How to Simulate Long HTTP Requests

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It happens less frequently these days but there are times when we need to accommodate for a HTTP request timing out. The service could be down, under heavy traffic, or just poorly coded, or any host of other issues.

Whenever I need to simulate a long HTTP request, I use a bit of PHP to make it happen:

<?php
        // Don't resolve this request for 5 seconds
        sleep(5);
        
        // A generic response
        echo 'This is the response!';

        // ... or hit a URL to make the case more realistic
        echo file_get_contents('https://website.tld/endpoint');
?>

With that script created, I make PHP start a server so I can make the request locally:

php -S localhost:8000

Now I can hit http://localhost:8000 and get the long request I want!

There are a number of ways you can accomplish these long form requests but this has always been a favorite of mine!

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Discussion

  1. That’s cool! Thanks for the tip.
    I could see having it take a query param to set the sleep time arbitrarily for different scenarios you’re simulating.

  2. Charlie

    Thanks David always love your content.
    Although in this particular case i fail to understand a practical use, could you share an example?

    thanks !

  3. Dima

    And here is concise way to do it in NodeJs, the server will wait for 3 seconds before response:

    const http = require('http')
    
    const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
      setTimeout(() => {
        res.writeHead(200)
        res.end('Hello, World!')
      }, 3000)
    })
    server.listen(8080)
    

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!