How to Override the gunicorn Server Header

A sheepicorn, and I swear it was green.

Update (2021-04-02): This is no longer needed since the release of gunicorn 20.1.0, which no longer sends the version in the Server header.

In all current releases of the popular WSGI server gunicorn, the Server header reports the complete version of gunicorn. I spotted this on my new project DB Buddy. For example, with httpie to check the response headers:

$ http -ph
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: gunicorn/20.0.4

Reporting the version of server software is not recommended as it is a security risk. Fastly list Server and other vanity headers first in their article The headers we don’t want.

In many setups, gunicorn’s Server header will be overwritten. For example if you’re using Nginx, it will replace Server with its own version (disable that with its server_tokens directive). But my app is running on Heroku which preserves the gunicorn Server header.

Because of the security risk, there has been a long ongoing gunicorn issue to remove the version from the gunicorn header, leaving it as Server: gunicorn. The Pull Request to remove the version was merged nearly a year ago but is still pending release. Until then, we can use the workaround suggested in the original issue: monkey-patch the SERVER_SOFTWARE attribute that gunicorn uses to fill in the Server header.

I’m configuring gunicorn with a submodule of my app’s package, db_buddy/ So this is where I add the recommended monkey-patch:

# Gunicorn configuration file
import gunicorn

max_requests = 1000
max_requests_jitter = 50

log_file = "-"

if gunicorn.version_info != (20, 0, 4):  # pragma: no cover
    raise ValueError(
        "This monkey patch will probably need removing on later versions due"
        + " to release of"
gunicorn.SERVER_SOFTWARE = "gunicorn"

I added a version check before the monkey-patch. I normally do such a check when monkey-patching to add behaviour expected in a future upstream release.

(N.B. I use max_requests to avoid memory leaks.)

I run gunicorn like this:

$ gunicorn --config python:db_buddy.gunicorn db_buddy.wsgi

And indeed I can now see the changed Server header:

$ http localhost:8000 -ph
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: gunicorn


I like tests, so I also have test coverage for my gunicorn config file. gunicorn provides the ability to validate its configuration with gunicorn --check-config. To avoid the need to run this command separately to my tests, and to ensure its use of the config file appears in my test coverage, I invoke the internal gunicorn CLI function. I then assert that it tries to exit with an expected status code:

import sys
from unittest import mock

import gunicorn
import pytest
from import run

from db_buddy.test import SimpleTestCase

class GunicornConfigTests(SimpleTestCase):
    def test_config_imports(self):
        argv = [
        with pytest.raises(SystemExit) as excinfo, mock.patch.object(sys, "argv", argv):

        assert excinfo.value.args[0] == 0


I hope this helps you configure your gunicorn,


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