curl command usage short guide

Posted on October 14th, 2021
Author: waltherman


Curl is a tool for data transfer. It supports a variety of protocols - HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, TFTP, IMAP, POP3, SCP, SMTP and a bunch of other protocols, full list is available in man output. It is tiny, flexible, could provide verbose information, good for automation, since user interaction witch curl is not needed.

Curl usage

Syntax is simple:

$ curl [options] [URL]

The basic request to GitHub would be look like:

$ curl

Downloading files with the same name, as in the URL

$ curl -O [URL]

Or with specific file name:

$ curl -o [filename] [URL]

Continue downloading of stopped download is possible with "-C" parameter

$ curl -C -O [URL]

Verbose output

$ curl -v [options] [URL]
$ curl --verbose [options] [URL]

Authenticate on remote server

$ curl -u {username}:{password} [URL]

For example, download FTP file with authentication would look like:

$ curl -u ftpuser16:Password111 -O

File upload:

$ curl -T -u {username}:{password} [URL]

Progress bar: It is possible to change curl meter to progress bar:

$ curl -# [URL]
$ curl --progress-bar [URL]

Or disable any progress information:

$ curl -s [URL]
$ curl --silent [URL]

HTTP and HTTPS: Include HTTPS headers to output

$ curl -i
$ curl --include

Specify HTTP-request type:

$ curl --request [request type] [options] [URL]


$ curl --request GET

Proxy server also could be specified:

curl -x [proxy address]:[port] [URL]

If proxy server requires authentication, curl can be used with next command:

curl -x [proxy address]:[port] -U [user]:[password] [URL]
curl -x [proxy address]:[port] --proxy-user [user]:[password] [URL]

SMTP If you do not like to send emails via telnet you could use curl

$ curl –url [SMTP URL] –mail-from [sender address] –mail-rcpt [recipient address] -n –ssl-reqd -u {email}:{password} -T [mail text file]