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?

  • 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
  • 52
    The -i flag, as in curl -i https://www.example.com/, is probably what you want, as per superuser.com/a/514798/190188 – caw Mar 13 '17 at 3:10
  • Why not just something like curl -IL http://www.example.com | grep "^HTTP\/" ? – St3an Feb 18 '19 at 7:46
  • 5
    Not to future self: the answer you want is probably Cyril David's (currently in 4th position) – WhiteHotLoveTiger Jun 17 '19 at 18:08

17 Answers 17


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

curl -I http://www.example.org

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

  • 183
    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
  • 24
    And to get just the status number, pipe it to head -n 1|cut -d$' ' -f2 – Benubird Jul 17 '13 at 11:33
  • 44
    Don't forget to redirect curl's stderr: curl -I http://www.example.org 2>/dev/null | head -n 1 | cut -d$' ' -f2. Add -L to curl if you need the final status after redirects. – Aaron Blenkush Jul 24 '14 at 21:16
  • 1
    Following the redirect after only doing a HEAD request may cause interesting behavior, depending on how the app is programmed. – Scott McIntyre Sep 21 '15 at 21:16
  • 50
    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}" http://www.example.org/

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 will change the call to a HEAD call which will fetch response overhead only, without the body.

Note: %{http_code} returns on first line of HTTP payload


curl -s -o /dev/null -I -w "%{http_code}" http://www.example.org/
  • 68
    -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
  • 13
    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
  • 3
    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. – RomanSt Dec 13 '15 at 23:59
  • 60
    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 '16 at 16:59
  • 3
    Are the quotes around the "%{http_code}" required ? – Hakan Baba Mar 13 '18 at 18:52

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

curl -i http://example.org

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

  • 57
    Much better than the accepted answer (which does a HEAD request). – neu242 Oct 2 '14 at 10:05
  • 13
    Maybe obvious, but -i does work with any HTTP method, not just GET and POST... :) – mac Oct 20 '14 at 10:35
  • 5
    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 – Display Name Aug 31 '15 at 19:52
  • 11
    This is the best answer, and can be used in conjunction with -s (don't show progress meter or error messages) and -S(do show error messages after all) – Jonathan Hartley Feb 23 '17 at 19:10
  • thank you works great – ennth Dec 4 '20 at 11:24

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

curl -v http://www.example.org
curl --verbose http://www.example.org

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
  • 34
    +1 for pointing out the verbose flag provides the extra details. Great for testing REST apps. – MrOodles Oct 15 '12 at 20:37
  • 8
    +1 very easy to use when doing POST request (curl -v --data "...") – MegaTux Jun 23 '14 at 20:06
  • 1
    It even splits them in two different file outputs (http status details to stderr and response body to stdout) – phil294 Apr 30 '18 at 7:37

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 in bash 3.2.57(1)-release (standard for macOS):

# 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) 'http://example.com')

Note that this doesn't work in /bin/sh as SamK noted in the comments below.

  • 5
    That's serious slickery...and I like it! – spyle Jan 30 '15 at 21:14
  • 3
    Now how, in turn, can I redirect the output to another variable? – Roger Filmyer Mar 12 '15 at 1:46
  • 1
    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
  • 1
    Does not work with /bin/sh. – SamK Oct 11 '18 at 14:47
  • 1
    good answer, you can also redirect to a real file and cat it later if you want portability of shells – akostadinov Feb 8 '19 at 9:40

Redefine curl output:

curl -sw '%{http_code}' http://example.org

Can be used with any request type.

  • -k (--insecure) is overriding -s (silent). – Ravichandra Jul 10 '18 at 11:33

Status code ONLY

[0]$ curl -LI http://www.example.org -o /dev/null -w '%{http_code}\n' -s
[0]$ 200

All credit to this GIST


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[.

