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:
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.
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.