How to Force Specific Mime Types for Python’s http.server

What Will You Learn?

By diving into this tutorial, you will master the art of setting specific MIME types for files served using Python’s http.server. Gain insights into customizing MIME types to suit your requirements and enhance your web server capabilities.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When utilizing Python’s in-built http.server, there arises a need to precisely define the MIME type of certain files. While the default behavior associates file extensions with MIME types, situations may demand more nuanced control over content types. This is where subclassing the SimpleHTTPRequestHandler class comes into play, allowing you to tailor MIME type assignments according to your preferences.


from http.server import SimpleHTTPRequestHandler, HTTPServer

class CustomRequestHandler(SimpleHTTPRequestHandler):
    def guess_type(self, path):
        # Add custom mime type mappings here if needed
        return super().guess_type(path)

# Specify port number and directory as needed
port = 8000
directory = '.'

server_address = ('', port)
handler = CustomRequestHandler

with HTTPServer(server_address, handler) as httpd:
    print('Server running at localhost:' + str(port))

# Copyright PHD


In the provided code snippet: – Create a custom request handler by subclassing SimpleHTTPRequestHandler. – Override the guess_type method for additional or modified MIME type mappings. – Initiate an HTTP server on a specified port with our customized request handler.

  1. How do I add new MIME type mappings?

  2. To include additional MIME type mappings, extend the guess_type method in your custom request handler class.

  3. Can I serve multiple directories with different MIME types?

  4. Certainly! Modify the custom request handler logic based on distinct directories or file paths.

  5. Is it possible to restrict access based on file types?

  6. Yes, implement checks within your custom request handler before serving specific file types.

  7. How do I handle errors related to incorrect MIME types?

  8. Customize error handling within your custom request handler class based on conditions like unsupported file formats.

  9. Can I use third-party libraries for more advanced functionality?

  10. Absolutely! Integrate external libraries for enhanced features in handling HTTP responses.

  11. Will modifying MIME types affect server performance?

  12. Typically, changing or adding new MIME type mappings has a negligible impact on server performance unless dealing with extremely large-scale applications.

  13. Is there documentation available for all supported standard media types in Python’s http.server module?

  14. Yes, refer to official Python documentation or resources like Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) for comprehensive lists of standard media (MIME) types used on the web.


This comprehensive guide delved into enforcing specific MIME types while leveraging Python’s built-in http.server. By extending and personalizing a basic HTTP server implementation through subclassing, users can wield precise control over served content. Embrace experimentation to deepen your comprehension of web servers in Python!

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