Building CivetWeb

Embedded C/C++ web server

Building CivetWeb

This guide covers the build instructions for the stand-alone web server. See for information on extending an existing C or C++ application. A brief overview of the source code files can be found in as well.

Where to get the source code?

The latest development version can be found at

Tested and released versions can be found at

Building for Windows

Using Visual Studio

Open the VS/civetweb.sln in Visual Studio. To include SSL support, you may have to add an extra library for the cryptography support. You might wish to use yaSSL. However, it is GPL licensed or uses a commercial license. See for more information. Alternatively, you might wish to use OpenSSL. See for more information.

Using MinGW-w64 or TDM-GCC

In the start menu locate and run the “Run terminal” batch file. For TDM-GCC this is named “MinGW Command Prompt”. Navigate to the civetweb sources directory and run:

mingw32-make CC=gcc

Using Qt Creator

Open the Qt Designer project in the Qt folder

Using CMake

Except for the components in the third_party folder (e.g., Lua and Duktape), CivetWeb can also be built with CMake. CMake can be used for all supported operating systems.

Building for Linux, BSD, and OSX

Using Make

make help

Get a list of all supported make option

make build
make WITH_ALL=1

Compile the code. Using the option “WITH_ALL=1” enables all optional features.

make install

Install on the system, Linux only.

make lib WITH_IPV6=1
make clean slib WITH_LUA=1 WITH_WEBSOCKET=1

Build the static and shared libraries. The additional make options configure the library just as it would the application.

The slib option should be done on a separate clean build as position independent code (PIC) is required for it. Trying to run it after building the static library or the server will result in a link error.

make clean

Clean up files generated during the build

Setting build options

Make options can be set on the command line with the make command like so.

make build WITH_LUA=1
Make Options Description
WITH_LUA=1 build with Lua support
WITH_DUKTAPE=1 build with server-side JavaScript support
WITH_IPV6=1 with IPV6 support
WITH_WEBSOCKET=1 build with web socket support
WITH_X_DOM_SOCKET=1 build with unix domain socket support
WITH_SERVER_STATS=1 build with support for server statistics
WITH_EXPERIMENTAL=1 include experimental features (version depending)
WITH_ALL=1 Include all of the above features
WITH_DEBUG=1 build with GDB debug support
WITH_CPP=1 build libraries with c++ classes
CONFIG_FILE=file use ‘file’ as the config file
CONFIG_FILE2=file use ‘file’ as the backup config file
HTMLDIR=/path place to install initial web pages
DOCUMENT_ROOT=/path default document root
PORTS=8080 listening ports override when installing use versioned SSL library system versioned CRYPTO library
PREFIX=/usr/local sets the install directory
COPT='-DNO_SSL' method to insert compile flags

Note that the WITH_* options used for make are not identical to the preprocessor defines in the source code - usually USE_* is used there.

Changing PREFIX

To change the target destination pass the PREFIX option to the command make install (not make build). Example usage:

$ make build
$ make -n install PREFIX=/opt/civetweb

Note: The -n corresponds to the --dry-run option (it does not make any changes): You can see where make install would install. Example output of the above command:

$ make -n install PREFIX=/opt/civetweb
install -d -m 755  "/opt/civetweb/share/doc/civetweb"
install -m 644 resources/itworks.html /opt/civetweb/share/doc/civetweb/index.html
install -m 644 resources/civetweb_64x64.png /opt/civetweb/share/doc/civetweb/
install -d -m 755  "/opt/civetweb/etc"
install -m 644 resources/civetweb.conf  "/opt/civetweb/etc/"
sed -i 's#^document_root.*$#document_root /opt/civetweb/share/doc/civetweb#' "/opt/civetweb/etc/civetweb.conf"
sed -i 's#^listening_ports.*$#listening_ports 8080#' "/opt/civetweb/etc/civetweb.conf"
install -d -m 755  "/opt/civetweb/share/doc/civetweb"
install -m 644 *.md "/opt/civetweb/share/doc/civetweb"
install -d -m 755 "/opt/civetweb/bin"
install -m 755 civetweb "/opt/civetweb/bin/"

If the output looks good: Just remove the -n option to actually install the software on your system.

