Linux Tactic

Curl: The Versatile Command-Line Tool for Seamless Data Transfer

Introduction to curl

Curl is a popular command-line tool and library used to transfer data between servers and clients using various protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and more. Developed by Daniel Stenberg in 1997, curl began as a way to allow currency exchange rates to be updated on websites automatically.

Its popularity grew rapidly, and it is now used globally for data transfer.

Features of curl

Curl is a versatile tool, and its main feature is its support for various protocols allowing users to transfer data between different systems. It is compatible with libcurl, another library that can be used to write custom codes for various programming languages to fetch data over the web.

It is also available as a command-line tool, which allows for quick data transfer with customizable options.

Installing curl

Curl is pre-installed in most Linux distros, which make up a significant percentage of web servers and desktop computers worldwide. However, in some instances, the latest version of curl may not be installed, which would require a manual installation process.

The installation process varies, depending on the distribution used.

Pre-installed curl in Linux distros

Most Linux distributions come with pre-installed curl. Some even include the latest version of the tool.

Therefore, using curl on a Linux system is as easy as typing the curl command in the terminal. However, it is essential to update curl from time to time to ensure that the latest version is installed.

Installation process for different distros

If curl is not pre-installed, it can be installed using the command line. To install curl on Debian, Ubuntu, and other related distributions, you can use the apt-get command.

For RHEL and CentOS, you can use the yum command. For Fedora systems, use the dnf command.

OpenSUSE users can install by using zypper, and Arch Linux users can use the pacman command. The installation command is followed by the package name, which is curl.


Curl is an important tool for data transfer in both web development and system administration. It is a versatile tool that supports a variety of protocols and is available as both a command-line tool and a library.

While many Linux distributions come with pre-installed curl, it is essential to keep the tool updated by regularly checking for the latest versions. If you encounter curl compatibility issues with a specific application, you may also need to upgrade or install manually.

Overall, having knowledge of the installation process for various distributions is an essential skill for any web developer or system administrator.

Using curl

Curl is a powerful and flexible command-line tool that provides various functionalities for transferring data between servers and clients using various protocols. Here are some of the most common use cases for curl.

Downloading a file

Curl provides an easy way to download files from the internet using the -O flag or the -o flag. The -O flag saves the downloaded file with the same name as the remote file, while the -o flag allows you to specify the local filename to save the file.

For instance, to download a file named examplefile.txt from a remote web server, use the following command:


curl -O


To download and specify your own filename, use the following command:


curl -o localfile.txt


Downloading multiple files

Curl provides an efficient way to download multiple files using the same syntax as downloading a single file but with multiple URLs separated by space. Curl will download each file in turn, and you can use the -O flag or -o flag to specify the file name and path.

For instance, to download multiple files:


curl -O


Enabling a progress bar

Curl allows the use of progress bars to display the progress of a download using the –silent flag or the -# flag, which represents the progress of the download visually. The –silent flag, which reduces other unnecessary messages and output, makes it easier to focus on the progress bar.

To enable a progress bar, use the following command:


curl –silent -# -o examplefile.txt


Limiting download speed

Curl allows the speed of data transfer to be limited using the –limit-rate flag. This is useful when you need to download a large file while ensuring that the server is not overloaded.

The number that follows the –limit-rate flag represents the download speed in bytes per second. To limit the download speed to 1000 bytes per second, use the following command:


curl –limit-rate 1000B -o examplefile.txt


Managing FTP Server

Curl also provides robust support for FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server management. You can use the -u flag followed by a username and password to perform a request and authenticate yourself against the server.

Use the following command to authenticate with the server, list files, and directories:


curl -u username:password


To download a file, use the following command:


curl -u username:password -o localfile.txt


To upload a file, use the following command:


curl -u username:password -T /path/to/


Defining user agent manually

Curl provides an option to define the user agent manually, which is useful in cases where specific websites require a custom user agent. You can use the -A flag to specify the user agent.

For instance, to define a custom user agent, use the following command:


curl -A “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.110 Safari/537.36”


User Agents randomizer


User Agents randomizer helps users who need to access websites that have made a restriction on specific user agents. The

User Agents randomizer sends different user agents in each request.

You can use an online tool or write a script to generate random user agents and pass them as arguments to the curl command.

Advantages of curl over other download managers

Curl is a lightweight tool, and it has a sophisticated handling mechanism for multiple download requests. Unlike other download managers, curl is a command-line tool, which means it can be executed within scripts or automated environments quickly and easily.

Curl can also support a wide variety of protocols like FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, and more, making it a highly versatile tool.

In conclusion, curl provides a flexible and powerful way of transferring data using multiple protocols.

Whether it’s downloading files, uploading to FTP, or limiting download speed, curl has robust features for managing various data transfer needs. In conclusion, Curl is a lightweight and versatile tool that offers many functionalities for transferring data between servers and clients using various protocols.

It can be used to download files, manage FTP servers, limit download speeds, and define user agents manually. Unlike other download managers, Curl is a command-line tool, making it ideal for scripts and automated environments.

With its robust features and ease of use, Curl is an essential tool for any web developer or system administrator working with data transfer.

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