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I want to download a file with Wget, but per the usual UNIX philosophy, I don't want it to output anything if the download succeeds. However, if the download fails, I want an error message.

The -q option suppresses all output, including error messages. If I include -nv option instead, Wget still prints (on stderr):

2012-05-03 16:17:05 URL: [2966] -> "index.html" [1]

How can I remove even that output, but still get error messages?

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Lame hack if you can't get a better answer:

wget {url} 2>/tmp/err.log || cat /tmp/err.log; rm /tmp/err.log

(The 2> /tmp/err.log redirects stderr to a tmp file; if wget returns 0 [success], the || short circuits otherwise it will print out the error log values)

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+1 I missed that all output was going to stderr; I've deleted my answer of just redirecting stdout to /dev/null. – chepner May 3 '12 at 14:29
That works, but it's lame. error_log=$(wget -nv 2>&1) || echo $error_log is a more elegant solution, but still clumsy. – phihag May 3 '12 at 14:29

Try curl instead:

curl -fsS $url -o $file

GNOME users may try Gvfs:

gvfs-cp $url $file
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Unfortunately, curl is not preinstalled on all debian systems. – phihag May 3 '12 at 16:23
Thanks, this was very helpful. – pp19dd Apr 10 '15 at 17:48

Since currently all wget output goes to stderr, it seems that to solve this 'the elegant way' you would have to patch the wget source.

wget source design dictate verbosity level difference between messages, rather than a simple split between error and not error message.

There is an open bug about this, and there also some older discussion. Here is a suggested patch and here there is an answer from Hrvoje Niksic about this

Other than that, there is of course the good solution you proposed in a comment to Foon's less elegant solution.

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You could also pipe the output to grep and filter out the success message.

This should work:

wget ... -nv 2>&1 | grep -Pv "^\d\d\d\d-\d\d-\d\d \d\d:\d\d:\d\d URL:.*\[\d+\] -> ".*" \[\d+\]$"
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