How can I make a POST request with the cURL command-line tool?

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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

For more information see the cURL manual. The cURL tutorial on emulating a web browser is helpful.

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.

  • 7
    @LauriRanta --data-urlencode (no dash), in recent versions at least – waitinforatrain Feb 12 '13 at 12:34
  • 3
    Also works if you need to update a resource with a PUT: curl -X PUT ... – Subfuzion Jan 22 '14 at 4:38
  • 3
    I'm having trouble understanding... when would I do it With Fields, when with Multipart and when Without Data? – CodyBugstein Sep 21 '14 at 11:05
  • 5
    Instead of --data you can use -d. – user35538 Oct 9 '15 at 16:32
  • i have an array of fields. how can i do this? – ARUNBALAN NV Mar 9 '16 at 13:13

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.

  • 11
    @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 – soundmonster Jun 27 '12 at 11:27
  • How can we see response xml not in one line but formatted? – Vitaly Zdanevich Jul 29 '16 at 13:12
  • 3
    I think that you can leave off the -X POST since that is implied by -d. – benjifisher Nov 30 '16 at 19:02
  • How to give multiple headers? – keya May 29 '17 at 11:37
  • Multiple Headers: curl -H "header2:1" -H "header2:2" ... – Tomáš Kratochvíla Sep 8 '17 at 14:57

Data from stdin: use -d @-. Example:

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

Output:

<p>Hello <strong>world</strong>!</p>
  • 5
    Great if you have a JSON object already in clipboard – Luca Steeb May 29 '16 at 16:12
  • even better: echo "$message" | curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d @- "$url" – rzr Nov 8 '17 at 18:43
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 

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.

  • 4
    a note from curl's man page: 'The -c, --cookie-jar option is however a better way to store cookies.' – maxschlepzig Dec 28 '13 at 15:14
curl -v --data-ascii var=value http://example.com

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

If you are lazy, you can get google-chrome to do all the work for you.

  1. Right-click the form you want to submit and select Inspect. This will open the DevTools panel.
  2. Select the Network tab in devtools and tick the Preserve log checkbox.
  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. You can avoid having to set the user agent on every request by creating the ~/.curlrc file which contains e.g. User-Agent: "Mozilla/2.2"

protected by studiohack May 11 '11 at 16:02

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