Your own web server for happy HTTP testing

R build status

Lightweight web apps for testing. Built using the civetweb embedded web server.


  • Complete web app framework, define handlers for HTTP request in R.
  • Flexible path matching, with parameters and regular expressions.
  • Built in templating system using glue or bring your own template engine.
  • Middleware to parse JSON, multipart and URL encoded request bodies.
  • A web app is just an R object. It can be saved to disk, copied to another R process, etc.
  • A web app is extensible, by adding new routes and middleware to it.
  • Helper functions for sending JSON, files from disk, etc.
  • Comes with an app similar to the API, so often you don’t need to write your own web app.
  • The web server runs in the R process, so it has no problems with local firewalls.
  • Write your own app for your custom test cases.
  • Run one web app per test suite, per test file or per test case.
  • Multi-threaded web server supports concurrent HTTP requests.
  • Limit download speed to simulate low bandwidth.

Optional dependencies


Once on CRAN, install the package as usual:



Start a web app at the beginning of your tests or test file, and stop it after. Here is an example with the testthat package. Suppose you want to test that your get_hello() function can query an API:

web <- setup({
  app <- presser::new_app()
  app$get("/hello/:user", function(req, res) {
    res$send(paste0("Hello ", req$params$user, "!"))

test_that("can use hello API", {
  url <- web$url("/hello/Gabor")
  expect_equal(get_hello(url), "Hello Gabor!")

When testing HTTP clients you can often use the built in httpbin_app():

httpbin <- setup(presser::new_app_process(presser::httpbin_app()))

test_that("HTTP errors are caught", {
  url <- httpbin$url("/status/404")
  resp <- httr::GET(url)
  expect_error(httr::stop_for_status(resp), class = "http_404")


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