Downloading a web page

How to:

The go-to tool for this job? curl. It’s a powerful command-line utility that fetches data from the web. Here’s the simplest use case:

curl -o webpage.html

This command downloads the HTML of and writes it to a file named webpage.html. Check out the output:

# Sample Output
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100  1256  100  1256    0     0   6458      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--  6497

Want to see what you’re downloading in real-time? Drop the -o and the download prints right in your console:


Deep Dive

curl has been around since 1997, carving its niche for web operations. Why curl over browser downloads? Automation and script-friendliness. It’s non-interactive and can be woven into bash scripts with ease.

Alternatives worth mentioning: wget, another command-line powerhouse that can recursively download web pages. For heavy-duty scraping or when needing a real browser context, programmers turn to tools like Selenium, Puppeteer, or Scrapy.

Getting into curl’s workings: It supports multiple protocols, from HTTP and HTTPS to FTP, and a slew of options (–header, –cookie, –user-agent, etc.) for fine-tuning requests. Plus, it usually comes pre-installed on Unix-based systems.

See Also