This short guide will show you how you can turn Chrome into a web server that can be accessed across your network and even the Internet.
Using a small, free extension you can turn Chrome from a web browser into a web browser and server. It’s super helpful for web development and perhaps the easiest and fastest way to get a web server up and running. Although it’s not going to replace a full fledged server with a database, PHP etc, it does have quite a few features – which you can read about here.
One of the particularly helpful features is that this works in Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS – any operating system that Chrome works with.
- Start by heading over to the Chrome Web Server extension page on the Chrome Web Store. Install it as you would any other extension by clicking the Add to Chrome button.
- Launch Web Server from your list of Chrome Apps (enter chrome://apps in the Chrome address bar to get the full list).
- The web server will instantly start and a window will appear with a bunch of options. The first thing you’ll need to do is specify a web directory – the place where all of the html and related files you want to use with your web server are stored. To do so, click the CHOOSE FOLDER button.
- Navigate to the folder that contains the files that make up your web site, select it and click the Select Folder button.
- Now review the Options and make any changes you see fit. Then click the Show Advanced Options link.
- Again, make any changes you see fit. As you’d expect, you can of course change these at any point in the future.
- You can view your web site by visiting the URL http://localhost:8887 or http://127.0.0.1:8887
- If you enabled the Accessible on local network option you’ll be able to access the web server from other computers/devices on your network by entering its IP address followed by :8887 (the default port). For help determining your IP address, see this guide for Windows 10, or this one for older versions of Windows, or this one for macOS.
- That’s it! To stop the web server, just close its window.
If you want to run a much more advanced web server on your Windows PC, we have a guide that explains how to easily install WordPress in Windows.