Serving Flow

If you come to this page, most likely you have already built some cool stuff with Jina and now want to share it to the world. This cookbook will guide you from basic serving for demo purpose to advanced serving in production.

Minimum working example

from jina import Flow

f = Flow(protocol='grpc', port_expose=12345)
with f:
from jina import Client, Document

c = Client(protocol='grpc', port=12345)'/', Document())


A Flow is a service by nature. Though implicitly, you are already using it as a service.

When you start a Flow and call .post() inside the context, a jina.Client object is created and used for communication.


Many times we need to use Flow & Client in a more explicit way, often due to one of the following reasons:

  • Flow and Client are on different machines: one on GPU, one on CPU;

  • Flow and Client have different lifetime: one lives longer, one lives shorter;

  • Multiple Client want to access one Flow;

  • One Client want to interleave its access to multiple Flow;

  • Client is browser/curl/Postman.

Before this cookbook, you are mostly using Flow as an implicit service. In the sequel, we will show you how to serve Flow in an explicit C/S style.

Supported communication protocols

Jina supports grpc, websocket, http three communication protocols between Flow and Client.

Protocol Requirements Description Performance on large data
grpc - Default gRPC protocol, mainly for streaming data Super
websocket pip install "jina[client,http]" WebSocket protocol, used in frontend language that supports websocket, mainly for streaming data Super
http pip install "jina[client,http]" HTTP protocol, mainly for allow any client to have HTTP access Good

The protocol is controlled by protocol= argument in Flow/Client’s constructor.


via gRPC

On the server-side, create an empty Flow and use .block to prevent the process exiting.

from jina import Flow

with Flow(port_expose=12345) as f:
        [email protected][L]:ready and listening
           [email protected][I]:🎉 Flow is ready to use!
	🔗 Protocol: 		GRPC
	🏠 Local access:
	🔒 Private network:
	🌐 Public address:

Note that the host address is and port_expose is 12345.

While keep this server open, let’s create a client on a different machine:

from jina import Client

c = Client(host='', port=12345)'/')
[email protected][S]:connected to the gateway at!

via WebSocket

from jina import Flow

f = Flow(protocol='websocket', port_expose=12345)
with f:
        [email protected][L]:ready and listening
           [email protected][I]:🎉 Flow is ready to use!
	🔗 Protocol: 		WEBSOCKET
	🏠 Local access:
	🔒 Private network:
	🌐 Public address:

This will serve the Flow with WebSocket, so any Client connects to it should follow the WebSocket protocol as well.

from jina import Client

c = Client(protocol='websocket', host='', port=12345)'/')
[email protected][S]:connected to the gateway at!

via HTTP

To enable a Flow to receive from HTTP requests, you can add protocol='http' in the Flow constructor.

from jina import Flow

f = Flow(protocol='http', port_expose=12345)

with f:
        [email protected][L]:ready and listening
           [email protected][I]:🎉 Flow is ready to use!
	🔗 Protocol: 		HTTP
	🏠 Local access:
	🔒 Private network:
	🌐 Public address:
	💬 Swagger UI:		http://localhost:12345/docs
	📚 Redoc:		http://localhost:12345/redoc

Switch between communication protocols

You can switch to other protocol also via .protocol property setter. This setter works even in Flow runtime.

from jina import Flow, Document

f = Flow(protocol='grpc') 

with f:'/', Document())
    f.protocol = 'http'  # switch to HTTP protocol request

Flow with HTTP protocol

Enable cross-origin-resources-sharing (CORS)

CORS is by default disabled for security. That means you can not access the service from a webpage with different domain. To override this, simply do:

from jina import Flow

f = Flow(cors=True, protocol='http')

Use swagger UI to send HTTP request

You can navigate to the Swagger docs UI via http://localhost:12345/docs:


Use curl to send HTTP request

Now you can send data request via curl/Postman:

$ curl --request POST 'http://localhost:12345/post' --header 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{"data": [{"text": "hello world"}],"execEndpoint": "/index"}'

  "requestId": "e2978837-e5cb-45c6-a36d-588cf9b24309",
  "data": {
    "docs": [
        "id": "84d9538e-f5be-11eb-8383-c7034ef3edd4",
        "granularity": 0,
        "adjacency": 0,
        "parentId": "",
        "text": "hello world",
        "chunks": [],
        "weight": 0.0,
        "matches": [],
        "mimeType": "",
        "tags": {
          "mimeType": "",
          "parentId": ""
        "location": [],
        "offset": 0,
        "embedding": null,
        "scores": {},
        "modality": "",
        "evaluations": {}
    "groundtruths": []
  "header": {
    "execEndpoint": "/index",
    "targetPeapod": "",
    "noPropagate": false
  "parameters": {},
  "routes": [
      "pod": "gateway",
      "podId": "5742d5dd-43f1-451f-88e7-ece0588b7557",
      "startTime": "2021-08-05T07:26:58.636258+00:00",
      "endTime": "2021-08-05T07:26:58.636910+00:00",
      "status": null
  "status": {
    "code": 0,
    "description": "",
    "exception": null

Use Python to send HTTP request

One can also use Python Client to send HTTP request, simply:

from jina import Client

c = Client(protocol='http', port=12345)'/', ...)


This HTTP client is less-performant on large data, it does not stream. Hence, it should be only used for debugging & testing.

Extend HTTP Interface

By default the following endpoints are exposed to the public:

Endpoint Description
/status Check Jina service running status
/post Corresponds to method in Python
/index Corresponds to'/index') method in Python
/search Corresponds to'/search') method in Python
/update Corresponds to'/update') method in Python
/delete Corresponds to'/delete') method in Python

Hide CRUD and debug endpoints from HTTP interface

User can decide to hide CRUD and debug endpoints in production, or when the context is not applicable. For example, in the code snippet below, we didn’t implement any CRUD endpoints for the executor, hence it does not make sense to expose them to public.

from jina import Flow
f = Flow(protocol='http', 

Expose customized endpoints to HTTP interface

Flow.expose_endpoint can be used to expose executor’s endpoint to HTTP interface, e.g.

from jina import Executor, requests, Flow

class MyExec(Executor):

    def foo(self, docs, **kwargs):

f = Flow(protocol='http').add(uses=MyExec)
f.expose_endpoint('/foo', summary='my endpoint')
with f:

Now, sending HTTP data request to /foo is equivalent as calling'/foo', ...) in Python.

You can add more kwargs to build richer semantics on your HTTP endpoint. Those meta information will be rendered by Swagger UI and be forwarded to the OpenAPI schema.

                  summary='my endpoint',