Linux wget Command - Explained with Examples

GNU Wget is a free tool that allows you to download files from the internet using the command-line. Wget has a lot of features, including the ability to download multiple files, limit bandwidth, resume downloads, ignore SSL checks, download in the background, mirror a website, and more.

Here at Ibmi Media, we shall look into the different options available using the wget command.

What is the syntax of the Wget command ?

Wget takes the following simple syntax:

$ wget [options] [url]

Examples of using the Wget command

1. Download a file

With no command options, you can download a file with the wget command by specifying the URL of the resource:

$ wget https://github.com/git/git/archive/refs/tags/v2.34.1.zip

2. Download Multiple files

When it comes to downloading multiple files, you need to create a text file and list the URLs of the resources to be downloads. The text file will act as an input file from which wget will read the URLs.

In our case, we have saved a few URLs in the multipledownloads.txt text file.

Next, download the files using wget with -ioption. With the-i option, wget reads from the input file and downloads the resources defined in the input file:

$ wget -i multipledownloads.txt

3. Download files in the background

To download files in the background, use the wget command with -b option. This option comes in handy when the file is large and you need to utilize the terminal for something else:

$ wget -b https://github.com/git/git/archive/refs/tags/v2.34.1.zip

To view the output of the download, view wget logs with the command:

$ tail -f wget-log

4. Resume a download

In some cases, when we start a download the internet becomes unavailable. We can use the wget command '-c' to resume our download from the point when it became unavailable. The following is an example:

$ wget -c https://download.rockylinux.org/pub/rocky/8/isos/x86_64/Rocky-8.4-x86_64-minimal.iso

5. Saving downloaded file under a different name

Use the wget command with the -o option followed with the desired name of the file:

$ wget -o git.zip https://github.com/git/git/archive/refs/tags/v2.34.1.zip

The file is saved as git.zip in the example above.

6. Download file under a specific directory

The wget commands save downloads in the current working directory. To specify a location use the -P option followed with path to directory:

$ sudo wget -P /opt/wordpress https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz

7. Set the download speed

By default, the wget command attempts to use all available bandwidth. However, if you are using a shared internet connection, or trying to download a large file you can use the '–limit-rate' option to cap the download speed to a specific value. You can set the speed in kilobytes ( k) , Megabytes ( m ) or Gigabytes ( g ).

Here, We have set the download speed to 100Kilobytes:

$ wget --limit-rate=100k http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/rpm/rhel/virtualbox.repo

8. Mirror entire website

Use the -m option with wget to create a mirror of a website. This creates a local copy of the website on your system for local browsing:

$ wget -m https://google.com

You'll need to provide a few extra parameters to the command above if you wish to browse the downloaded page locally:

$ wget -m -k -p https://google.com

The -k option instructs wget to transform links in downloaded documents so that they can be viewed locally. The -p options provides all the essential files for displaying the HTML page.

9. Ignore SSL Checks

Use the —no-check-certificate option to download a file over HTTPS from a server with an incorrect SSL certificate:

$ wget --no-check-certificate https://website-with-invalid-ss.com

10. Increase number of retries

Incase of a network interruption, wget command attempt to re-establish the connection. By default, it tries 20 times to successfully complete the download. The '–tries' option increases the number of retry attempts.

Here, we have set the number of retries to 75 attempts:

$ wget --tries=75 https://download.rockylinux.org/pub/rocky/8/isos/x86_64/Rocky-8.4-x86_64-minimal.iso

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This article covers the wget command which downloads files served with HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP over a network. In fact, Wget is a free GNU command-line utility tool used to download files from the internet. It retrieves files using HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocols.

Wget command options includes:

  • -V, --version: Display the version of wget, and exit.
  • -h, --help: Print a help message describing all the wget's command-line options, and exit.
  • -b, --background: Go to background immediately after startup. If no output file is specified via the -o, output is redirected to wget-log.
  • -e command,
  • --execute command: Execute command as if it were a part of the file .wgetrc. A command thus invoked is executed after the commands in .wgetrc, thus taking precedence over them.

How to Check if wget is Installed?

To check, open the terminal window and type in:

$ wget

If the output displays wget command not found you need to download and install the tool manually. Below you will find the installation instructions for Ubuntu/Debian, CentOS, and Windows.

To install wget on Ubuntu or Debian releases, use the command:

$ sudo apt-get install wget

To install wget on CentOS or Fedora, type the following command:

$ sudo yum install wget

How to Install wget on Windows ?

  • Download wget for Windows and install the package.
  • Add the wget bin path to environment variables (optional). Configuring this removes the need for full paths, and makes it a lot easier to run wget from the command prompt:
  • Open the Start menu and search for "environment".
  • Select Edit the system environment variables.
  • Select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
  • Select the Path variable under System Variables.
  • Click Edit.
  • In the Variable value field add the path to the wget bin directory preceded by a semicolon (;). If installed in the default path, add C:Program Files (x86)GnuWin32bin.
  • Open the command prompt (cmd.exe) and start running wget commands.