What is wget?Wget is a free GNU command-line utility tool used to download files from the internet

How to Check if wget is Installed?

Most likely, the wget package is already on your system as it now comes pre-installed on most Linux distributions. To check, open the terminal window and type in: wget

If you have the wget software, the output tells you that the wget command is missing a URL, as shown in the image below:

wget Command Not Found

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.

How to Install wget on Ubuntu/Debian?

To install wget on Ubuntu or Debian releases, use the command: sudo apt-get install wget

How to Install wget on CentOS/Fedora?

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

How to Install wget on Windows?

To install and configure wget for Windows:

  1. Download wget for Windows and install the package.

  2. 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.”

  • SelectEdit 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)\GnuWin32\bin.

  1. Open the command prompt (cmd.exe) and start running wget commands.

Introduction to wget Syntax

The wget syntax has the following pattern: wget [option][URL] Each [option] has its long and short form which are conveniently interchangeable. This attribute specifies what to do with the URL that follows. [URL] is the address of the file or directory you wish to download.

wget Command Examples

Download File from Web

To download a file from the web use: wget [URL] For example, to install Tomcat 9, first you need to download the package with wget using the command: wget http://apache.cs.utah.edu/tomcat/tomcat-9/v9.0.20/bin/apache-tomcat-9.0.20.tar.gz

Download File and Save Under Specific Name

To download a file and save it under a specified name run: wget –O [file_name] [URL] The wget command allows you to rename files prior to downloading them on your computer. For instance, you may want to install Terraform. To download the package and rename it terraform.zip use the following command: wget –O terraform.zip https://releases.hashicorp.com/terraform/0.12.2/terraform_0.12.2_linux_amd64.zip

Download File to Specific Directory

By default wget downloads a file in the directory the user is in. To save the file in a different location, add the –P option: wget –P [wanted_directory] [URL] For example, while installing Git on Ubuntu, you can download the package in the /temp directory with the command: wget –P /temp https://github.com/git/git/archive/master.zip

Set Download Speed

You can set the download speed when downloading a big file, so it does not use the full available bandwidth. The download speed is defined in kilobytes (k) and megabytes (m). Use the command: wget --limit-rate [wanted_speed] [URL] For example, if you are installing NVIDIA TESLA drivers on Linux and want to limit the download speed to 1 megabyte, would use the command: wget --limit-rate 1m http://us.download.nvidia.com/tesla/396.37/nvidia-diag-driver-local-repo-ubuntu1710-396.37_1.0-1_amd64.deb

Continue Download After Interruption

Instead of having to start from scratch, wget can resume downloading where it stopped before the interruption. This is a useful feature if there is a lost of connection while downloading a file. wget –c [URL] For instance, you may want to install a Mumble Server on Linux and suddenly lose internet connection while downloading the installation file. To continue downloading, type in the command: wget –c https://github.com/mumble-voip/mumble/releases/download/1.2.19/murmur-static_x86-1.2.19.tar.bz2

Download Multiple Files

wget allows downloading multiple files at the same time using the command: wget –i [file_name] To do so, follow the steps outlined below: 1. First, create and open a file under the name MultipleDownloads.txt (or a name of your choice), using a text editor. In this case, we used Nano: nano MultipleDownloads.txt

2. Once in the editor, add the URLs of the packages you want to download, one per line. 3. Save and exit the file. 4. Run the following wget command in the terminal window: wget –i MultipleDownloads.txt This prompts wget to download from each URL in the text file.

Download Web page (Mirror Web page)

With wget you can download an entire website from the internet, using the –m option. It prompts wget to create a mirror of the specified webpage. The basic command for doing so is: wget –m [URL] For example: wget –m https://phoenixnap.com

Download via FTP

To download via FTP, type in the username and password of the FTP server, followed by the ftp address: wget --ftp-user=[ftp_username] --ftp-password=[ftp_password] ftp://... For instance: wget --ftp-user=sofiftp --ftp-password=TopSecretPassword ftp://123.456.7890

Download in Background

You can download in the background, a practical feature when dealing with a large file: wget –b [URL] You can check the status of the download with the command: tail –f wget –log To download the RPM package manager in the background, type: wget –b http://some_website/sample_file.rpm

Increase Retry Attempts

You can set how many times wget attempts to download a file after being interrupted by a bad network with: wget --tries=[number_of_tries] [URL] By default, the number of retry attempts is set to 20. You can also set the number to infinity with the values 0 or inf, as in the following example: wget --tries=inf http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/rpm/rhel/virtualbox.repo

Skip Certificate Check

By default, wget checks whether the server has a valid SSL/TLS certificate. If it does not identify an authentic certificate, it refuses to download. The --no-check-certificate option is used to avoid certificate authorities checking for a server certificate. However, utilize it only if you are sure of the website’s credibility or are not worried about security issues it may cause. wget --no-check-certificate [URL] If http://enteratonerisk.com has an untrusted certificate, but will not harm the system, you can download it with: wget --no-check-certificate http://enteratonerisk.com

Change User Agent

When downloading a webpage, wget essentially emulates a browser. In some cases, the output might say you don’t have permission to access the server, or that the connection is forbidden. This may be due to a website blocking client browsers that have a specific “User-Agent.” “User-Agent” is a header field that the browser sends to the server it wants to access. Therefore, to download from a server that is refusing to connect, try to modify the user agent. Find a database of all user agents online, search for the one you need and run the command: wget --user-agent=”User Agent Here” “[URL]” or wget –U ”User Agent Here” “[URL]” For example, to emulate Chrome (version 74), you would change the user agent with the command: wget --user-agent=” Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/74.0.3729.169 Safari/537.36” “https://phoenixnap.com”


This article sums up why wget is such a powerful tool for downloading files over the internet. It also serves as a good reference for beginners with its list of 12 essential wget commands and examples.

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