How to Install Wget without going Crazy

Wget is a tool that makes it easy to download a webpage, or an entire website. Wget is great for turning websites into local static websites.

Installing Wget on a Mac can be intimidating. You might be asked to install XCode and a bunch of weird-sounding software packages.

Most of the procedures shown would make a Linux developer proud! I only found them confusing.

There was lots of hair-pulling. I am surprised I am not bald!

Eventually, I found a way that is sane. I present it here.

Using Terminal, install Homebrew. Use Homebrew to install Wget. This is the easiest way I found to do this. It handles dependencies, etc., for you.

Bring up Terminal on your Mac

Bring up Terminal on your Mac. All of these commands to be done using Terminal.

Proceed with Caution

You can seriously mess up your Mac if you do not know what you are doing in Terminal.

Terminal is for advanced users only. Terminal assumes you are an expert and does not do the “Does the user know what they are doing?” checks the GUI does.

Terminal assumes you are an expert. It will simply not question you, and will obey.

This a very powerful feature, but is a two-edged sword if Terminal is used carelessly.

Install these applications in the order they are presented here. These applications have dependencies. These dependencies are automatically handled if you first install Homebrew, then Wget.

Install Homebrew

What is Homebrew? Homebrew is an easy-to-use package installer for Macs.

Install Homebrew by entering the following command into Terminal (copy and paste it into Terminal), then press the Enter key:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Install Wget

Use Homebrew to install Wget for the sake of your sanity.

Install Wget by entering the following command into Terminal, then press the Enter key:

brew install wget

Wget Commands

Wget is used via the Terminal. If you want a GUI interface to Wget, install HTTrack.

Some great websites with various Wget commands are:

How to use Wget

How to Install and Use wget on Mac

A full list is below in the Wget Man Page section.

Here is one command that should pretty much handle everything. You might have to go to the destination folder first. I notice there is no -O setting.

The secret command to use Wget is:

wget --recursive --convert-links -mpck --html-extension --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/88.0.4324.146 Safari/537.36." -e robots=off http://website.address/

If you want Wget to have a GUI interface, install MacPorts, then HTTrack as shown below.

Wget Commands I have Not Tested; Time to bring out my inner Script Kiddie

Commands I have not tested:

First, go to the directory you wish to download to, (the -O command is not used here) then enter the following into Terminal:

wget --recursive --convert-links -mpck --html-extension --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/88.0.4324.146 Safari/537.36." -e robots=off http://website.address/

-O tells Wget what local directory to use.

wget -O /Users/[your-username]/Downloads/status.html

If you want, download an entire takes a very, very long time!

Download an entire website into your current directory by entering the following command into Terminal.

First, go to the directory you wish to download to, (the -O command is not used here) then enter the following into Terminal:

wget --mirror --convert-links --html-extension --wait=2 -o log

The website I tested this command on worked, but it took forever. I think I died of old age waiting for it to finish.

Wget Man Page

The following list can be found by typing wget -help or wget -h into Terminal.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-V, –version display the version of Wget and exit
-h, –help print this help
-b, –background go to background after startup
-e, –execute=COMMAND execute a `.wgetrc’-style command

Logging and input file:
-o, –output-file=FILE log messages to FILE
-a, –append-output=FILE append messages to FILE
-d, –debug print lots of debugging information
-q, –quiet quiet (no output)
-v, –verbose be verbose (this is the default)
-nv, –no-verbose turn off verboseness, without being quiet
–report-speed=TYPE output bandwidth as TYPE. TYPE can be bits
-i, –input-file=FILE download URLs found in local or external FILE
-F, –force-html treat input file as HTML
-B, –base=URL resolves HTML input-file links (-i -F)
relative to URL
–config=FILE specify config file to use
–no-config do not read any config file
–rejected-log=FILE log reasons for URL rejection to FILE

