Wget Command in Linux with Examples

Wget Command in Linux

wget is a powerful, free utility available in the Unix world. It is a command-line tool used for downloading files from the web. wget supports downloading via HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocols, the most popular TCP/IP-based protocols used for web browsing and file transfer on the internet.

One of the key features of wget is its ability to work in the background and complete downloads non-interactively. It can resume aborted downloads, which is a boon when dealing with large files or unstable network connections. wget can also mirror websites, allowing offline browsing and local site backups.


Before diving into the wget command’s usage, it’s essential to ensure it‘s installed on your system. Most Linux distributions include wget by default. However, if it’s not present, you can install it using the package manager of your distribution. For Debian-based systems like Ubuntu, use the apt command:

sudo apt install wget

For Red Hat-based systems like CentOS, use the yum command:

sudo yum install wget

Downloading Files

Download a Single File

The basic syntax for downloading a single file with wget is straightforward. Simply type wget followed by the URL of the file you want to download. For example:


Downloading Multiple Files

To download multiple files, you can use the -i option followed by a file containing a list of URLs. Each URL should be on a separate line. For instance:

wget -i urls.txt

Resume Interrupted Downloads

If a download is interrupted, you can resume it using the -c option. This is particularly useful for large files or unstable internet connections.

wget -c

Retry Failed Downloads

The --tries option allows you to specify the number of retries if a download fails. For example, to retry a download five times before giving up, you would use:

wget --tries=5

Limit Download Speed

To prevent wget from consuming all your bandwidth, you can limit the download speed using the --limit-rate option. For example, to limit the download speed to 200k, use:

wget --limit-rate=200k

Download in Background

 The -b option allows wget to run in the background, freeing up your terminal for other tasks. The download progress is logged to a file named wget-log in the current directory.

wget -b

Advanced Usage

Mirror a Website

Wget can mirror an entire website for offline viewing using the -r, -p, and -k options. The -r option enables recursion, -p downloads all files necessary to display the page properly, and -k converts links for offline viewing.

wget -r -p -k

Spider a Website

The --spider option allows wget to behave like a web spider, checking for broken links without downloading anything. This is useful for web developers checking their sites for broken links.

wget --spider -r

Download via Proxy

If you’re behind a proxy server, you can configure wget to use it with the --proxy option. You’ll need to set the http_proxy or https_proxy environment variables with your proxy details.

export http_proxy=http://proxyserver:port
wget --proxy=on


For sites that require authentication, you can use the --http-user and --http-password options, or store your credentials in a .netrc file in your home directory.

wget --http-user=user --http-password=pass

Debugging Downloads

To debug downloads, use the -o option followed by a log file name. This will write detailed information about the download process to the specified file.

wget -o log.txt


The -O - option allows wget to write the downloaded data to standard output, which can then be piped to other commands. This is useful for processing the downloaded data on the fly.

wget -O - | grep "keyword"

Scripting and Scheduling Downloads

wget’s command-line nature makes it ideal for scripting and scheduling downloads. You can use cron jobs to schedule downloads at specific times. Passing URLs via stdin using -i - allows wget to read URLs from a pipe, enabling complex download scripts. Logging and monitoring can be done using the -o option as mentioned earlier.


wget is a versatile tool with a wide range of capabilities. It goes beyond simple file downloads, offering features like website mirroring, download speed limiting, and more. While similar tools like curl exist, wget stands out for its ease of use and powerful features. For further reading, the wget man page and GNU wget manual are excellent resources.

In conclusion, wget is an indispensable tool for any Linux user. Its power and flexibility make it a go-to solution for all kinds of download tasks. Whether you’re a system administrator needing to download system updates or a web developer wanting to mirror a website, wget has you covered.


r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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