How to find the curl Command in Linux and What Can You Do With It?

How to find the curl Command in Linux and What Can You Do With It?

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The curl command in Linux is a great way to automate the process of uploading and downloading data from a server. Curl supports all the major protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, SFTP, FTP, and more.

Features like pausing and resuming transfers, limiting bandwidth, proxy support, and user authentication make it a perfect command-line utility for data transfer.

Let’s take a deep look and explore what curl is and how to use it.

What is the curl command?

Curl was initially developed to automate the periodic download of exchange rates from a web page. Real-time exchange rates provided US dollar Swedish kronor equivalents to IRC users. Curl’s popularity grew exponentially as people began to use its widespread applications.

Curl is one of the oldest and most popular open source projects to ever exist. The name stands for Client URL and is used in countless systems around the world. Curl finds its use in a variety of applications such as web development and bug testing.

Developers do not need to type the commands manually; they can group them into scripts and use them to automate complex operations. Here are some examples of how to use curl.

Installing curl on Linux

Although this popular package comes pre-installed on most Linux distributions, you can easily download curl if it is not already installed on yours. Use the following commands to install curl on your machine.

On Ubuntu and Debian:

sudo apt install curl

On RHEL-based distributions like CentOS and Fedora:

sudo yum install curl

To install curl on Arch Linux, type:

sudo pacman -S curl How to use the curl command

Curl uses the following syntax for all of its commands

curl options u

… Where the options and the URL change according to the task in question. Curl downloads the source code from the URL, as long as it doesn’t mention the / task option. The latest version of curl also guesses the protocol, if it’s not mentioned in the URL, and defaults it to HTTP.

Here are some useful curl commands to perform various functional tasks

Download a file using cu

You can download resources through a specific url using curl. This command has two flags that you can use; -or me

  • The -O command saves the file in the current directory with the same name as in the remote service
  • The -o command, on the other hand, lets you choose the file name and location

Here is an example of these two commands

curl -O

The file is downloaded to the current directory, with its original name as on the remote server.

curl -o newfile.tar.gz

When you run the command mentioned above, curl will download and save the file as newfile.tar.gz. Note that you will have to specify the file name and the path to the directory as input

Resume an interrupted download using cu

Downloads can be interrupted due to various reasons, such as network outages or an expired link. The function to resume an interrupted download helps in such situations by avoiding the hassle of downloading the entire file again.

Use the -C flag with -oo -O to resume an interrupted download using cur

curl -C -O

Downloading multiple files using cur

There is no dedicated command to download multiple files simultaneously via curl, but you can use the -ou -O flags multiple times in the same command to achieve similar results

For instance

curl -O -O

The above mentioned command will download the ISO files from both URLs simultaneously in the current directory

Get the HTTP headers of a Web Pa

HTTP headers contain crucial information such as user agent, content type, and encoding. You can request the HTTP header of a URL by using the -I (uppercase i, not L) and –http2 flags

curl -I –http2

Specify a maximum transfer rate

File transfers usually take up most of your bandwidth, preventing you from doing any other tasks.

To address this problem, you can set a maximum transfer rate for your downloads using curl. Use the –limit-rate method followed by a modifier ak, mog (indicates kilobytes, megabytes, or gigabytes respectively).

The following command restricts the transfer rate to 1 MBps:

curl –limit-rate 1m -O

Transfer files via FTP and curl

You can transfer files using the File Transfer Protocol by accessing any FTP server using curl. Curl gives you the functionality to download and upload files after connecting to the FTP server.

Use the following command to connect to an FTP server:

curl -u username: password

… Where username and password are the credentials to log into the server.

You can download any file from the server by specifying the URL of the file in the following command:

curl -u username: password -O

You can also upload files to the FTP server using the -T flag:

curl -T newfile.tar.gz -u username: password

The -T command followed by the specified file uploads it to the FTP server.

Final words: How to find the curl Command in Linux and What Can You Do With It?

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