A simple http server with built in history-api-fallback behavior

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1.3.05 years ago7 years agoMinified + gzip package size for http-server-spa in KB


A small but fast static file server running on node, with built in history-api-fallback. Useful for serving up single page applications with frontend routing. You can start the server using the command line..
npm install http-server-spa -g
http-server-spa <directory> <fallback> <port>

Requests to the server are categorized as one of two types:

File Request

  • A file request defined by any request url where last part of the path (after being split by the / delimiter) contains a . character.

In the event of a file request the server tries to resolve the given path for example /assets/image.png. If the file exists then it is sent as a response with the appropriate mime type and a status code of 200. If the file does not exist however, then the server responds with the status code 404.

Route Request

  • A route request defined by any request that is not a file request.

In the event of any route request, for example /user/profile, the server immediately responds with the specified fallback file. If the app root (just /) is requested then the server responds with the status code 200. If some other route was requested then the server responds with the status code 301.

Frontend Routing

This approach presumes that your application handles routing on the frontend with javascript. There are many frontend routers out there.. name a few, but if you prefer to do things yourself a frontend router can be reduced to something a simple as a switch statement that gets evaluated every time the url changes:
window.onpopstate = () => {
  switch (window.location.pathname) {
    case '/': loadHomePage(); break;
    case '/profile': loadProfilePage(); break;
history.pushState(null, null, window.location.pathname);