[node.js] Error: No default engine was specified and no extension was provided

I am working through setting up a http server using node.js and engine. However, I keep running into issues that I have little information on how to resolve I would appreciate some help solving this please.

Error: No default engine was specified and no extension was provided. 
at new View (...\node_modules\express\lib\view.js:41:42) 
at Function.app.render (...\node_modules\express\lib\application.js:484:12) 
at ServerResponse.res.render (...\node_modules\express\lib\response.js:783:7) 
at Layer.handle (...\app.js:123:7) 
at trim_prefix (...\node_modules\express\lib\router\index.js:225:17) 
at c (...\node_modules\express\lib\router\index.js:198:9) 
at Function.proto.process_params (...\node_modules\express\lib\router\index.js:253:12) 
at next (...\node_modules\express\lib\router\index.js:189:19) 
at next (...\node_modules\express\lib\router\index.js:202:7) 
at next (...\node_modules\express\lib\router\index.js:166:38)

Below is what I have set up to start up this engine.

var http = require('http');  
var module = require("module")
var logger = require('morgan');
var express = require('express');
var app =  module.exports = express();
var silent = 'test' == process.env.NODE_ENV;
var httpServer = http.createServer(app);  // app middleware

app.enable('strict routing');
// app.all('*', function(req, res, next)/*** CORS support.*/
// {
//   if (!req.get('Origin')) return next();// use "*" here to accept any origin
//   res.set('Access-Control-Allow-Origin', 'http://localhost:3000');
//   res.set('Access-Control-Allow-Methods', 'GET, POST');
//   res.set('Access-Control-Allow-Headers', 'X-Requested-With, Content-Type');
//   res.set('Access-Control-Allow-Max-Age', 3600);
//   if ('OPTIONS' == req.method) return res.send(200);
//   next();
// });
app.set('views', __dirname + '/views'); // general config
app.set('view engine', 'html');
app.get('/404', function(req, res, next){
next();// trigger a 404 since no other middleware will match /404 after this one, and we're not responding here
app.get('/403', function(req, res, next){// trigger a 403 error
  var err = new Error('not allowed!');
  err.status = 403;
app.get('/500', function(req, res, next){// trigger a generic (500) error
  next(new Error('keyboard cat!'));
app.use(express.static(__dirname + '/public')); 
//error handlers
// middleware with an arity of 4 are considered error handling middleware. When you next(err)
// it will be passed through the defined middleware in order, but ONLY those with an arity of 4, ignoring regular middleware.
function clientErrorHandler(err, req, res, next) {
  if (req.xhr) {// whatever you want here, feel free to populate properties on `err` to treat it differently in here.
  res.send(err.status || 500, { error: err.message });
  { next(err);}
// create an error with .status. we can then use the property in our custom error handler (Connect repects this prop as well)
function error  (status, msg) {
  var err = new Error(msg);
  err.status = status;
  return err;
function logErrors  (err, req, res, next) {
function errorHandler (err, req, res, next) {
  res.render('error', { error: err });

// Error handlers
// Since this is the last non-error-handling middleware use()d, we assume 404, as nothing else responded.
// $ curl http://localhost:3000/notfound
// $ curl http://localhost:3000/notfound -H "Accept: application/json"
// $ curl http://localhost:3000/notfound -H "Accept: text/plain"
app.use(function(req, res, next){
  if (req.accepts('html')) {// respond with html page
    res.render('404', { url: req.url });
  if (req.accepts('json')) {// respond with json
    res.send({ error: 'Not found' });
  res.type('txt').send('Not found');// default to plain-text. send()

// error-handling middleware, take the same form as regular middleware, however they require an
// arity of 4, aka the signature (err, req, res, next).when connect has an error, it will invoke ONLY error-handling middleware.

// If we were to next() here any remaining non-error-handling middleware would then be executed, or if we next(err) to
// continue passing the error, only error-handling middleware would remain being executed, however here
// we simply respond with an error page.
app.use(function(err, req, res, next){
  // we may use properties of the error object here and next(err) appropriately, or if we possibly recovered from the error, simply next().
  res.status(err.status || 500);
  res.render('500', { error: err });

if (!module.parent) {// assigning to exports will not modify module, must use module.exports
  silent || console.log('Express started on port 3000');

This question is related to node.js http express

The answer is

The res.render stuff will throw an error if you're not using a view engine.

If you just want to serve json replace the res.render('error', { error: err }); lines in your code with:

res.json({ error: err })

PS: People usually also have message in the returned object:

res.status(err.status || 500);
  message: err.message,
  error: err

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