To get to know what version of curl you have installed, run

curl --version

or use the shorthand version:

curl -V

The output from that command line is typically four lines, out of which some are rather long and might wrap in your terminal window.

An example output from a Debian Linux in June 2020:

curl 7.68.0 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.68.0 OpenSSL/1.1.1g
zlib/1.2.11 brotli/1.0.7 libidn2/2.3.0 libpsl/0.21.0 (+libidn2/2.3.0)
libssh2/1.8.0 nghttp2/1.41.0 librtmp/2.3
Release-Date: 2020-01-08
Protocols: dict file ftp ftps gopher http https imap imaps ldap ldaps pop3
pop3s rtmp rtsp scp sftp smb smbs smtp smtps telnet tftp 
Features: AsynchDNS brotli GSS-API HTTP2 HTTPS-proxy IDN IPv6 Kerberos
Largefile libz NTLM NTLM_WB PSL SPNEGO SSL TLS-SRP UnixSockets

while the same command line invoked on a Windows 10 machine on the same date looks like:

curl 7.55.1 (Windows) libcurl/7.55.1 WinSSL
Release-Date: [unreleased]
Protocols: dict file ftp ftps http https imap imaps pop3 pop3s smtp smtps
telnet tftp
Features: AsynchDNS IPv6 Largefile SSPI Kerberos SPNEGO NTLM SSL

The meaning of the four lines?

Line 1: curl

The first line starts with curl and first shows the main version number of the tool. Then follows the platform the tool was built for within parentheses and the libcurl version. Those three fields are common for all curl builds.

If the curl version number has -DEV appended to it, it means the version is built straight from an in-development source code and it is not an officially released and blessed version.

The rest of this line contains names of third party components this build of curl uses, often with their individual version number next to it with a slash separator. Like OpenSSL/1.1.1g and nghttp2/1.41.0. This can for example tell you which TLS backends this curl uses.

Line 1: TLS versions

Line 1 may contain one or more TLS libraries. curl can be built to support more than one TLS library which then makes curl - at start-up - select which particular backend to use for this invocation.

If curl supports more than one TLS library like this, the ones that are not selected by default are listed within parentheses. Thus, if you do not specify which backend to use (with the CURL_SSL_BACKEND environment variable) the one listed without parentheses is used.

Line 2: Release-Date

This line shows the date this curl version was released by the curl project, and it can also show a secondary "Patch date" if it has been updated somehow after it was originally released.

This says [unreleased] if curl was built another way than from a release tarball, and as you can see above that is how Microsoft did it for Windows 10 and the curl project does not recommend it.

Line 3: Protocols

This is a list of all transfer protocols (URL schemes really) in alphabetical order that this curl build supports. All names are shown in lowercase letters.

This list can contain these protocols:

dict, file, ftp, ftps, gopher, http, https, imap, imaps, ldap, ldaps, mqtt, pop3, pop3s, rtmp, rtsp, scp, sftp, smb, smbs, smtp, smtps, telnet and tftp

Line 4: Features

The list of features this build of curl supports. If the name is present in the list, that feature is enabled. If the name is not present, that feature is not enabled.

Features that can be present there:

  • alt-svc - Support for the alt-svc: header
  • AsynchDNS - This curl uses asynchronous name resolves. Asynchronous name resolves can be done using either the c-ares or the threaded resolver backends.
  • brotli - support for automatic brotli compression over HTTP(S)
  • CharConv - curl was built with support for character set conversions (like EBCDIC)
  • Debug - This curl uses a libcurl built with Debug. This enables more error-tracking and memory debugging etc. For curl-developers only.
  • GSS-API - GSS-API authentication is enabled
  • HTTP2 - HTTP/2 support has been built-in.
  • HTTP3 - HTTP/3 support has been built-in.
  • HTTPS-proxy - This curl is built to support HTTPS proxy.
  • IDN - This curl supports IDN - international domain names.
  • IPv6 - You can use IPv6 with this.
  • krb4 - Krb4 for FTP is supported
  • Largefile - This curl supports transfers of large files, files larger than 2GB.
  • libz - Automatic gzip decompression of compressed files over HTTP is supported.
  • Metalink - This curl supports Metalink. In modern curl versions this option is never available.
  • MultiSSL - This curl supports multiple TLS backends. The first line details exactly which TLS libraries.
  • NTLM - NTLM authentication is supported.
  • NTLM_WB - NTLM authentication is supported.
  • PSL - Public Suffix List (PSL) is available and means that this curl has been built with knowledge about public suffixes, used for cookies.
  • SPNEGO - SPNEGO authentication is supported.
  • SSL - SSL versions of various protocols are supported, such as HTTPS, FTPS, POP3S and so on.
  • SSPI - SSPI is supported
  • TLS-SRP - SRP (Secure Remote Password) authentication is supported for TLS.
  • UnixSockets - Unix sockets support is provided.