How to Run Your Node Application using Reserved Port

Published 2020-05-13

Water Ripple caused by Finger

Firstly, what is reserved port? Reserved port is a set of port numbers ranging from 0 to 1023 which is reserved for privileges services, such as port 80 for HTTP, 443 for HTTPS, 22 for SSH and etc.

Problem Statement

When you're trying to start your Node project using a reserved port in Linux, you will most likely see this error.

ERR Permission denied

This is because ONLY root can run an application using a reserved port in Linux.

Unfortunately, I don't have root user access and this is a pretty normal situation where developers would not be given root access to the server.

Desired Output

What I actually want to achieve here?

  • Able to run my Nodejs project using port 443

Luckily, I found a pretty good solution for my use case which is using setcap


setcap is a Linux command and it basically allows me to add the capability of non-root port binding to the binary. It simply means even though I am not root user, I can run my project using a reserved port.

However, as this capability is added to binary. Which in my use case, I am running Nodejs project, so I should add this capability to my node binary.

You can simply do it with the command below.

If you knew where your nodejs located, you could use the below command and substitute with your nodejs path.

sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' /usr/bin/local/node

/usr/bin/local/node, this should be replaced with your nodejs path.

OR you can simply use which node

which node allows you to find where your node binary located.

sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' `which node`

Lastly, you can now start your project using reserved port.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find something useful.


Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash