What is better, curl or wget?

Both cUrl and Wget can be used to download files, but the question comes which one to use. cUrl and Wget have some similarities and as well as differentiating factors, the one to use depends on your need.

Lets look at the similarties of cUrl and Wget:

  • Both of them are command line tools and support support downloading via HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocols
  • Both of them are designed to work without user interaction, meaning that they can work in the background, while the user is not logged on.
  • Both of them can send HTTP POST requests.
  • Both of them support download through proxies.
  • Both of them are free utilities

Lets now look at the diffences between cUrl and Wget:

  •  Since cURL uses libcurl, it supports a range of common Internet protocols, currently including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP, LDAP, LDAPS, DICT, TELNET, FILE, IMAP, POP3, SMTP and RTSP whereas Wget supports http, https, and ftp protcols only.
  • cURL provides APIs for more than 40 languages, including C/C++, Java, PHP and Python that can be used by programmers inside their own code whereas Wget is a command line tool only.
  • Wget supports recursive download whereas cURL does not. Its the major advantage of using Wget.
  • cURL defaults to displaying the output it retrieves to the standard output specified on the system (usually the terminal window) whereas Wget saves the ouput to a file.
  • cUrl can be used to upload files whereas Wget supports HTTP POST requests only.


From the comparison we can see that when bi-direction data transfer is required cUrl should be used whereas when file(s) download is required Wget should be used. In case we are writing a program in some language then cUrl should be used as it provides an API.

Leave a Comment

Back to top