Download Wget For Mac



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I like using Terminal, it is usually much more efficient and a lot quicker then the normal methods you use on your Mac. This post is about one widely used tool on UNIX and Linux systems, wget. Wget is a small program that can download files and folders to your computer through Terminal. There is already program similar to wget on your Mac, it is called curl. Although they do the same task, I prefer wget. When I tried curl on my computer it threw up lots of errors and problems. This post will tell you how to install wget and some simple basic usage. It is simple to do and really doesn’t take that long. I can’t take full credit for this tip, I took some of the steps from asitis.

The first step is to download the source code. Head over to the offical site and download the code directly. Once as you have downloaded the package unzip it. There will be a lots of funky files and folders. Thankfully we don’t have to deal with any of them. Open up Terminal and navigate to the folder wget is extracted in. For example:

Download wget for mac installer

cd ~/desktop/temp/wget-1.9.1

We know need to configure the package for your computer and install it. This is done slightly differently to normal packages and folders you may experience. In Terminal again type the following:


This will configure the packages and files for your computer. Then type:



This will make the files into a single binary file for use on your computer. Finally type:

sudo make install

This will copy the binary file into the correct location on your computer. Since the folder wget will copy into is a protected system folder, you will have to use the sudo command and an administrator password.

You have successfully installed wget. For example you can use wget to download zip files using the following command in Terminal.


Wget is designed to download files and web pages in Terminal but it can do a whole lot more. For some reason the link to the man page does not seem to work. So you can visit this URL instead.

You can do hundreds of different things with wget. It really is quite powerful and very easy to use. I recommend reading the man page to find out how to use it. You probably wont use it every day, but for anyone who likes using Terminal, or wants to play around with some more Unix commands, wget is a very fun one to use. If I remember correctly there was an old joke where you type “wget *.*” to download the entire internet.

If you want to take your skills with Terminal a bit further I recommend you check out the Terminal Category on this site. If you fancy reading a book there is a couple on Amazon that I regularly see mentioned and recommend, O’reilly Unix Geeks and Unix Under the Hood both are designed for Mac OS X and take Terminal further.

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Where To Next?

The wget command is used to download files from the web and is one of the most useful commands around. But while it comes included with most distributions of Linux, it is not built into Mac OS X by default. Therefore, let’s look at installing wget.To get started, install the developer tools for Mac OS X so that you can get a working copy of a compiler (gcc). Once the developer tools have been installed, you’ll want to download the latest version of wget from gnu. To do so, either download it manually from or use the ftp command to do so for you:
Next, extract the tar file using the tar command:

Download Wget For Mac Installer

tar -xvzf wget-latest.tar.gz
You will then have a directory called wget- followed by the version of wget you just downloaded (currently 1.12). Let’s cd into that directory:
cd wget-1.12

Download Wget For Mac Os

Then run the configure script:
Then make the installer:
Then run the installer (with elevated privileges:
make install
You will then have the wget command located in /usr/local/bin/wget. To use it, simply use wget, followed by the path to the file you’d like to download using the –tries option:
wget –tries=10

Download Wget Binary For Mac

There are a lot of options for wget, but some that I use more than others include –user= and –password=, which allows you to authenticate to a host by specifying a username and a password (respectively of course) and –limit-rate, which funny enough, let’s you throttle the speeds of transfers so as not to saturate your bandwidth. I also frequently need to use the -r operator, which allows for recursive downloads and the -o operator which outputs to a log file. Overall wget is one of the most useful commands around, and hopefully after reading this you’ll download it and get used to using it (if you weren’t already).
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