  • 3
    Agreed, not being able to see the error output is a painful limitation of the otherwise very handy --fail. How can you diagnose a REST api failure without seeing the error output? It's so unfortunate that the curl maintainer bagder stubbornly insists on not providing a --fail-but-show-error. github.com/curl/curl/issues/1978 – jamshid May 13 '18 at 23:33
  • As stated in documentation, it doesn't work for 401 and 407 HTTP code :( – Logan Mzz Aug 29 '19 at 8:47
  • 2
    Thanks to a colleague, I discovered --fail --show-error – Lucas Cimon Apr 28 '20 at 13:11

This will 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

curl -I http://example.org 2>/dev/null | head -n 1 | cut -d$' ' -f2
  • 1
    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
  • 2
    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

For a POST request, the following worked:

curl -w 'RESP_CODE:%{response_code}' -s -X POST --data '{"asda":"asd"}' http://example.com --header "Content-Type:application/json"|grep -o  'RESP_CODE:[1-4][0-9][0-9]'

Use the following cURL command and pipe it to grep like so:

$ curl -I -s -L http://example.com/v3/get_list | grep "HTTP/1.1"

Here's what each flag does:

  • -I: Show only response headers
  • -s: Silent - Don't show progress bar
  • -L: Follow Location: headers

Here is a link to HTTP status codes.

Run from the command line. This curl runs in silent mode, follows any redirects, get the HTTP headers. grep will print the HTTP status code to standard output.


Here is some curl command that is using GET and that returns the HTTP code.

curl -so /dev/null -w '%{response_code}' http://www.example.org

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 http://www.example.org
  • Not working on OS X at least. – Ain Jul 27 '16 at 14:01
  • Working fine for me on OS X High Sierra 10.13.6. – Ben Baron Jul 27 '18 at 16:39
curl -so -i /dev/null -w "%{http_code}"  http://www.any_example.com

This will return the following information:

  1. response data, if any data is returned by API like error
  2. status code

An example of how to use the response codes. I use this to re-download Geolite databases only if they have changed (-z) & also following redirects (-L):

file=$(basename $url)

response=$(curl -L -s -o $file -z $file $url -w "%{http_code}")

case "$response" in
        200) do_something ;;
        301) do_something ;;
        304) printf "Received: HTTP $response (file unchanged) ==> $url\n" ;;
        404) printf "Received: HTTP $response (file not found) ==> $url\n" ;;
          *) printf "Received: HTTP $response ==> $url\n" ;;

Split output content to stdout and HTTP status code to stderr:

curl http://www.example.org -o >(cat >&1) -w "%{http_code}\n" 1>&2

If only HTTP status code is desired to stderr, --silent can be used:

curl --silent http://www.example.org -o >(cat >&1) -w "%{http_code}\n" 1>&2

The desired stream can then be picked by redirecting unwanted one to /dev/null:

$ (curl --silent http://www.example.org -o >(cat >&1) -w "%{http_code}" 1>&2) 1>/dev/null
$ (curl --silent http://www.example.org -o >(cat >&1) -w "%{http_code}" 1>&2) 2>/dev/null
<!doctype html>

Note that for the second redirection to behave as desired, we need to run the curl command in subshell.

  • 1
    Requires bash for process substitution. – Jaakko Jun 4 '19 at 8:16
  • @Bruno, I changed the example from superuser.com/revisions/1444693/2, as I think the /tmp/out /tmp/err files can cause unexpected results if run parallel. – Jaakko Oct 8 '19 at 8:13

The OP wants to know the status code. Often when downloading a file you also want to get a feel of it's size so I'm using curl first to show status code and size of file and then shut off verbose and direct file to the place and name I want:

curl -R -s -S -w  "\nhttp: %{http_code} %{size_download}\n" -o /Users/myfiles/the_local_name.html http://archive.onweb.com/the_online_name.html

Then I wait for the finishing of curl

wait ${!}

before I run the next command. The above when used in a script of many commands like above gives a nice response like:

http: 200 42824

http: 200 34728

http: 200 35452

Please note that -o in curl needs to be followed by the full path of the file + name of file. This allows you thusly to save files in a sensible name structure when you d/l them with curl. Also note that -s and -S used together silence the output but does show errors. Note also that -R tries to set the file timestamp to that of the web file.

My answer is based on what @pvandenberk originally suggested, but in addition it actually saves the file somewhere, instead of merely directing to /dev/null.

$ curl -kv https://www.example.org 2>&1 | grep -i 'HTTP/1.1 ' | awk '{print $3}'| sed -e 's/^[ \t]*//'
  • 2>&1: error is stored in output for parsing
  • grep: filter the response code line from output
  • awk: filters out the response code from response code line
  • sed: removes any leading white spaces

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.