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What is Curl?
Curl is a command-line tool for transferring data from a client or to a server, designed to work without user interaction. With Curl, you can upload or download data using one of the supported protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, SCP, SFTP, and FTP. Curl provides options for bandwidth limiting, proxy support, user authentication, and has built-in support for SSL, certificate validation, and HTTP cookies. Curl works on all modern platforms such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
How to install Curl on Windows 7 or 8?
Windows 10 already contains Curl, but for Windows 7 and 8, you still need to download and install Curl from the official website. Methods of installing Curl on Windows:
- Download pre-compiled binaries
Download Curl from the official site and unzip it to, for example, C:\Curl directory. The curl.exe file will be located in the C:\Curl\bin directory. Add C:\Curl\bin to your PATH environment variable so that Windows can find curl.exe without specifying the full path.
- Install Curl using Chocolatey Windows Package Manager
After installing the Chocolatey Package Manager, run the following command:
- Install Curl with Cygwin
CYGWIN is a Unix-like environment for Windows, and it is a pre-compiled project for Unix tools. To use Curl as part of CYGWIN, you must first download the CYGWIN installer and run it. During the installation process, you will see a list of installation packages. Make sure you select the Curl package.
- Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft released a product called Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL is based on Ubuntu Linux. Using WSL gives you a complete Linux environment instead of CYGWIN, just a collection of utilities from Linux. After installing WSL, go to the start menu, click on Bash, and you can use all of your favorite Linux tools, including Curl.
- Compile Curl from source code
You can build Curl yourself from the source code. This is the most complicated installation method. You can find instructions on how to compile Curl from the source code here.
PowerShell vs Curl
Windows 10 has another powerful tool for developers and administrators called PowerShell. Windows PowerShell replaces the command line (known as the "Console") and provides even more advanced control over the operating system. PowerShell can run some of the Curl commands without modifications. The rest of the Curl commands need to be "translated". The "translator" is built-in and is included in PowerShell using "Get-Alias" and the Curl command.
What are the alternatives to Curl on Windows?
The most popular Curl equivalents for Windows are:
Wget is a free command-line tool for downloading files using the HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocols. Wget is a non-interactive command-line tool that can be easily invoked from scripts, deferred commands, non-X-Windows terminals, etc.
- VSCode Rest Client
VSCode Rest Client is an extension plugin for Microsoft VSCode Code Editor. It allows you to make HTTP calls by executing multiple curl-like commands. The most significant benefit of this extension is that you never have to leave your code editor to test endpoints and connections.
HTTPie is a command line-based HTTP client used for testing JSON-based APIs. Besides the simple language, HTTPie has colored terminal output with syntax highlighting, authentication capabilities, and built-in JSON support. It is the best command-line-based Curl replacement.
- Postman API Client
Postman can provide everything you need to test your API, from simple HTTP requests to authentication, automated tests, and custom scripts.
The RESTClient is used to test various HTTP requests and RESTful web services. It has a user-friendly graphical interface and rich functionality.
Curl is a valuable and handy command-line tool for testing APIs, performing various tasks, and useful for troubleshooting and downloading files. Curl is available, highly adaptable, and works on Windows, Linux, Mac. Windows 10 already includes Curl in its ints installation package, and for Windows 7 and 8, you need to download and install Curl manually using one of the methods described in this article.