Linux Download Password Protected Large ISO Images [ Authentication Credentials ]

by on July 28, 2011 · 8 comments· LAST UPDATED July 28, 2011


I'm trying to download an ISO image for Enterprise Linux from RHN or Novell Suse. Both providers have placed ISO images behind paywall. I need to provide authentication credentials before downloading all files. How do I download ISO files using the wget command with user name and password?

You can use the Linux wget command to download large ISO files. The wget can provide user name and password for HTTP/401 Unauthorized headers using the following syntax:

wget --http-user=RHNUserName --http-password=RHNPassword ''


wget --http-user=NovellUserName --http-password=NovellPassword ''

In this example, I'm downloading SLES 11 SP1 AMD64 workstation from my personal account, enter:

wget --http-user=MyUSERID --http-password='SecretPassword' ''

Sample outputs:

Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 302 Moved Temporarily
Location: [following]
--2011-07-28 07:35:00--
Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 401 Unauthorized
Reusing existing connection to
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 4605421568 (4.3G) [application/octet-stream]
Saving to: `SLES-11-SP1-DVD-x86_64-GM-DVD2.iso.1'
45% [=============================================>                                                       ] 2,09,79,89,128  527K/s  eta 23m 36s

Please note that user name and password may be intercepted by a third-party while in transit. So make sure you use https version for downloading files.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 wookie August 2, 2011 at 7:21 am

What about 2GB upper limit of file size when using wget? Is it still an issue?


2 nixCraft August 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

No. I can download large files too such as 4.1FB DVD.


3 Gaurish Sharma August 4, 2011 at 9:28 am

Wget 1.10, released June 2005, introduced large file support for files greater than 2Gigs. so use wget version 1.1 or later, you won’t face any issues

Hope it helps


4 i hack sites August 4, 2011 at 3:17 am

Not only is the user / password sent in clear-text but they are also going to be found in your shell history.

Usually not a big issue, but .bash_histories are regularly checked during pentests. :)


5 lol August 12, 2011 at 6:07 am

So ? Who cares :p


6 Ben Tyger August 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Use curl.

#> curl –user $USERNAME ‘http://RHN URL/’
You will be prompted for the password. There will be no password in your .bash_history. See `man curl` for more info.


7 cyclop September 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Hmmmmm……but when using a proxy……???


8 Michael Tunnell January 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

uGet, download manager, can also use username and password logins in CLI but also in a GUI. It can also work via a proxy as well as a LOT more cool features. :) and for a list of all the features (there is a lot) go to


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