How to serve an image using nodejs


Question

I have a logo that is residing at the public/images/logo.gif . Here is my nodejs code.

http.createServer(function(req, res){
  res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain' });
  res.end('Hello World \n');
}).listen(8080, '127.0.0.1');

It works but when I request for localhost:8080/logo.gif then I obviously I don't get the logo.

What changes I need to do to serve an image.

1
125
4/28/2011 7:08:36 PM

2016 Update

Examples with Express and without Express that actually work

This question is over 5 years old but every answer has some problems.

TL;DR

Scroll down for examples to serve an image with:

  1. express.static
  2. express
  3. connect
  4. http
  5. net

All of the examples are also on GitHub: https://github.com/rsp/node-static-http-servers

Test results are available on Travis: https://travis-ci.org/rsp/node-static-http-servers

Introduction

After over 5 years since this question was asked there is only one correct answer by generalhenry but even though that answer has no problems with the code, it seems to have some problems with reception. It was commented that it "doesn't explain much other than how to rely on someone else to get the job done" and the fact how many people have voted this comment up clearly shows that a lot of things need clarification.

First of all, a good answer to "How to serve images using Node.js" is not implementing a static file server from scratch and doing it badly. A good answer is using a module like Express that does the job correctly.

Answering comments that say that using Express "doesn't explain much other than how to rely on someone else to get the job done" it should be noted, that using the http module already relies on someone else to get the job done. If someone doesn't want to rely on anyone to get the job done then at least raw TCP sockets should be used instead - which I do in one of my examples below.

A more serious problem is that all of the answers here that use the http module are broken. They introduce race conditions, insecure path resolution that will lead to path traversal vulnerability, blocking I/O that will completely fail to serve any concurrent requests at all and other subtle problems - they are completely broken as examples of what the question asks about, and yet they already use the abstraction that is provided by the http module instead of using TCP sockets so they don't even do everything from scratch as they claim.

If the question was "How to implement static file server from scratch, as a learning exercise" then by all means answers how to do that should be posted - but even then we should expect them to at least be correct. Also, it is not unreasonable to assume that someone who wants to serve an image might want to serve more images in the future so one could argue that writing a specific custom static file server that can serve only one single file with hard-coded path is somewhat shortsighted. It seems hard to imagine that anyone who searches for an answer on how to serve an image would be content with a solution that serves just a single image instead of a general solution to serve any image.

In short, the question is how to serve an image and an answer to that is to use an appropriate module to do that in a secure, preformant and reliable way that is readable, maintainable and future-proof while using the best practice of professional Node development. But I agree that a great addition to such an answer would be showing a way to implement the same functionality manually but sadly every attempt to do that has failed so far. And that is why I wrote some new examples.

After this short introduction, here are my five examples doing the job on 5 different levels of abstraction.

Minimum functionality

Every example serves files from the public directory and supports the minumum functionality of:

  • MIME types for most common files
  • serves HTML, JS, CSS, plain text and images
  • serves index.html as a default directory index
  • responds with error codes for missing files
  • no path traversal vulnerabilities
  • no race conditions while reading files

I tested every version on Node versions 4, 5, 6 and 7.

express.static

This version uses the express.static built-in middleware of the express module.

This example has the most functionality and the least amount of code.

var path = require('path');
var express = require('express');
var app = express();

var dir = path.join(__dirname, 'public');

app.use(express.static(dir));

app.listen(3000, function () {
    console.log('Listening on http://localhost:3000/');
});

express

This version uses the express module but without the express.static middleware. Serving static files is implemented as a single route handler using streams.

This example has simple path traversal countermeasures and supports a limited set of most common MIME types.

var path = require('path');
var express = require('express');
var app = express();
var fs = require('fs');

var dir = path.join(__dirname, 'public');

var mime = {
    html: 'text/html',
    txt: 'text/plain',
    css: 'text/css',
    gif: 'image/gif',
    jpg: 'image/jpeg',
    png: 'image/png',
    svg: 'image/svg+xml',
    js: 'application/javascript'
};

app.get('*', function (req, res) {
    var file = path.join(dir, req.path.replace(/\/$/, '/index.html'));
    if (file.indexOf(dir + path.sep) !== 0) {
        return res.status(403).end('Forbidden');
    }
    var type = mime[path.extname(file).slice(1)] || 'text/plain';
    var s = fs.createReadStream(file);
    s.on('open', function () {
        res.set('Content-Type', type);
        s.pipe(res);
    });
    s.on('error', function () {
        res.set('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        res.status(404).end('Not found');
    });
});

app.listen(3000, function () {
    console.log('Listening on http://localhost:3000/');
});

connect

This version uses the connect module which is a one level of abstraction lower than express.

