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. Commented May 4, 2015 at 17:51
  • 75
    The -i flag, as in curl -i https://www.example.com/, is probably what you want, as per superuser.com/a/514798/190188
    – caw
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 3:10
  • Why not just something like curl -IL http://www.example.com | grep "^HTTP\/" ?
    – St3an
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 7:46
  • 11
    Not to future self: the answer you want is probably Cyril David's (currently in 4th position) Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 18:08

19 Answers 19


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

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

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

  • 229
    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
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 17:32
  • 31
    And to get just the status number, pipe it to head -n 1|cut -d$' ' -f2
    – Benubird
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 11:33
  • 56
    Don't forget to redirect curl's stderr: curl -I http://www.example.org 2>/dev/null | head -n 1 | cut -d$' ' -f2. Add -L to curl if you need the final status after redirects. Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 21:16
  • 64
    curl -I -X GET will send a GET request, but give the same output.
    – jiggy
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 19:20
  • 4
    Forwarding stderr to /dev/null is not neccessary if you only want to suppress the progress bar - use -s switch for that.
    – rhs
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 9:39

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 (available variables for the -w option on the curl documentation page)


curl -s -o /dev/null -I -w "%{http_code}" http://www.example.org/
  • 84
    -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") Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 8:33
  • 19
    Wow, this /dev/null thing even works in the Windows version of curl that I'm using.
    – Uwe Keim
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 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
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 23:59
  • 87
    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
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 16:59
  • 3
    Are the quotes around the "%{http_code}" required ?
    – Hakan Baba
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 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.

  • 86
    Much better than the accepted answer (which does a HEAD request).
    – neu242
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:05
  • 21
    Maybe obvious, but -i does work with any HTTP method, not just GET and POST... :)
    – mac
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 10:35
  • 9
    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 Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 19:52
  • 13
    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) Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 19:10
  • 7
    Sorry if one wants only the HTTP status code this answer is not doing that. pvandenberk's answer that sends the output to /dev/null` does output only the three digit HTTP code by then requesting only the HTTP code in the format output. Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 14:20

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
  • 37
    +1 for pointing out the verbose flag provides the extra details. Great for testing REST apps.
    – MrOodles
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 20:37
  • 8
    +1 very easy to use when doing POST request (curl -v --data "...")
    – MegaTux
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 20:06
  • 2
    It even splits them in two different file outputs (http status details to stderr and response body to stdout)
    – phil294
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 7:37
  • This should be the accepted answer.
    – simon
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 8:56
  • This answers the question an a bit more, and it's not limited to a HEAD request. Commented Mar 5 at 20:52

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 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.

  • 7
    That's serious slickery...and I like it!
    – spyle
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 21:14
  • 4
    Now how, in turn, can I redirect the output to another variable? Commented Mar 12, 2015 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. Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 3:10
  • 2
    Does not work with /bin/sh.
    – SamK
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 14:47
  • 1
    good answer, you can also redirect to a real file and cat it later if you want portability of shells Commented Feb 8, 2019 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). Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 11:33
  • This is the most straightforward answer -- no odd workarounds with file descriptors, hacky processing of human-readable text with sed, extra unwanted text output…
    – ijoseph
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 4:12

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

  • 2
    This one works like a charm, specially when using curl between Docker containers. I use it like this in PHP: exec("curl -LI "my service name"/"the file I'm looking the HTTP code for" -o /dev/null -w '%{http_code}\n' -s") (e.g.: exec("curl -LI static/someimage.jpg -o [...] where "static" is the service name defined in Docker Compose). Thanks! Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 20:28
  • I would get rid of the -I so it does a normal GET instead of a HEAD request. Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 18:32

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
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 23:33
  • As stated in documentation, it doesn't work for 401 and 407 HTTP code :(
    – Logan Mzz
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 8:47
  • 2
    Thanks to a colleague, I discovered --fail --show-error Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 13:11
  • As of 2021 you can now use the --fail-with-body option
    – MichaelM
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 16:18

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
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 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. Commented Jul 20, 2015 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]'

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" ;;

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
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 14:01
  • Working fine for me on OS X High Sierra 10.13.6.
    – Ben Baron
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 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

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
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 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
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 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

There is another way by using Powershell command which is alias to curl.exe Just type the following:

(Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://your.website).StatusCode


In Windows PowerShell:

curl https:\\www.example.org -Method HEAD

It's really just an alias for Invoke-WebRequest though.

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