Standalone WSGI Containers

There are popular servers written in Python that contain WSGI applications and serve HTTP. These servers stand alone when they run; you can proxy to them from your web server. Note the section on Proxy Setups if you run into issues.


Gunicorn ‘Green Unicorn’ is a WSGI HTTP Server for UNIX. It’s a pre-fork worker model ported from Ruby’s Unicorn project. It supports both eventlet and greenlet. Running a Flask application on this server is quite simple:

gunicorn myproject:app

Gunicorn provides many command-line options – see gunicorn -h. For example, to run a Flask application with 4 worker processes (-w 4) binding to localhost port 4000 (-b

gunicorn -w 4 -b myproject:app


Tornado is an open source version of the scalable, non-blocking web server and tools that power FriendFeed. Because it is non-blocking and uses epoll, it can handle thousands of simultaneous standing connections, which means it is ideal for real-time web services. Integrating this service with Flask is straightforward:

from tornado.wsgi import WSGIContainer
from tornado.httpserver import HTTPServer
from tornado.ioloop import IOLoop
from yourapplication import app

http_server = HTTPServer(WSGIContainer(app))


Gevent is a coroutine-based Python networking library that uses greenlet to provide a high-level synchronous API on top of libevent event loop:

from gevent.wsgi import WSGIServer
from yourapplication import app

http_server = WSGIServer(('', 5000), app)

Twisted Web

Twisted Web is the web server shipped with Twisted, a mature, non-blocking event-driven networking library. Twisted Web comes with a standard WSGI container which can be controlled from the command line using the twistd utility:

twistd web --wsgi

This example will run a Flask application called app from a module named myproject.

Twisted Web supports many flags and options, and the twistd utility does as well; see twistd -h and twistd web -h for more information. For example, to run a Twisted Web server in the foreground, on port 8080, with an application from myproject:

twistd -n web --port 8080 --wsgi

Proxy Setups

If you deploy your application using one of these servers behind an HTTP proxy you will need to rewrite a few headers in order for the application to work. The two problematic values in the WSGI environment usually are REMOTE_ADDR and HTTP_HOST. You can configure your httpd to pass these headers, or you can fix them in middleware. Werkzeug ships a fixer that will solve some common setups, but you might want to write your own WSGI middleware for specific setups.

Here’s a simple nginx configuration which proxies to an application served on localhost at port 8000, setting appropriate headers:

server {
    listen 80;

    server_name _;

    access_log  /var/log/nginx/access.log;
    error_log  /var/log/nginx/error.log;

    location / {
        proxy_redirect     off;

        proxy_set_header   Host             $host;
        proxy_set_header   X-Real-IP        $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header   X-Forwarded-For  $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;

If your httpd is not providing these headers, the most common setup invokes the host being set from X-Forwarded-Host and the remote address from X-Forwarded-For:

from werkzeug.contrib.fixers import ProxyFix
app.wsgi_app = ProxyFix(app.wsgi_app)

Trusting Headers

Please keep in mind that it is a security issue to use such a middleware in a non-proxy setup because it will blindly trust the incoming headers which might be forged by malicious clients.

If you want to rewrite the headers from another header, you might want to use a fixer like this:

class CustomProxyFix(object):

    def __init__(self, app): = app

    def __call__(self, environ, start_response):
        host = environ.get('HTTP_X_FHOST', '')
        if host:
            environ['HTTP_HOST'] = host
        return, start_response)

app.wsgi_app = CustomProxyFix(app.wsgi_app)