-t, –tries=NUMBER set number of retries to NUMBER (0 unlimits)
–retry-connrefused retry even if connection is refused
–retry-on-http-error=ERRORS comma-separated list of HTTP errors to retry
-O, –output-document=FILE write documents to FILE
-nc, –no-clobber skip downloads that would download to
existing files (overwriting them)
–no-netrc don’t try to obtain credentials from .netrc
-c, –continue resume getting a partially-downloaded file
–start-pos=OFFSET start downloading from zero-based position OFFSET
–progress=TYPE select progress gauge type
–show-progress display the progress bar in any verbosity mode
-N, –timestamping don’t re-retrieve files unless newer than
–no-if-modified-since don’t use conditional if-modified-since get
requests in timestamping mode
–no-use-server-timestamps don’t set the local file’s timestamp by
the one on the server
-S, –server-response print server response
–spider don’t download anything
-T, –timeout=SECONDS set all timeout values to SECONDS
–dns-timeout=SECS set the DNS lookup timeout to SECS
–connect-timeout=SECS set the connect timeout to SECS
–read-timeout=SECS set the read timeout to SECS
-w, –wait=SECONDS wait SECONDS between retrievals
(applies if more then 1 URL is to be retrieved)
–waitretry=SECONDS wait 1..SECONDS between retries of a retrieval
(applies if more then 1 URL is to be retrieved)
–random-wait wait from 0.5WAIT…1.5WAIT secs between retrievals
(applies if more then 1 URL is to be retrieved)
–no-proxy explicitly turn off proxy
-Q, –quota=NUMBER set retrieval quota to NUMBER
–bind-address=ADDRESS bind to ADDRESS (hostname or IP) on local host
–limit-rate=RATE limit download rate to RATE
–no-dns-cache disable caching DNS lookups
–restrict-file-names=OS restrict chars in file names to ones OS allows
–ignore-case ignore case when matching files/directories
-4, –inet4-only connect only to IPv4 addresses
-6, –inet6-only connect only to IPv6 addresses
–prefer-family=FAMILY connect first to addresses of specified family,
one of IPv6, IPv4, or none
–user=USER set both ftp and http user to USER
–password=PASS set both ftp and http password to PASS
–ask-password prompt for passwords
–use-askpass=COMMAND specify credential handler for requesting
username and password. If no COMMAND is
specified the WGET_ASKPASS or the SSH_ASKPASS
environment variable is used.
–no-iri turn off IRI support
–local-encoding=ENC use ENC as the local encoding for IRIs
–remote-encoding=ENC use ENC as the default remote encoding
–unlink remove file before clobber
–xattr turn on storage of metadata in extended file attributes

-nd, –no-directories don’t create directories
-x, –force-directories force creation of directories
-nH, –no-host-directories don’t create host directories
–protocol-directories use protocol name in directories
-P, –directory-prefix=PREFIX save files to PREFIX/..
–cut-dirs=NUMBER ignore NUMBER remote directory components

HTTP options:
–http-user=USER set http user to USER
–http-password=PASS set http password to PASS
–no-cache disallow server-cached data
–default-page=NAME change the default page name (normally
this is ‘index.html’.)
-E, –adjust-extension save HTML/CSS documents with proper extensions
–ignore-length ignore ‘Content-Length’ header field
–header=STRING insert STRING among the headers
–compression=TYPE choose compression, one of auto, gzip and none. (default: none)
–max-redirect maximum redirections allowed per page
–proxy-user=USER set USER as proxy username
–proxy-password=PASS set PASS as proxy password
–referer=URL include ‘Referer: URL’ header in HTTP request
–save-headers save the HTTP headers to file
-U, –user-agent=AGENT identify as AGENT instead of Wget/VERSION
–no-http-keep-alive disable HTTP keep-alive (persistent connections)
–no-cookies don’t use cookies
–load-cookies=FILE load cookies from FILE before session
–save-cookies=FILE save cookies to FILE after session
–keep-session-cookies load and save session (non-permanent) cookies
–post-data=STRING use the POST method; send STRING as the data
–post-file=FILE use the POST method; send contents of FILE
–method=HTTPMethod use method “HTTPMethod” in the request
–body-data=STRING send STRING as data. –method MUST be set
–body-file=FILE send contents of FILE. –method MUST be set
–content-disposition honor the Content-Disposition header when
choosing local file names (EXPERIMENTAL)
–content-on-error output the received content on server errors
–auth-no-challenge send Basic HTTP authentication information
without first waiting for the server’s

