// Tutorial //

How To Deliver HTML Files with Express

Published on September 21, 2020 · Updated on April 28, 2021
Default avatar
By Chris Sev
Sr Developer Advocate
How To Deliver HTML Files with Express

Introduction

In Node.js and Express applications, res.sendFile() can be used to deliver files. Delivering HTML files using Express can be useful when you need a solution for serving static pages.

Note: Prior to Express 4.8.0, res.sendfile() was supported. This lowercase version of res.sendFile() has since been deprecated.

In this article, you will learn how to use res.sendFile().

Prerequisites

To complete this tutorial, you will need:

This tutorial was verified with Node v16.0.0, npm v7.11.1, and express v4.17.1.

Step 1 – Setting Up the Project

First, open your terminal window and create a new project directory:

  1. mkdir express-sendfile-example

Then, navigate to the newly created directory:

  1. cd express-sendfile-example

At this point, you can initialize a new npm project:

  1. npm init -y

Next, you will need to install the express package:

  1. npm install express@4.17.1

At this point, you have a new project ready to use Express.

Create a new server.js file and open it with your code editor:

server.js
const express = require('express');

const app = express();
const port = process.env.PORT || 8080;

// sendFile will go here

app.listen(port);
console.log('Server started at http://localhost:' + port);

Revisit your terminal window and run your application:

  1. node server.js

After verifying your project is working as expected, you can use res.sendFile().

Step 2 – Using res.sendFile()

Revisit server.js with your code editor and add path, .get() and res.sendFile():

server.js
const express = require('express');
const path = require('path');

const app = express();
const port = process.env.PORT || 8080;

// sendFile will go here
app.get('/', function(req, res) {
  res.sendFile(path.join(__dirname, '/index.html'));
});

app.listen(port);
console.log('Server started at http://localhost:' + port);

When a request is made to the server, an index.html file is served.

Create a new index.html file and open it with your code editor:

index.html
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <title>Sample Site</title>
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.3.1/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-ggOyR0iXCbMQv3Xipma34MD+dH/1fQ784/j6cY/iJTQUOhcWr7x9JvoRxT2MZw1T" crossorigin="anonymous">
  <style>
    body { padding-top: 50px; }
  </style>
</head>
<body>

  <div class="container">
    <div class="jumbotron">
      <h1>res.sendFile() Works!</h1>
    </div>
  </div>
    
</body>
</html>

This code will display the message: res.sendFile() Works!.

Note: This tutorial makes use of BootstrapCDN for styling, but it is not required.

Save your changes. Then, open your terminal window again and re-run the server.

  1. node server.js

With the server running, visit http://localhost:8080 in a web browser:

Screenshot of index.html in a web browser displaying the message: res.sendFile() Works!

Your application now uses res.sendFile() to serve HTML files.

Conclusion

In this article, you learned how to use res.sendFile().

Continue your learning with Learn to Use the Express 4.0 Router and How To Retrieve URL and POST Parameters with Express.

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About the authors
Default avatar
Chris Sev

author

Sr Developer Advocate

Founder of scotch.io. Slapping the keyboard until good things happen.

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Step 1 – Setting Up the Project. First, open your terminal window and create a new project directory: mkdir express-sendfile-example. Copy. Then, navigate to the newly created directory: … Step 2 – Using res. sendFile() Revisit server.js with your code editor and add path , .get() and res.sendFile() : server.js.

Step 1 – Setting Up the Project. First, open your terminal window and create a new project directory: mkdir express-send file-example. Copy. Then, navigate to the newly created directory: …

Step 2 – Using res. sendFile() Revisit server.js with your code editor and add path , .get() and res.sendFile() : server.js.

Hi Chris,

Just wanted to know if the concatenation of __dirname and filename was intentional. Does that not defeat the purpose of path.join which is supposed to join them regardless of which operating system its being run on?

hmm, can I run a WordPress site (php) in the same way in the same directory as my NodeJS Express apps? Like WordPress in /var/www/example.com/wordpress and my nodejs app (using a JSON Rest API from WordPress) in /var/www/example.com/wordpress/nodejsapp1 And if so, how would I configure that? I’m on Ubuntu 20.04 with NGINX and php-fpm 7.4.