5 basic cURL command examples

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cURL is very useful command line tool to transfer data from or to a server. cURL supports various protocols like FILE, HTTP, HTTPS, IMAP, IMAPS, LDAP, DICT, LDAPS, TELNET, FTP, FTPS, GOPHER, RTMP, RTSP, SCP, SFTP, POP3, POP3S, SMB, SMBS, SMTP, SMTPS, and TFTP.

cURL can be used in many different and interesting ways. With this tool you can download, upload and manage files, check your email address, or even update your status on some of the social media websites or check the weather outside. In this article will cover five of the most useful and basic uses of the cURL tool on any Linux VPS.

1. Check URL

One of the most common and simplest uses of cURL is typing the command itself, followed by the URL you want to check

curl https://domain.com

This command will display the content of the URL on your terminal

2. Save the output of the URL to a file

The output of the cURL command can be easily saved to a file by adding the -o option to the command, as shown below

curl -o website https://domain.com

% Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100 41793    0 41793    0     0   275k      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--  2.9M

In this example, output will be save to a file named ‘website’ in the current working directory.

3. Download files with cURL

You can downlaod files with cURL by adding the -O option to the command. It is used for saving files on the local server with the same names as on the remote server

curl -O https://domain.com/file.zip

In this example, the ‘file.zip’ zip archive will be downloaded to the current working directory.

You can also download the file with a different name by adding the -o option to cURL.

curl -o archive.zip https://domain.com/file.zip

This way the ‘file.zip’ archive will be downloaded and saved as ‘archive.zip’.

cURL can be also used to download multiple files simultaneously, as shown in the example below

curl -O https://domain.com/file.zip -O https://domain.com/file2.zip

cURL can be also used to download files securely via SSH using the following command

curl -u user sftp://server.domain.com/path/to/file

Note that you have to use the full path of the file you want to download

4. Get HTTP header information from a website

You can easily get HTTP header information from any website you want by adding the -I option (capital ‘i’) to cURL.

curl -I http://domain.com

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2016 23:37:15 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.23 (Unix)
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.6.24
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

5. Access an FTP server

To access your FTP server with cURL use the following command

curl ftp://ftp.domain.com --user username:password

cURL will connect to the FTP server and list all files and directories in user’s home directory

You can download a file via FTP

curl ftp://ftp.domain.com/file.zip --user username:password

and upload a file ot the FTP server

curl -T file.zip ftp://ftp.domain.com/ --user username:password

You can check cURL manual page to see all available cURL options and functionalities

man curl

Of course, if you use one of our Linux VPS Hosting services, you can always contact and ask our expert Linux admins (via chat or ticket) about cURL and anything related to cURL. They are available 24×7 and will provide information or assistance immediately.

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    Author Reply

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