Request method

The first line of an HTTP request includes the method - sometimes also referred to as the verb. When doing a simple GET request as this command line would do:


…the initial request line looks like this:

GET /file HTTP/1.1

You can tell curl to change the method into something else by using the -X or --request command-line options followed by the actual method name. You can, for example, send a DELETE instead of GET like this:

curl -X DELETE

This command-line option only changes the text in the outgoing request, it does not change any behavior. This is particularly important if you, for example, ask curl to send a HEAD with -X, as HEAD is specified to send all the headers a GET response would get but never send a response body, even if the headers otherwise imply that one would come. So, adding -X HEAD to a command line that would otherwise do a GET causes curl to hang, waiting for a response body that does not come.

When asking curl to perform HTTP transfers, it picks the correct method based on the option so you should only rarely have to explicitly ask for it with -X. It should also be noted that when curl follows redirects like asked to with -L, the request method set with -X is sent even on the subsequent redirects.