Unix commands: The joy of curl

If you haven’t yet discovered the versatile curl, you might just be surprised by how clever a tool it is. curl, or cURL, is a lot more than a drop-in replacement for wget. Although either tool can be used to run a quick test of a web site, they really have different missions in the web universe.

The wget command is used to grab pages from a web site — either to test that they are available or to download them — and can also be used to recursively download an entire site. curl, on the other hand, downloads pages just fine, but it can upload files and post data to web sites just as easily and it can converse with web sites using a wide range of protocols that is likely to surprise you.