HTTPS (SSL/TLS) options:
–secure-protocol=PR choose secure protocol, one of auto, SSLv2,
SSLv3, TLSv1, TLSv1_1, TLSv1_2, TLSv1_3 and PFS
–https-only only follow secure HTTPS links
–no-check-certificate don’t validate the server’s certificate
–certificate=FILE client certificate file
–certificate-type=TYPE client certificate type, PEM or DER
–private-key=FILE private key file
–private-key-type=TYPE private key type, PEM or DER
–ca-certificate=FILE file with the bundle of CAs
–ca-directory=DIR directory where hash list of CAs is stored
–crl-file=FILE file with bundle of CRLs
–pinnedpubkey=FILE/HASHES Public key (PEM/DER) file, or any number
of base64 encoded sha256 hashes preceded by
‘sha256//’ and separated by ‘;’, to verify
peer against
–random-file=FILE file with random data for seeding the SSL PRNG

–ciphers=STR Set the priority string (GnuTLS) or cipher list string (OpenSSL) directly. Use with care. This option overrides –secure-protocol. The format and syntax of this string depend on the specific SSL/TLS engine.

HSTS options:
–no-hsts disable HSTS
–hsts-file path of HSTS database (will override default)

FTP options:
–ftp-user=USER set ftp user to USER
–ftp-password=PASS set ftp password to PASS
–no-remove-listing don’t remove ‘.listing’ files
–no-glob turn off FTP file name globbing
–no-passive-ftp disable the “passive” transfer mode
–preserve-permissions preserve remote file permissions
–retr-symlinks when recursing, get linked-to files (not dir)

FTPS options:
–ftps-implicit use implicit FTPS (default port is 990)
–ftps-resume-ssl resume the SSL/TLS session started in the control connection when
opening a data connection
–ftps-clear-data-connection cipher the control channel only; all the data will be in plaintext
–ftps-fallback-to-ftp fall back to FTP if FTPS is not supported in the target server
WARC options:
–warc-file=FILENAME save request/response data to a .warc.gz file
–warc-header=STRING insert STRING into the warcinfo record
–warc-max-size=NUMBER set maximum size of WARC files to NUMBER
–warc-cdx write CDX index files
–warc-dedup=FILENAME do not store records listed in this CDX file
–no-warc-compression do not compress WARC files with GZIP
–no-warc-digests do not calculate SHA1 digests
–no-warc-keep-log do not store the log file in a WARC record
–warc-tempdir=DIRECTORY location for temporary files created by the
WARC writer

Recursive download:
-r, –recursive specify recursive download
-l, –level=NUMBER maximum recursion depth (inf or 0 for infinite)
–delete-after delete files locally after downloading them
-k, –convert-links make links in downloaded HTML or CSS point to
local files
–convert-file-only convert the file part of the URLs only (usually known as the basename)
–backups=N before writing file X, rotate up to N backup files
-K, –backup-converted before converting file X, back up as X.orig
-m, –mirror shortcut for -N -r -l inf –no-remove-listing
-p, –page-requisites get all images, etc. needed to display HTML page
–strict-comments turn on strict (SGML) handling of HTML comments

Recursive accept/reject:
-A, –accept=LIST comma-separated list of accepted extensions
-R, –reject=LIST comma-separated list of rejected extensions
–accept-regex=REGEX regex matching accepted URLs
–reject-regex=REGEX regex matching rejected URLs
–regex-type=TYPE regex type (posix)
-D, –domains=LIST comma-separated list of accepted domains
–exclude-domains=LIST comma-separated list of rejected domains
–follow-ftp follow FTP links from HTML documents
–follow-tags=LIST comma-separated list of followed HTML tags
–ignore-tags=LIST comma-separated list of ignored HTML tags
-H, –span-hosts go to foreign hosts when recursive
-L, –relative follow relative links only
-I, –include-directories=LIST list of allowed directories
–trust-server-names use the name specified by the redirection
URL’s last component
-X, –exclude-directories=LIST list of excluded directories
-np, –no-parent don’t ascend to the parent directory

Email bug reports, questions, discussions to
and/or open issues at

Scroll to Top