This example has similar functionality to the express version but using slightly lower-lever APIs.

var path = require('path');
var connect = require('connect');
var app = connect();
var fs = require('fs');

var dir = path.join(__dirname, 'public');

var mime = {
    html: 'text/html',
    txt: 'text/plain',
    css: 'text/css',
    gif: 'image/gif',
    jpg: 'image/jpeg',
    png: 'image/png',
    svg: 'image/svg+xml',
    js: 'application/javascript'
};

app.use(function (req, res) {
    var reqpath = req.url.toString().split('?')[0];
    if (req.method !== 'GET') {
        res.statusCode = 501;
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        return res.end('Method not implemented');
    }
    var file = path.join(dir, reqpath.replace(/\/$/, '/index.html'));
    if (file.indexOf(dir + path.sep) !== 0) {
        res.statusCode = 403;
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        return res.end('Forbidden');
    }
    var type = mime[path.extname(file).slice(1)] || 'text/plain';
    var s = fs.createReadStream(file);
    s.on('open', function () {
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', type);
        s.pipe(res);
    });
    s.on('error', function () {
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        res.statusCode = 404;
        res.end('Not found');
    });
});

app.listen(3000, function () {
    console.log('Listening on http://localhost:3000/');
});

http

This version uses the http module which is the lowest-level API for HTTP in Node.

This example has similar functionality to the connect version but using even more lower-level APIs.

var path = require('path');
var http = require('http');
var fs = require('fs');

var dir = path.join(__dirname, 'public');

var mime = {
    html: 'text/html',
    txt: 'text/plain',
    css: 'text/css',
    gif: 'image/gif',
    jpg: 'image/jpeg',
    png: 'image/png',
    svg: 'image/svg+xml',
    js: 'application/javascript'
};

var server = http.createServer(function (req, res) {
    var reqpath = req.url.toString().split('?')[0];
    if (req.method !== 'GET') {
        res.statusCode = 501;
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        return res.end('Method not implemented');
    }
    var file = path.join(dir, reqpath.replace(/\/$/, '/index.html'));
    if (file.indexOf(dir + path.sep) !== 0) {
        res.statusCode = 403;
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        return res.end('Forbidden');
    }
    var type = mime[path.extname(file).slice(1)] || 'text/plain';
    var s = fs.createReadStream(file);
    s.on('open', function () {
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', type);
        s.pipe(res);
    });
    s.on('error', function () {
        res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
        res.statusCode = 404;
        res.end('Not found');
    });
});

server.listen(3000, function () {
    console.log('Listening on http://localhost:3000/');
});

net

This version uses the net module which is the lowest-level API for TCP sockets in Node.

This example has some of the functionality of the http version but the minimal and incomplete HTTP protocol has been implemented from scratch. Since it doesn't support chunked encoding it loads the files into memory before serving them to know the size before sending a response because statting the files and then loading would introduce a race condition.

var path = require('path');
var net = require('net');
var fs = require('fs');

var dir = path.join(__dirname, 'public');

var mime = {
    html: 'text/html',
    txt: 'text/plain',
    css: 'text/css',
    gif: 'image/gif',
    jpg: 'image/jpeg',
    png: 'image/png',
    svg: 'image/svg+xml',
    js: 'application/javascript'
};

var server = net.createServer(function (con) {
    var input = '';
    con.on('data', function (data) {
        input += data;
        if (input.match(/\n\r?\n\r?/)) {
            var line = input.split(/\n/)[0].split(' ');
            var method = line[0], url = line[1], pro = line[2];
            var reqpath = url.toString().split('?')[0];
            if (method !== 'GET') {
                var body = 'Method not implemented';
                con.write('HTTP/1.1 501 Not Implemented\n');
                con.write('Content-Type: text/plain\n');
                con.write('Content-Length: '+body.length+'\n\n');
                con.write(body);
                con.destroy();
                return;
            }
            var file = path.join(dir, reqpath.replace(/\/$/, '/index.html'));
            if (file.indexOf(dir + path.sep) !== 0) {
                var body = 'Forbidden';
                con.write('HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden\n');
                con.write('Content-Type: text/plain\n');
                con.write('Content-Length: '+body.length+'\n\n');
                con.write(body);
                con.destroy();
                return;
            }
            var type = mime[path.extname(file).slice(1)] || 'text/plain';
            var s = fs.readFile(file, function (err, data) {
                if (err) {
                    var body = 'Not Found';
                    con.write('HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found\n');
                    con.write('Content-Type: text/plain\n');
                    con.write('Content-Length: '+body.length+'\n\n');
                    con.write(body);
                    con.destroy();
                } else {
                    con.write('HTTP/1.1 200 OK\n');
                    con.write('Content-Type: '+type+'\n');
                    con.write('Content-Length: '+data.byteLength+'\n\n');
                    con.write(data);
                    con.destroy();
                }
            });
        }
    });
});

server.listen(3000, function () {
    console.log('Listening on http://localhost:3000/');
});

Download examples

I posted all of the examples on GitHub with more explanation.

Examples with express.static, express, connect, http and net:

Other project using only express.static:

Tests

Test results are available on Travis:

Everything is tested on Node versions 4, 5, 6, and 7.

See also

Other related answers:

167
5/23/2017 12:34:47 PM

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