If you use just procedural geometries and don't load any textures, webpages should work straight from the file system, just double-click on HTML file in a file manager and it should appear working in the browser (you'll see file:///yourFile.html in the address bar).

Content loaded from external files

If you load models or textures from external files, due to browsers' [link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same_origin_policy same origin policy] security restrictions, loading from a file system will fail with a security exception.

There are two ways to solve this:

  1. Change security for local files in a browser. This allows you to access your page as: file:///yourFile.html
  2. Run files from a local web server. This allows you to access your page as: http://localhost/yourFile.html

If you use option 1, be aware that you may open yourself to some vulnerabilities if using the same browser for a regular web surfing. You may want to create a separate browser profile / shortcut used just for local development to be safe. Let's go over each option in turn.

Run a local server

Many programming languages have simple HTTP servers built in. They are not as full featured as production servers such as [link:https://www.apache.org/ Apache] or [link:https://nginx.org NGINX], however they should be sufficient for testing your three.js application.

Plugins for popular code editors

Some code editors have plugins which will spawn a simple server on demand.


[link:https://greggman.github.io/servez Servez] is a simple server with a GUI.

Node.js http-server

Node.js has a simple HTTP server package. To install:

npm install http-server -g

To run (from your local directory):

http-server . -p 8000

Python server

If you have [link:http://python.org/ Python] installed, it should be enough to run this from a command line (from your working directory):

//Python 2.x python -m SimpleHTTPServer //Python 3.x python -m http.server

This will serve files from the current directory at localhost under port 8000, i.e in the address bar type:


Ruby server

If you have Ruby installed, you can get the same result running this instead:

ruby -r webrick -e "s = WEBrick::HTTPServer.new(:Port => 8000, :DocumentRoot => Dir.pwd); trap('INT') { s.shutdown }; s.start"

PHP server

PHP also has a built-in web server, starting with php 5.4.0:

php -S localhost:8000


Lighttpd is a very lightweight general purpose webserver. We'll cover installing it on OSX with HomeBrew here. Unlike the other servers discussed here, lighttpd is a full fledged production ready server.

  1. Install it via homebrew brew install lighttpd
  2. Create a configuration file called lighttpd.conf in the directory where you want to run your webserver. There is a sample [link:http://redmine.lighttpd.net/projects/lighttpd/wiki/TutorialConfiguration here].
  3. In the conf file, change the server.document-root to the directory you want to serve files from.
  4. Start it with lighttpd -f lighttpd.conf
  5. Navigate to http://localhost:3000/ and it will serve static files from the directory you chose.


If you are using Microsoft IIS as web server. Please add a MIME type settings regarding .fbx extension before loading.

File name extension: fbx MIME Type: text/plain

By default, IIS blocks .fbx, .obj files downloads. You have to configure IIS to enable these kind of files can be download.

Other simple alternatives are [link:http://stackoverflow.com/q/12905426/24874 discussed here] on Stack Overflow.