Using Node.js as a simple web server

Better Stack Team
Updated on March 11, 2024

Node.js comes with a built-in module called http that can be used to create a simple web server. Below is a basic example of how to create a simple HTTP server using Node.js:

const http = require('http');

// Create a server object
const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
  // Set the response header
  res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});

  // Send a response
  res.end('Hello, this is a simple Node.js web server!');

// Specify the port on which the server will listen
const port = 3000;

// Start the server and listen on the specified port
server.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`Server running at <http://localhost>:${port}/`);

In this example:

  • We import the http module.
  • We create a server using http.createServer(). This function takes a callback function with req (request) and res (response) as parameters. Inside the callback, you handle the incoming request and send the response.
  • We set the response header using res.writeHead() to indicate that the response is plain text.
  • We send a simple text response using res.end().
  • We specify the port (in this case, 3000) on which the server will listen.
  • We start the server with server.listen().

Save the code in a file, for example, server.js, and run it using the following command in the terminal:

node server.js

Now, if you open your web browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000/, you should see the message "Hello, this is a simple Node.js web server!".

This is a very basic example, and in a real-world scenario, you might want to use frameworks like Express.js for more features and better organization of your code. However, for a simple use case, the built-in http module is sufficient.

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