Follow Redirects with cURL

By  on  

I love playing around with cURL. There's something about loading websites via command line that makes me feel like some type of smug hacker, just like tweeting from command line does.

I recently cURL'd the Google homepage and saw the following:

curl google.com

#<HTML><HEAD><meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=utf-8">
#<TITLE>301 Moved</TITLE></HEAD><BODY>
#<H1>301 Moved</H1>
#The document has moved
#<A HREF="http://www.google.com/">here</A>.
#</BODY></HTML>

I found it weird that Google does the initial redirect but I still want to get the source of the Google homepage with cURL, as with any site that may do a redirect without you noticing. Luckily it's just a single flag:

curl -L google.com

#<!doctype html><html itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/WebPage" lang="en">...

The -L flag instructs cURL to follow any redirect so that you reach the eventual endpoint. Those tiny redirects are just noise anyways, right?

Recent Features

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Optimize Your Links For Print Using CSS â Show The URL

    When moving around from page to page in your trusty browser, you get the benefit of hovering over links and viewing the link's target URL in the status bar. When it comes to page printouts, however, this obviously isn't an option. Most website printouts...

  • By
    Create a Simple Dojo Accordion

    Let's be honest:  even though we all giggle about how cheap of a thrill JavaScript accordions have become on the web, they remain an effective, useful widget.  Lots of content, small amount of space.  Dojo's Dijit library provides an incredibly simply method by which you can...

Discussion

  1. Dan

    Is there a way to do this outside of the command line in PHP?

    • H.Gerber

      The curl-lib in PHP offers an option for that:

      $handle = curl_init();
      ...
      curl_setopt($handle, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, true);
      ...
      curl_exec($handle);
      ...
      
    • Jonny

      And if the url is using/forcing https, set this option before executing the curl:

      curl_setopt($handle, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, false);
      
    • Robert Munro

      Please don’t do that, unless you really don’t care about the content of the download. It essentially says “Ignore the SSL errors if it’s broken – trust the same as you would an unencrypted URL.”

      The data will still be encrypted, but could be coming from a man-in-the-middle, not from where you thing it’s coming from.

  2. The implementation of curl in PHP has an option for that.

    See the following link:
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3519939/make-curl-follow-redirects

  3. A

    if you liked curl, you’ll love lynx..

  4. I hit an issue with not following redirects myself, but this was a download from a GitHub release download that was redirecting to a S3 bucket. Broke a CLI out in the wild…

    In this case, I’m not sure it’s noise (to get at your closing question). I was intentionally not following redirects, as one should not expect this to be happening with GitHub downloads…

    I have a support ticket in to see what’s up with this very recent change. Maybe it was a DevOops?

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!