How do I make a POST request using cURL's command-line tool?

Mateen Ulhaq
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7 Answers7


With fields:

curl --data "param1=value1&param2=value2" https://example.com/resource.cgi

With fields specified individually:

curl --data "param1=value1" --data "param2=value2" https://example.com/resource.cgi


curl --form "fileupload=@my-file.txt" https://example.com/resource.cgi

Multipart with fields and a filename:

curl --form "fileupload=@my-file.txt;filename=desired-filename.txt" --form param1=value1 --form param2=value2 https://example.com/resource.cgi

Without data:

curl --data '' https://example.com/resource.cgi
curl -X POST https://example.com/resource.cgi

curl --request POST https://example.com/resource.cgi

See the cURL manual for more information. The cURL tutorial on HTTP Scripting is also helpful for emulating a web browser.

With libcurl, use the curl_formadd() function to build your form before submitting it in the usual way. See the libcurl documentation for more information.

For large files, consider adding parameters to show upload progress:

curl --tr-encoding -X POST -v -# -o output -T filename.dat \

The -o output is required, otherwise, no progress bar will appear.

Mateen Ulhaq
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Stephen Deken
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For a RESTful HTTP POST containing XML:

curl -X POST -d @filename.txt http://example.com/path/to/resource --header "Content-Type:text/xml"

or for JSON, use this:

curl -X POST -d @filename.txt http://example.com/path/to/resource --header "Content-Type:application/json"

This will read the contents of the file named filename.txt and send it as the post request.

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    @tom-wijsman explanation: `curl -X POST` implies an HTTP POST request, the `-d` parameter (long version: `--data`) tells curl that what follows will be POST parameters, and `@filename` designates the contents of the file `filename` as parameter. This approach works best with RESTful HTTP APIs as found at Twitter, Facebook, various other web services including Ruby on Rails as well as HTTP APIs of databases such as CouchDB. REST stands for [Representational state transfer](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REST) – soundmonster Jun 27 '12 at 11:27
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    How can we see response xml not in one line but formatted? – Vitaly Zdanevich Jul 29 '16 at 13:12
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    I think that you can leave off the `-X POST` since that is implied by `-d`. – benjifisher Nov 30 '16 at 19:02
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    How to give multiple headers? – keya May 29 '17 at 11:37
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    Multiple Headers: curl -H "header2:1" -H "header2:2" ... – Tomáš Kratochvíla Sep 08 '17 at 14:57
  • Or do `-d 'JSON_STRING'` for inline JSON instead of reading it from a file. – pacoverflow Jun 30 '21 at 23:43

Data from stdin with -d @-


echo '{"text": "Hello **world**!"}' | curl -d @- https://api.github.com/markdown


<p>Hello <strong>world</strong>!</p>
curl -d "name=Rafael%20Sagula&phone=3320780" http://www.where.com/guest.cgi 

is the example found in the Curl Example Manual.

Use %26 for the ampersands though if the above doesn't work:

curl -d "name=Rafael%20Sagula%26phone=3320780" http://www.where.com/guest.cgi 
Patrick Desjardins
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If you want to login to a site, do the following:

curl -d "username=admin&password=admin&submit=Login" --dump-header headers http://localhost/Login
curl -L -b headers http://localhost/

The first request saves the session cookie (that is provided upon successful login) in the "headers" file. From now on you can use that cookie to authenticate you to any part of the website that you usually access after logging in with a browser.

Martin Konecny
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If you are lazy, you can get google-chrome or firefox to do all the work for you.

  1. Right-click the form you want to submit and select Inspect (or Inspect Element for Firefox). This will open the DevTools panel.
  2. Select the Network tab in devtools and tick the Preserve log checkbox (Persist Logs for firefox).
  3. Submit the form and locate the entry with method POST (right-click on any column header and make sure Method is checked).
  4. Right click the line with POST, and select Copy > Copy as cURL.

chrome devtools: copy as cURL

Chrome will copy all the request data in cURL syntax.

Chrome uses --data 'param1=hello&param2=world' which you can make more readable by using a single -d or -F per parameter depending on which type of POST request you want to send, which can be either application/x-www-form-urlencoded or multipart/form-data accordingly.

This will be POST-ed as application/x-www-form-urlencoded (used for the majority of forms that don't contain file uploads):

curl http://httpbin.org/post \
    -H "User-Agent: Mozilla/2.2" \
    -d param1=hello \
    -d name=dinsdale

For a multipart/form-data POST use -F (typically used with forms that contain file uploads, or where order of fields is important, or where multiple fields with the same name are required):

curl http://httpbin.org/post \
    -H "User-Agent: Mozilla/2.2" \
    -F param1=hello \
    -F name=dinsdale \
    -F name=piranha

The User-Agent header is not normally needed, but I've thrown it in just in case. If you need a custom agent then you can avoid having to set it on every request by creating the ~/.curlrc file which contains e.g. User-Agent: "Mozilla/2.2"

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curl -v --data-ascii var=value http://example.com

and there are many more options, check curl --help for more information.

Tamara Wijsman
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Vinko Vrsalovic
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