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How To Use wget With Username and Password for FTP / HTTP File Retrieval

How do I use GNU wget FTP or HTTP client tool to download files from password protected web pages on Linux or Unix-like system? Is there a way to download a file using username and password from a config file?

The gnu wget command supports username and password combo for both FTP and HTTP file retrieval.


The syntax is:
wget options url
wget --user=NAME --password='PASSWORD' url
wget --user=NAME --password='PASSWORD' ftp://url/path/file.name
wget --user=NAME --password='PASSWORD' http://url/path/file.name


  1. --user=userNameHere: Your FTP/HTTP username.
  2. --password=passWordHere: Your HTTP/FTP password.

Specify the username user and password password for both FTP and HTTP file retrieval. These parameters can be overridden using the --ftp-user and --ftp-password options for FTP connections and the --http-user and --http-password options for HTTP connections. To download a file called foo.pdf from theos.in domain, enter:
$ wget --user=vivek --password='myPassword' http://theos.in/protected/area/foo.pdf
wget --user=vivek --ask-password
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: wget command in action with HTTP auth.

Fig.01: wget command in action with HTTP auth.

Ask for a password

The passwords on the command line are visible using ps command. This is a security feature. Pass the --ask-password option to pompt for a password for each connection established. Cannot be specified when --password is being used, because they are mutually exclusive:
$ wget --user=vivek --ask-password http://theos.in/protected/area/foo.pdf

How do I read username and password from a file?

This is a security feature. Create a ~/.wgetrc file. The syntax is as follows to store login credentials:

$ cat ~/.wgetrc

Of course, you can configure separate FTP and HTTP credentials as follows too:

$ cat ~/.wgetrc

Make sure only you can read the ~/.wgetrc file:
$ chmod 0400 ~/.wgetrc
$ chown vivek:vivek ~/.wgetrc

Please note that storing unencrypted passwords is also considered a security risk.

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • lakshminarayanan May 14, 2008, 1:17 pm

    wow…that was cool!

  • chadido August 8, 2009, 7:36 am

    thats great u saved me

  • Mauricio Hernandez August 21, 2009, 3:21 am

    Could this be used for rapidshare?

  • Vagin August 24, 2009, 12:49 am

    Didn’t work for me. I am on a windows machine. Not sure if that makes a diffrence.

  • iqueen November 18, 2009, 11:35 am

    wget 1.12

  • Asterisk January 12, 2010, 9:30 am

    Works Like a charm!!!

  • meitham July 10, 2010, 12:40 pm

    I need to download a file from my server on another machine with wget, using -p password as an argument is not an option since people could simply find my password with a ps command! Do you know anyway I could force wget to ask for my password after typing the command? like when do mysql -u root -p and it will ask you for the root password?

  • Rahman August 25, 2010, 6:03 am

    Works Like a charm!!!
    tx. [2]

  • Tony Palmer November 2, 2010, 4:04 pm

    wget does not work directly if the site redirects to form based login page, i.e. no HTTP 401 returned

  • Mohamed Jameer March 24, 2011, 7:24 am

    Its Working fine, Thx a lots..

  • Chris Shennan August 4, 2011, 9:09 am

    As easy at that! This made downloading a large XML file much easier than using a browser which ended up crashing 9 out of 10 times.

    Many thanks.


  • Reddy Siva Saran K January 18, 2012, 4:39 am

    I tried the following command which gave a Error Response
    The Response is
    Resolving cambuild.qalab.cam.novell.com…
    Connecting to cambuild.qalab.cam.novell.com||:80… connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 403 Forbidden
    2012-01-18 10:07:51 ERROR 403: Forbidden.

    Have any one faced a similar issue and if yes can you let me know how to come out from this

  • John March 19, 2012, 1:04 pm

    I have the same problem. Any ideas on how to fix?

  • Josh May 13, 2012, 11:12 pm

    Thank you so much, this was exactly what I needed, and it works wonderfully!

  • Pawan July 24, 2012, 10:23 am

    Hi Reddy,
    You must have got your answer by now, posting info hopeing it would help others

    Connecting to cambuild.qalab.cam.novell.com||:80… connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 403 Forbidden
    2012-01-18 10:07:51 ERROR 403: Forbidden.

    If you see the error above, it show your machine succesfully connected to remote host on port 80, however could not find the page you have requsted for403 Forbidden.
    Hope this clarify.

    • fsilva June 26, 2014, 6:37 pm

      This doesnt mean the page could not be found that’s a 404 error. This mean the user who attempted to login does not have the permission to access any further. Therefore “Forbidden” request error is thrown.

  • sujith August 28, 2012, 10:05 am

    Working Perfectly Thanks a lot

  • Parthiban September 17, 2012, 9:30 am

    I want to download two of three files (file-abc.zip, file-xyz.zip, sample.zip) from a ftp server. How can I use wget like————- file*.zip in a shell script.

  • kelvin kalaria October 15, 2012, 3:26 pm

    very very useful command for me

    Thanks a ton..

  • Emile July 10, 2013, 10:00 am

    You can also use this:

    wget ftp://userName:passWord@wwww.example.com/file.pdf
  • Nabil September 6, 2013, 7:39 pm

    Add a space before the command to prevent the command from being stored on your bash history.

  • Tyzoid September 20, 2013, 8:28 pm

    To protect yourself from having your password in your terminal history, you can use the following:

    read -s q; wget http://example.com/path/to/file --user=username --password="$q";
    • Tyzoid September 20, 2013, 8:30 pm

      Remember to set q to null again afterwards!

      • donnie August 16, 2015, 1:46 am


  • امیر محمد October 1, 2013, 1:44 pm

    واقعا ممنون به دردم خورد

    thanks a lot very Nice :x

  • Matt November 20, 2014, 6:18 am

    Thank you for this :-) previously I had to use HTTrack, this is much easier

  • Barun August 23, 2015, 12:26 pm

    wonderful!!! thanx bro..

  • Mohit Pal March 30, 2016, 9:57 am

    I want to execute this command using an automated process. Is there any way to hide or encrypt password?

Security: Are you a robot or human?

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