Curl vs Wget

Both Wget and Curl are good at making HTTP and FTP requests without using a web browser or other interactive application. The main difference between Wget and Curl is that Curl, along with the command-line tool, also offers a powerful cross-platform library (libcurl) with an extended API, supports over 25+ protocols, and works on all modern platforms. At the same time, Wget is just a command-line tool that downloads data as files and only offers support for HTTP requests, but Wget has a strong side - the ability to download recursively.
Curl vs Wget Run
Updated: Viewed: 23422 times

What is Wget?

Wget is a computer tool for retrieving content and files from various web servers and the GNU Project. The name comes from the word "World Wide Web" and the word " Get ". Wget is a non-interactive network downloader that is used to download files from the server. An important aspect of Wget is its recursive loading capability, which allows you to follow links to HTML and XHTML pages and create local versions of remote web sites. sites that completely recreate the directory structure of the original site. Wget supports uploading via FTP, SFTP, HTTP, and HTTPS. Wget is written in portable C and can be used on any Unix system, including macOS, Windows, AmigaOS, and other popular platforms.

What is Curl?

Curl is a command line utility that allows users to create HTTP requests from clients to servers, available for all modern platforms, including Windows, Mac and Linux. Curl supports over 25+ protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS and SFTP. Curl is versatile, very efficient for automating day-to-day operations, and is one of the best tools for debugging network requests and API calls. Curl has built-in support for SSL, web forms, validation, HTTP cookies and user authentication.

What are the main differences between Wget and Curl?

Wget Curl
Wget is a simple tool designed to perform quick downloads. Curl is a much more powerful command-line tool.
Wget is just a command line without a library. Curl is powered by libcurl - a cross-platform library with a stable API.
Wget only offers plain HTTP POST support. Сurl offers upload and sending capabilities.
Wget is part of the GNU project and all copyrights are assigned to FSF. The Сurl project is entirely stand-alone and independent with no organizational parenting.
Wget supports only HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocols. Curl supports a lot more protocols, these are DICT, FILE, FTP, FTPS, Gopher, HTTP, HTTPS, IMAP, IMAPS, LDAP, LDAPS, POP3, POP3S, RTMP, RTSP, SCP, SFTP, SMB, SMBS, SMTP, SMTPS, Telnet and TFTP.
Wget offers the ability to download recursively. It’s difficult to achieve recursive access to a web resource with Curl.
Wget only supports Basic Authentication as the only authentication type through HTTP Proxy. Curl supports more HTTP authentication methods, especially over HTTP proxies: Basic, Digest, NTLM and Negotiate.
Wget supports only GnuTLS or OpenSSL for SSL/TLS support. Curl can be built using one of thirteen different SSL/TLS libraries.
Wget has no SOCKS support. Curl supports SOCKS4 and SOCKS5 for proxy access. With name resolution based on a local or proxy server.
Wget ability to recover from a prematurely broken transfer and continue downloading has no counterpart in Curl. Curl allows users to do HTTP "upload" and in general emulate browsers and do HTTP automation to a wider extent, and can do many transfers in parallel.
Wget is more focused on Linux-based distros. Curl is available on multiple platforms with many web utilities leveraging Сurl to interact with the web.

Similarities between Wget and Curl

Wget and Curl commands are pretty helpful as they provide a mechanism for non-interactive loading and unloading of data. We can use them for web crawling, script automation, API testing.

  • Wget and Curl can download files off the internet.
  • Wget and Curl support HTTP and its secure version, HTTPS.
  • Wget and Curl are command-line tools.
  • Wget and Curl support HTTP cookies.
  • Wget and Curl are capable of making HTTP post requests.
  • Wget and Curl are completely open-source and free software.

Wget and Curl Syntax

The general form of a Wget and Curl command to send a request is as follows:

Wget Syntax Example
wget [URL]

Curl Syntax Example
curl [URL]

Wget Example

To see what the output of the Wget command looks like, let's run the example of sending a Wget request to the ReqBin echo URL:

Wget Example using the -0 flag
wget -0 [filename]

Curl Example

Let's run the Curl example of sending a request to the ReqBin echo URL to save the output to a file using the following command:

Curl Example
curl > [filename]

Curl an example of an alternative for saving the output to a file.
curl -o [filename]


Wget has recursive download capabilities that Curl does not, and it also handles download retries over untrusted connections, which is arguably a little more efficient. For almost everything else, Curl is probably a better tool.

See also

Generate Code Snippets for Wget vs Curl Example

Convert your Wget vs Curl request to the PHP, JavaScript/AJAX, Node.js, Curl/Bash, Python, Java, C#/.NET code snippets using the ReqBin code generator.