Setting compile flags

Compile flags can be set using the COPT make option like so.

make build COPT="-DNDEBUG -DNO_CGI"
Compile Flags Description
NDEBUG strip off all debug code
DEBUG build debug version (very noisy)
NO_ATOMICS do not use atomic functions, use locks instead
NO_CACHING disable caching functionality
NO_CGI disable CGI support
NO_FILES do not serve files from a directory
NO_FILESYSTEMS completely disable filesystems usage (requires NO_FILES)
NO_NONCE_CHECK disable nonce check for HTTP digest authentication
NO_RESPONSE_BUFFERING send all mg_response_header_* immediately instead of buffering until the mg_response_header_send call
NO_SSL disable SSL functionality
NO_SSL_DL link against system libssl library
NO_THREAD_NAME do not set a name for pthread
USE_ALPN enable Application-Level-Protocol-Negotiation, required for HTTP2
USE_DUKTAPE enable server-side JavaScript (using Duktape library)
USE_HTTP2 enable HTTP2 support (experimental, not reccomended for production)
USE_IPV6 enable IPv6 support
USE_LUA enable Lua support
USE_SERVER_STATS enable server statistics support
USE_STACK_SIZE define stack size instead of using system default
USE_WEBSOCKET enable websocket support
USE_X_DOM_SOCKET enable unix domain socket support
USE_ZLIB enable on-the-fly compression of files (using zlib)
MG_EXPERIMENTAL_INTERFACES include experimental interfaces
MG_LEGACY_INTERFACE include obsolete interfaces (candidates for deletion)
SQLITE_DISABLE_LFS disables large files (Lua only)
SSL_ALREADY_INITIALIZED do not initialize libcrypto
OPENSSL_API_1_0 Use OpenSSL V1.0.x interface
OPENSSL_API_1_1 Use OpenSSL V1.1.x interface
OPENSSL_API_3_0 Use OpenSSL V3.x interface
USE_MBEDTLS Use MbedTLS (cannot be combined with OPENSSL_API_*)
BUILD_DATE define as a string to be used as build id instead of DATE

Note: If make is used (with this Makefile), you should not pass the USE_<feature> flags using COPT, but use the WITH_<feature> syntax above, since additional features may also use additional source code files.

Cross Compiling

Take total control with CC, COPT and TARGET_OS as make options. TARGET_OS is used to determine some compile details as will as code function. TARGET_OS values should be be one found in resources/

make CC=arm-none-linux-gnueabi-gcc COPT="-march=armv7-a  -mfpu=vfp -mfloat-abi=softfp" TARGET_OS=FROG

Cocoa DMG Packaging (OSX Only)

Use the alternate Makefile.osx to do the build. The entire build has to be done using Makefile.osx because additional compile and link options are required. This Makefile has all the same options as the other one plus one additional package rule.

make -f Makefile.osx package

Building with Buildroot

Buildroot is a tool for creating cross compiled file systems. Including Civetweb in buildroot is fairly easy. There is even support for various build options.

  1. First, check if it already there.
    • In buildroot, make menuconfig
    • Package Selection for the target —>
    • Networking applications —>
    • civetweb
  2. If not there, just add it
    • copy and from Civetweb’s contrib/buildroot/ to Buildroot’s package/civetweb/ directory.
    • In Buildroot’s *package/, insert the following line in were you will know how to find it in the menu.

      source "package/civetweb/"

Building on Android

This is a small guide to help you run civetweb on Android, originally tested on the HTC Wildfire. Note: You do not need root access to run civetweb on Android.

  • Download the source from the Downloads page.
  • Download the Android NDK from
  • Run /path-to-ndk/ndk-build -C /path-to-civetweb/resources That should generate civetweb/lib/armeabi/civetweb
  • Using the adb tool (you need to have Android SDK installed for that), push the generated civetweb binary to /data/local folder on device.
  • From adb shell, navigate to /data/local and execute ./civetweb.
  • To test if the server is running fine, visit your web-browser and navigate to You should see the Index of / page.


  • jni stands for Java Native Interface. Read up on Android NDK if you want to know how to interact with the native C functions of civetweb in Android Java applications.