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How do I make a POST request using cURL's command-line tool?

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7 Answers 7

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With fields:

curl --data "param1=value1&param2=value2" https://example.com/resource.cgi

With fields specified individually:

curl --data "param1=value1" --data "param2=value2" https://example.com/resource.cgi

Multipart:

curl --form "fileupload=@my-file.txt" https://example.com/resource.cgi

Multipart with fields and a filename:

curl --form "fileupload=@my-file.txt;filename=desired-filename.txt" --form param1=value1 --form param2=value2 https://example.com/resource.cgi

Without data:

curl --data '' https://example.com/resource.cgi
    
curl -X POST https://example.com/resource.cgi

curl --request POST https://example.com/resource.cgi

See the cURL manual for more information. The cURL tutorial on HTTP Scripting is also helpful for emulating a web browser.

With libcurl, use the curl_formadd() function to build your form before submitting it in the usual way. See the libcurl documentation for more information.

For large files, consider adding parameters to show upload progress:

curl --tr-encoding -X POST -v -# -o output -T filename.dat \
      http://example.com/resource.cgi

The -o output is required, otherwise, no progress bar will appear.

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  • 10
    @LauriRanta --data-urlencode (no dash), in recent versions at least Feb 12, 2013 at 12:34
  • 6
    Also works if you need to update a resource with a PUT: curl -X PUT ...
    – Subfuzion
    Jan 22, 2014 at 4:38
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    I'm having trouble understanding... when would I do it With Fields, when with Multipart and when Without Data? Sep 21, 2014 at 11:05
  • 11
    Instead of --data you can use -d.
    – user35538
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:32
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    i have an array of fields. how can i do this? Mar 9, 2016 at 13:13
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For a RESTful HTTP POST containing XML:

curl -X POST -d @filename.txt http://example.com/path/to/resource --header "Content-Type:text/xml"

or for JSON, use this:

curl -X POST -d @filename.txt http://example.com/path/to/resource --header "Content-Type:application/json"

This will read the contents of the file named filename.txt and send it as the post request.

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    @tom-wijsman explanation: curl -X POST implies an HTTP POST request, the -d parameter (long version: --data) tells curl that what follows will be POST parameters, and @filename designates the contents of the file filename as parameter. This approach works best with RESTful HTTP APIs as found at Twitter, Facebook, various other web services including Ruby on Rails as well as HTTP APIs of databases such as CouchDB. REST stands for Representational state transfer Jun 27, 2012 at 11:27
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    How can we see response xml not in one line but formatted? Jul 29, 2016 at 13:12
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    I think that you can leave off the -X POST since that is implied by -d. Nov 30, 2016 at 19:02
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    How to give multiple headers?
    – keya
    May 29, 2017 at 11:37
  • 1
    Multiple Headers: curl -H "header2:1" -H "header2:2" ... Sep 8, 2017 at 14:57
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Data from stdin with -d @-

Example:

echo '{"text": "Hello **world**!"}' | curl -d @- https://api.github.com/markdown

Output:

<p>Hello <strong>world</strong>!</p>
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    Great if you have a JSON object already in clipboard
    – Luca Steeb
    May 29, 2016 at 16:12
  • even better: echo "$message" | curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d @- "$url"
    – rzr
    Nov 8, 2017 at 18:43
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curl -d "name=Rafael%20Sagula&phone=3320780" http://www.where.com/guest.cgi 

is the example found in the Curl Example Manual.

Use %26 for the ampersands though if the above doesn't work:

curl -d "name=Rafael%20Sagula%26phone=3320780" http://www.where.com/guest.cgi 
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If you want to login to a site, do the following:

curl -d "username=admin&password=admin&submit=Login" --dump-header headers http://localhost/Login
curl -L -b headers http://localhost/

The first request saves the session cookie (that is provided upon successful login) in the "headers" file. From now on you can use that cookie to authenticate you to any part of the website that you usually access after logging in with a browser.

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    a note from curl's man page: 'The -c, --cookie-jar option is however a better way to store cookies.' Dec 28, 2013 at 15:14
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If you are lazy, you can get google-chrome or firefox to do all the work for you.

  1. Right-click the form you want to submit and select Inspect (or Inspect Element for Firefox). This will open the DevTools panel.
  2. Select the Network tab in devtools and tick the Preserve log checkbox (Persist Logs for firefox).
  3. Submit the form and locate the entry with method POST (right-click on any column header and make sure Method is checked).
  4. Right click the line with POST, and select Copy > Copy as cURL.

chrome devtools: copy as cURL

Chrome will copy all the request data in cURL syntax.

Chrome uses --data 'param1=hello&param2=world' which you can make more readable by using a single -d or -F per parameter depending on which type of POST request you want to send, which can be either application/x-www-form-urlencoded or multipart/form-data accordingly.

This will be POST-ed as application/x-www-form-urlencoded (used for the majority of forms that don't contain file uploads):

curl http://httpbin.org/post \
    -H "User-Agent: Mozilla/2.2" \
    -d param1=hello \
    -d name=dinsdale

For a multipart/form-data POST use -F (typically used with forms that contain file uploads, or where order of fields is important, or where multiple fields with the same name are required):

curl http://httpbin.org/post \
    -H "User-Agent: Mozilla/2.2" \
    -F param1=hello \
    -F name=dinsdale \
    -F name=piranha

The User-Agent header is not normally needed, but I've thrown it in just in case. If you need a custom agent then you can avoid having to set it on every request by creating the ~/.curlrc file which contains e.g. User-Agent: "Mozilla/2.2"

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curl -v --data-ascii var=value http://example.com

and there are many more options, check curl --help for more information.

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