URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. A uniform resource locator is a compact string representation for a resource available via the Internet. Wget recognizes the URL syntax as per RFC1738. This is the most widely used form (square brackets denote optional parts):
You can also encode your username and password within a URL:
Either user or password, or both, may be left out. If you leave out either the HTTP username or password, no authentication will be sent. If you leave out the FTP username, ‘anonymous’ will be used. If you leave out the FTP password, your email address will be supplied as a default password.1
Important Note: if you specify a password-containing URL
on the command line, the username and password will be plainly visible
to all users on the system, by way of
ps. On multi-user systems,
this is a big security risk. To work around it, use
wget -i -
and feed the URLs to Wget’s standard input, each on a separate
line, terminated by C-d.
You can encode unsafe characters in a URL as ‘%xy’,
being the hexadecimal representation of the character’s ASCII
value. Some common unsafe characters include ‘%’ (quoted as
‘%25’), ‘:’ (quoted as ‘%3A’), and ‘@’ (quoted as
‘%40’). Refer to RFC1738 for a comprehensive list of unsafe
Wget also supports the
type feature for FTP URLs. By
default, FTP documents are retrieved in the binary mode (type
‘i’), which means that they are downloaded unchanged. Another
useful mode is the ‘a’ (ASCII) mode, which converts the line
delimiters between the different operating systems, and is thus useful
for text files. Here is an example:
Two alternative variants of URL specification are also supported, because of historical (hysterical?) reasons and their widespreaded use.
FTP-only syntax (supported by
HTTP-only syntax (introduced by
These two alternative forms are deprecated, and may cease being supported in the future.
If you do not understand the difference between these notations, or do
not know which one to use, just use the plain ordinary format you use
with your favorite browser, like
If you have a .netrc file in your home directory, password will also be searched for there.