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"Cannot set headers..." error happening only on one specific kind of request

See original GitHub issue

Issue Description

I’m using Node 10.1.0, and node-static v0.7.2. The error stack in my logs:

Error [ERR_HTTP_HEADERS_SENT]: Cannot set headers after they are sent to the client
    at ServerResponse.setHeader (_http_outgoing.js:471:11)
    at ServerResponse.writeHead (_http_server.js:231:21)
    at Server.finish (/tmp/site/node_modules/node-static/lib/node-static.js:125:17)
    at finish (/tmp/site/node_modules/node-static/lib/node-static.js:170:14)
    at /tmp/site/node_modules/node-static/lib/node-static.js:337:13
    at streamFile (/tmp/site/node_modules/node-static/lib/node-static.js:382:13)
    at ReadStream.<anonymous> (/tmp/site/node_modules/node-static/lib/node-static.js:375:17)
    at ReadStream.emit (events.js:182:13)
    at fs.close (fs.js:2161:14)
    at FSReqWrap.oncomplete (fs.js:152:20)

I’m experiencing this persistent error every single time a specific kind of request comes in – but only for that, all other requests are fine – which appears to be a request from a Slackbot. Here are the request headers from the specific request:

{"x-forwarded-host":"my.domain.tld","x-forwarded-proto":"https","x-forwarded-port":"443","x-forwarded-for":"::ffff:","if-modified-since":"Mon, 17 Oct 2016 23:58:19 GMT","accept-encoding":"gzip,deflate","accept":"*/*","user-agent":"Slackbot 1.0 (+","host":"my.domain.tld","connection":"close"}

Here’s my code:

"use strict";

var path = require("path");
var http = require("http");
var httpServer = http.createServer(handleRequest);
var nodeStatic = require("node-static");
var staticServer = new nodeStatic.Server(path.join(__dirname,"static"),{
        serverInfo: "my-server",
        cache: 86400,
        gzip: true,

const HSTS = `max-age=${1E9}; includeSubdomains`;


// *********************

function handleRequest(req,res) {
        // unconditional, permanent HTTPS redirect
        if (req.headers["x-forwarded-proto"] !== "https") {
                        "Strict-Transport-Security": HSTS,
                        "Cache-Control": "public, max-age=31536000",
                        Expires: new Date( + 31536000000).toUTCString(),
                        Location: `https://${req.headers["host"]}${req.url}`
        else if (["GET","HEAD"].includes(req.method)) {
                req.addListener("end",function requestEnd(){
        else {
                res.writeHead(404,{ "Strict-Transport-Security": HSTS });

As you can see, my server is running on localhost:8003 – I have a public server on 80/443 that proxies the requests after doing SSL certificate handling, etc.

In my debugging, I have narrowed down that the error happens inside of the staticServer.serve(..) call itself, not in this code shown.

And the res.setHeader(..) call that I make before serve(..) seems to cause the error, though I don’t understand why. If I comment that line of code out, the error stops.

But my understanding is that me calling setHeader(..) only queues up a header to be sent. It’s not supposed to flush headers or anything, only prepare a header for later sending. I don’t have any other calls in that code path to res.writeHead(..) or anything, so I can’t figure out how the error is getting triggered.

I am aware that I could set this response header in the new nodeStatic.Server(..) constructor call. But I don’t want to do it there, because I actually need to be able to set specific headers on a per-request basis under certain conditions, and that approach sets headers for all static-file responses.

Can you help me figure out why, in only this one specific Slackbot request case, my call to setHeader(..) is triggering logic in node-static that causes this error? I’m really perplexed.

Issue Analytics

  • State:closed
  • Created 5 years ago
  • Comments:12

github_iconTop GitHub Comments

getifycommented, May 22, 2018

BTW, another reason I can’t just only set headers in the headers config of the constructor: certain headers have timestamps in them, and those would be calculated at the time the node server starts up, and never be re-calculated. But they actually should be relative to (recalculated at) each request. Otherwise, the longer the server stays alive without a restart, the more inaccurate that header’s timestamp would be. 😦

My only viable option here is to be able to call setHeader(..) upon each request. That’s why I need this problem fixed.

1ns3cur3commented, May 24, 2018

So far, HEAD shouldn’t send headers which GET wouldn’t; which I guess you aren’t.

Other than that, yes, you can call writeHead as many times as you want, if you don’t call setHeaders().

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