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I'm using curl at the command line on Linux to issue HTTP requests. The response bodies are printed to standard out, which is fine, but I can't see from the man page how to get curl to print the HTTP status code from the response (404, 403 etc). Is this possible?

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As for me, I can see from the manual how to get the HTTP status code, but the option -w does not work. I have reported the bug to Apple. – Nicolas Barbulesco May 4 '15 at 17:51
It's time to switch the accepted answer, me thinks! :P – pvandenberk Sep 18 '15 at 12:48

10 Answers 10

up vote 149 down vote accepted

This should work for you if the web server is able to respond to HEAD requests (this will not perform a GET):

curl -I

As an addition, to let cURL follow redirects (3xx statuses) add -L.

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NB: curl -I does a HEAD HTTP request, which can be problematic for testing the HTTP status code for some web application servers and services – Jay Taylor Sep 6 '12 at 17:32
And to get just the status number, pipe it to head -n 1|cut -d$' ' -f2 – Benubird Jul 17 '13 at 11:33
Don't forget to redirect curl's stderr: curl -I 2>/dev/null | head -n 1 | cut -d$' ' -f2. Add -L to curl if you need the final status after redirects. – Aaron Blenkush Jul 24 '14 at 21:16
Following the redirect after only doing a HEAD request may cause interesting behavior, depending on how the app is programmed. – smackfu Sep 21 '15 at 21:16
curl -I -X GET will send a GET request, but give the same output. – jiggy Nov 30 '15 at 19:20

A more specific way to print out just the HTTP status code is something along the lines of:

curl -s -o /dev/null -w "%{http_code}"

A lot easier to work with in scripts, as it doesn't require any parsing :-)

The parameter -I might be added to improve response load performance. This parameter just request for status/headers of response, without download response body. (%{http_code} returns on first line of HTTP payload)


curl -s -o /dev/null -I -w "%{http_code}"
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-w "%{http_code}" is the bit that prints the status code. You can add a newline or two in there to separate the code from the body (-w "\n\n%{http_code}\n") – Jeffrey Martinez Jan 11 '14 at 8:33
Wow, this /dev/null thing even works in the Windows version of curl that I'm using. – Uwe Keim Jan 30 '15 at 6:53
I believe this downloads the entire file even though it all goes to /dev/null, so not ideal for checking the status code for huge files. httping -c 1 -s -G -m issues a GET and doesn't download the whole file, although I realise this question is specifically about curl. – romkyns Dec 13 '15 at 23:59
@romkyns, you're correct: the first variant in my answer downloads the entire file and "saves" it to /dev/null, but the second variant - ie. the one using the -I option for curl - doesn't. However, care must be taken, as you're not really testing the same action: one does an HTTP GET request, whilst the other makes a HEAD request... some webservers/websites will respond with a different status code, even if the requested URL is exactly the same! – pvandenberk Jun 17 at 15:56
FYI: -s = Don't show download progress, -o /dev/null = don't display the body, -w "%{http_code}" = Write http response code to stdout after exit. – Ajedi32 Jul 19 at 16:59

If you want to see the header as well as the result you can use the verbose option:

curl -v
curl --verbose

The status will appear in the header. E.g.

< Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:12:59 GMT
< Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
< Status: 422 Unprocessable Entity
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+1 for pointing out the verbose flag provides the extra details. Great for testing REST apps. – MrOodles Oct 15 '12 at 20:37
+1 very easy to use when doing POST request (curl -v --data "...") – MegaTux Jun 23 '14 at 20:06

You can print the status code, in addition to all the headers by doing the following:

curl -i

The good thing about -i is that it works with -X POST as well.

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Much better than the accepted answer (which does a HEAD request). – neu242 Oct 2 '14 at 10:05
Maybe obvious, but -i does work with any HTTP method, not just GET and POST... :) – mac Oct 20 '14 at 10:35
the best answer as it makes curl output both headers and body, making it suitable for most of the tasks when used in a script – Sarge Borsch Aug 31 '15 at 19:52

If you want to capture the HTTP status code in a variable, but still redirect the content to STDOUT, you must create two STDOUTs. You can do so with process substitution >() and command substitution $().

First, create a file descriptor 3 for your current process' STDOUT with exec 3>&1.

Then, use curl's -o option to redirect the response content to a temporary fifo using command substitution, and then within that command substitution, redirect output back to your current process STDOUT file descriptor 3 with -o >(cat >&3).

Putting it all together:

#creates a new file descriptor 3 that redirects to 1 (STDOUT)
exec 3>&1 
# Run curl in a separate command, capturing output of -w "%{http_code}" into HTTP_STATUS
# and sending the content to this command's STDOUT with -o >(cat >&3)
HTTP_STATUS=$(curl -w "%{http_code}" -o >(cat >&3) '')
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That's serious slickery...and I like it! – spyle Jan 30 '15 at 21:14
Now how, in turn, can I redirect the output to another variable? – Roger Filmyer Mar 12 '15 at 1:46
The output is in STDOUT, so you should be able to redirect output from the command to anywhere you like just like a regular command. I haven't tested this though. – Heath Borders Jul 21 '15 at 3:10

Redefine curl output:

curl -sw '%{http_code}'

Can be used with any request type.

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Only the status code:

curl -I 2>/dev/null | head -n 1 | cut -d$' ' -f2
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Can you explain what this code does and how it addresses the problem given by the OP? Unexplained code can appear untrusted and dangerous to users. – bwDraco Jul 16 '15 at 1:58
Sure, we send a request to url, get only the first line of the response, split it on blocks and select the second one. It contains the response code that OP is looking for. – Filip Spiridonov Jul 20 '15 at 22:01

This is a painful curl --fail limitation. From man curl :

-f, --fail (HTTP) Fail silently (no output at all) on server errors

But there is no way to get both the non-zero return code AND the response body in stdout.

Based on pvandenberk's answer and this other very useful trick learned on SO, here is a workaround :

curl_with_error_code () {
    _curl_with_error_code "$@" | sed '$d'
_curl_with_error_code () {
    local curl_error_code http_code
    exec 17>&1
    http_code=$(curl --write-out '\n%{http_code}\n' "$@" | tee /dev/fd/17 | tail -n 1)
    exec 17>&-
    if [ $curl_error_code -ne 0 ]; then
        return $curl_error_code
    if [ $http_code -ge 400 ] && [ $http_code -lt 600 ]; then
        echo "HTTP $http_code" >&2
        return 127

This function behaves exactly as curl, but will return 127 (a return code non-used by curl) in case of a HTTP code in the range [400, 600[.

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For a POST request, the following worked:

curl -w 'RESP_CODE:%{response_code}' -s -X POST --data '{"asda":"asd"}' --header "Content-Type:application/json"|grep -o  'RESP_CODE:[1-4][0-9][0-9]'
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Here is some curl command that is using GET and that returns the HTTP code.

curl -so /dev/null -w '%{response_code}'

Please remember that the approach below is using HEAD, which is faster but it may not work well with some web less compliant HTTP servers.

 curl -I
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