mongoose man page

mongoose — lightweight web server


mongoose [config_file] [Options]

mongoose -A htpasswd_file domain_name user_name password


mongoose is small, fast and easy to use web server with CGI, SSL, MD5 authorization, and basic SSI support.

mongoose does not detach from terminal, and uses current working directory as the web root, unless -r option is specified. It is possible to specify multiple ports to listen on. For example, to make mongoose listen on HTTP port 80 and HTTPS port 443, one should start it as: mongoose -s cert.pem -p 80,443s

Unlike other web servers, mongoose does not require CGI scripts be put in a special directory. CGI scripts can be anywhere. CGI (and SSI) files are recognized by the file name pattern. mongoose uses shell-like glob patterns with the following syntax:


Matches everything


Matches everything but slash character, '/'


Matches any character


Matches the end of the string


Matches if pattern on the left side or the right side matches. Pattern on the left side is matched first

All other characters in the pattern match themselves.

If no arguments are given, mongoose searches for a configuration file called "mongoose.conf" in the same directory where mongoose binary is located. Alternatively, a file name could be specified in the command line. Format of the configuration file is the same as for the command line options except that each option must be specified on a separate line, leading dashes for option names must be omitted. Lines beginning with '#' and empty lines are ignored.


-A htpasswd_file domain_name user_name password

Add/edit user's password in the passwords file. Deleting users can be done with any text editor. Functionality is similar to Apache's htdigest utility.

-C cgi_pattern

All files that fully match cgi_pattern are treated as CGI. Default pattern allows CGI files be anywhere. To restrict CGIs to certain directory, use e.g. "-C /cgi-bin/**.cgi". Default: "**.cgi$|**.pl$|**.php$"

-E cgi_environment

Extra environment variables to be passed to the CGI script in addition to standard ones. The list must be comma-separated list of X=Y pairs, like this: "VARIABLE1=VALUE1,VARIABLE2=VALUE2". Default: ""

-G put_delete_passwords_file

PUT and DELETE passwords file. This must be specified if PUT or DELETE methods are used. Default: ""

-I cgi_interpreter

Use cgi_interpreter as a CGI interpreter for all CGI scripts regardless script extension. Mongoose decides which interpreter to use by looking at the first line of a CGI script. Default: "".

-M max_request_size

Maximum HTTP request size in bytes. Default: "16384"

-P protect_uri

Comma separated list of URI=PATH pairs, specifying that given URIs must be protected with respected password files. Default: ""

-R authentication_domain

Authorization realm. Default: ""

-S ssi_pattern

All files that fully match ssi_pattern are treated as SSI. Unknown SSI directives are silently ignored. Currently, two SSI directives are supported, "include" and "exec". Default: "**.shtml$|**.shtm$"

-a access_log_file

Access log file. Default: "", no logging is done.

-d enable_directory_listing

Enable/disable directory listing. Default: "yes"

-e error_log_file

Error log file. Default: "", no errors are logged.

-g global_passwords_file

Location of a global passwords file. If set, per-directory .htpasswd files are ignored, and all requests must be authorised against that file. Default: ""

-i index_files

Comma-separated list of files to be treated as directory index files. Default: "index.html,index.htm,index.cgi"

-l access_control_list

Specify access control list (ACL). ACL is a comma separated list of IP subnets, each subnet is prepended by '-' or '+' sign. Plus means allow, minus means deny. If subnet mask is omitted, like "-", then it means single IP address. Mask may vary from 0 to 32 inclusive. On each request, full list is traversed, and last match wins. Default setting is to allow all. For example, to allow only 192.168/16 subnet to connect, run "mongoose -,+192.168/16". Default: ""

-m extra_mime_types

Extra mime types to recognize, in form "extension1=type1,extension2=type2,...". Extension must include dot. Example: "mongoose -m .cpp=plain/text,.java=plain/text". Default: ""

-p listening_ports

Comma-separated list of ports to listen on. If the port is SSL, a letter 's' must be appeneded, for example, "-p 80,443s" will open port 80 and port 443, and connections on port 443 will be SSL-ed. It is possible to specify an IP address to bind to. In this case, an IP address and a colon must be prepended to the port number. For example, to bind to a loopback interface on port 80 and to all interfaces on HTTPS port 443, use "mongoose -p,443s". Default: "8080"

-r document_root

Location of the WWW root directory. Default: "."

-s ssl_certificate

Location of SSL certificate file. Default: ""

-t num_threads

Number of worker threads to start. Default: "10"

-u run_as_user

Switch to given user's credentials after startup. Default: ""

-w url_rewrite_patterns

Comma-separated list of URL rewrites in the form of "pattern=substitution,..." If the "pattern" matches some prefix of the requested URL, then matched prefix gets substituted with "substitution". For example, "-w /config=/etc,**.doc|**.rtf=/cgi-bin/handle_doc.cgi" will serve all URLs that start with "/config" from the "/etc" directory, and call handle_doc.cgi script for .doc and .rtf file requests. If some pattern matches, no further matching/substitution is performed (first matching pattern wins). Default: ""


mongoose was designed to be embeddable into C/C++ applications. Since the source code is contained in single C file, it is fairly easy to embed it and follow the updates. Please refer to for details.


mongoose -r /var/www -s /etc/cert.pem -p 8080,8043s

Start serving files from /var/www. Listen on port 8080 for HTTP, and 8043 for HTTPS connections. Use /etc/cert.pem as SSL certificate file.

mongoose -l -,+,+

Deny connections from everywhere, allow only IP address and all IP addresses from subnet to connect.

mongoose -w **=/my/script.cgi

Invoke /my/script.cgi for every incoming request, regardless of the URL.


Sergey Lyubka ⟨⟩.


Aug 31, 2010