Start a static web server.
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grunt-contrib-connect Build Status

Start a connect web server.

Getting Started

This plugin requires Grunt ~0.4.0

If you haven't used Grunt before, be sure to check out the Getting Started guide, as it explains how to create a Gruntfile as well as install and use Grunt plugins. Once you're familiar with that process, you may install this plugin with this command:

npm install grunt-contrib-connect --save-dev

Once the plugin has been installed, it may be enabled inside your Gruntfile with this line of JavaScript:


Connect task

Run this task with the grunt connect command.

Note that this server only runs as long as grunt is running. Once grunt's tasks have completed, the web server stops. This behavior can be changed with the keepalive option, and can be enabled ad-hoc by running the task like grunt connect:keepalive.

This task was designed to be used in conjunction with another task that is run immediately afterwards, like the grunt-contrib-qunit plugin qunit task.



Type: Integer Default: 8000

The port on which the webserver will respond. The task will fail if the specified port is already in use. You can use the special values 0 or '?' to use a system-assigned port.


Type: String Default: 'localhost'

The hostname the webserver will use.

Setting it to '*' will make the server accessible from anywhere.


Type: String Default: '.'

The base (or root) directory from which files will be served. Defaults to the project Gruntfile's directory.


Type: Boolean Default: false

Keep the server alive indefinitely. Note that if this option is enabled, any tasks specified after this task will never run. By default, once grunt's tasks have completed, the web server stops. This option changes that behavior.

This option can also be enabled ad-hoc by running the task like grunt connect:targetname:keepalive


Type: Function Default:

function(connect, options) {
  return [
    // Serve static files.
    // Make empty directories browsable.,

Lets you add in your own Connect middlewares. This option expects a function that returns an array of middlewares. See the project Gruntfile and project unit tests for a usage example.

Usage examples

Basic Use

In this example, grunt connect (or more verbosely, grunt connect:server) will start a static web server at http://localhost:9001/, with its base path set to the www-root directory relative to the gruntfile, and any tasks run afterwards will be able to access it.

// Project configuration.
  connect: {
    server: {
      options: {
        port: 9001,
        base: 'www-root'

If you want your web server to use the default options, just omit the options object. You still need to specify a target (uses_defaults in this example), but the target's configuration object can otherwise be empty or nonexistent. In this example, grunt connect (or more verbosely, grunt connect:uses_defaults) will start a static web server using the default options.

// Project configuration.
  connect: {
    uses_defaults: {}

Multiple Servers

You can specify multiple servers to be run alone or simultaneously by creating a target for each server. In this example, running either grunt connect:site1 or grunt connect:site2 will start the appropriate web server, but running grunt connect will run both. Note that any server for which the keepalive option is specified will prevent any task or target from running after it.

// Project configuration.
  connect: {
    site1: {
      options: {
        port: 9000,
        base: 'www-roots/site1'
    site2: {
      options: {
        port: 9001,
        base: 'www-roots/site2'

Roll Your Own

Like the Basic Use example, this example will start a static web server at http://localhost:9001/, with its base path set to the www-root directory relative to the gruntfile. Unlike the other example, this is done by creating a brand new task. in fact, this plugin isn't even installed!

// Project configuration.
grunt.initConfig({ /* Nothing needed here! */ });

// After running "npm install connect --save-dev" to add connect as a dev
// dependency of your project, you can require it in your gruntfile with:
var connect = require('connect');

// Now you can define a "connect" task that starts a webserver, using the
// connect lib, with whatever options and configuration you need:
grunt.registerTask('connect', 'Start a custom static web server.', function() {
  grunt.log.writeln('Starting static web server in "www-root" on port 9001.');

Release History

  • 2013-04-10   v0.3.0   Add ability to listen on system-assigned port.
  • 2013-03-07   v0.2.0   Upgrade connect dependency.
  • 2013-02-17   v0.1.2   Ensure Gruntfile.js is included on npm.
  • 2013-02-15   v0.1.1   First official release for Grunt 0.4.0.
  • 2013-01-18   v0.1.1rc6   Updating grunt/gruntplugin dependencies to rc6. Changing in-development grunt/gruntplugin dependency versions from tilde version ranges to specific versions.
  • 2013-01-09   v0.1.1rc5   Updating to work with grunt v0.4.0rc5.
  • 2012-11-01   v0.1.0   Work in progress, not yet officially released.

Task submitted by "Cowboy" Ben Alman

This file was generated on Thu Apr 11 2013 00:01:44.