Featured Image - How to serve static file Node and Express Server

Posted on



How to serve static files in Node.js and Express server?


This post will show you how to serve static files using Node.js and the Express server framework.


You should have installed Node.js on your machine and knows the basic of how to create a web application using the Express web framework.

Related Content:
Install Node.js on Windows

At the end of this article, we will be creating a sample web application created using Node.js and an Express server that serves static HTML/CSS/Javascript files.

Below is the sample image of the sample static web application that we are gonna be creating using our Node.js and Express server.

Express Server Sample Static Web Application

Steps on how to serve static files in Node.js and Express Server

1. Set up Express Server

Create a folder where we could create our project files

mkdir sample-static-node-express-web-application
cd sample-static-node-express-web-application

Let’s initialize our application with Node.js so that we can have a package.json file where we could list down our dependencies.

npm init -y 

Install our Express dependencies.

npm install express --save

2. Create our Express Server Web Application

Create an index.js file where we would place the logic of our Express server.

touch index.js 

Edit your index.js and place the following content.

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const PORT = 3000;

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
    res.send('Hello World!');

app.listen(PORT, () => console.log(`Server listening on port: ${PORT}`));

The code above will open a very basic Express server web application that will print “Hello World” on the browser.

3. Configure our package.json script

Edit your package.json file and add the following script to it. Replace any other scripts if there are any.

  "name": "sample-static-node-express-web-application",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "node index.js"
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "express": "^4.18.2"

Now open another terminal and type in the following command to start our web application.

npm start

This should show the following messages.

> sample-static-node-express-web-application@1.0.0 start C:\git\sample-static-node-express-web-application
> node index.js

Server listening on port: 3000

Open your browser and type in the following URL


This should open up the following image.

Sample Node.js Express Hello World

4. Setup our directory structure

Create a directory named “public” inside your project files then copy the sample files from my GitHub repository. The HTML/CSS/Javascript file contains the static file that will create our test web application.

Sample Node and Express Project - File Structure

I won’t be explaining so much about the code in these files as that is not the point of this post but these are the static files that make up our test web application.

5. Serve static files in your Express Server

The Express web framework provides a way to serve static files by adding the following middleware function.


The argument you pass in the express.static() function is the name of the directory where you want Express to load static files which in this case here is our “public” folder.

Edit your index.js file and make sure that it will look like this.

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const PORT = 3000;


app.listen(PORT, () => console.log(`Server listening on port: ${PORT}`));

Now close the currently running node.js terminal by sending the Ctrl+C keyboard command and then restart the application again by executing the below command.

npm start

If everything goes well then you should be able to see the following displayed in your browser.

Express Server Sample Static Web Application

Wrap Up

We have discussed how to display static files like HTML/CSS/Javascript or even images when using Node.js and Express server in this post.

Related Content:
Build REST API Using Node.js, Express, and MongoDB
Using Node.js and React to display a chart of real-time sensor readings

If you like my post then please consider sharing this. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *