
  • onError: Invoked in the event of a response-related error. The caller may choose to abort the request in case it hasn't already ended. Note that the caller should primarily listen for errors on the returned http.ClientRequest object.

Returns the request made - an http.ClientRequest. This is in line with Node's http.request: The request object may be used to push content to the origin-server, for example as part of a POST. The caller should always end() it (whether it writes any content to the body or not). In the event of an error during the request (be that with DNS resolution, TCP level errors, or actual HTTP parse errors) it will emit an 'error' event which the caller is expected to handle.

forward (request, response[, opts])

Forward a client request (http.IncomingMessage) to indicated server (the 'origin-server') and write received data into given response (http.ServerResponse). Particularly applicable in proxying scenarios

The opts parameter includes all options applicable to the request method with the (nonmandatory) addition of a url option:

  • In absense of this, requests will be forwarded to the original URL, i.e. request.url. Suitable for authoring a forward proxy.
  • If opts.url is present, the request's original URL will be overriden, effectively forwarding to a different host. This will also force an appropriately modified 'host' header derived from the given URL. The caller may enforce a specific 'host' by use of opts.headers. This method of forwarding is suited to authoring a reverse proxy.

It should be noted that in the case of forward, the headers provided by use of opts.headers act as overrides. That is to say, the forwarded request will include all of the original request's headers, either extended or overriden by those present in opts.headers.


Forward proxy

var http = require("http"),
    httpUtil = require("http-util");
http.createServer(function (req, rsp) {
    httpUtil.forward(req, rsp);

Forward proxy with custom logic

Fake Googlebot:

var http = require("http"),
    httpUtil = require("http-util");
http.createServer(function (req, rsp) {
    httpUtil.forward(req, rsp, {
        headers: {
         "user-agent": "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"

Disallow inferior search engines:

var http = require("http"),
    parseUrl = require("url").parse,
    httpUtil = require("http-util");
http.createServer(function (req, rsp) {
    httpUtil.forward(req, rsp, {
        url: req.url.replace("bing", "google"),
        onResponse: function (statusCode, headers) {
            headers["friendly-tip"] = "use google";

Reverse proxy


Fetching a resource

Download google's front-page HTML. Note the necessary followRedirects option.

var httpUtil = require("http-util"),
    file = require("fs").createWriteStream(__dirname + "/google.html", { flags: "w" });
httpUtil.request("", file, {
    followRedirects: true


make test or npm test.


Licensed and freely distributed under the MIT License (LICENSE.txt).

Copyright (c) 2012-2016 Alex Lambiris