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If you use brace expansion with wget, you can fetch sequentially-numbered images with ease:

$ wget 'http://www.iqandreas.com/sample-images/100-100-color/'{90..110}'.jpg'

It fetches the first 10 files numbered 90.jpg to 99.jpg just fine, but 100.jpg and onward return a 404: File not found error (I only have 100 images stored on the server). These non-existent files become more of "a problem" if you use a larger range, such as {00..200}, with 100 non-existent files, it increases the script's execution time, and might even become a slight burden (or at least annoyance) on the server.

Is there any way for wget to stop after it has received its first 404 error? (or even better, two in a row, in case there was a missing file in the range for another reason) The answer does not need to use brace expansion; loops are fine too.

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In a real-time scenario, you may want to hit every URL to know the status. 1, 2 or even n failures is not the right way when you know [begin .. end] indices. Why would you specify [1..200] range when you know there are only 100 images in [1..100]. I guess you can try GNU parallel for simultaneous requests to speed up the process. –  SparKot ॐ Jul 22 '14 at 6:55
@SparKotॐ The key is I don't know there are only 100 images on the server, I want the script to download as many images as it can in the series until it has figured out where the end is. –  IQAndreas Jul 22 '14 at 7:14

3 Answers 3

If you're happy with a loop:

for url in 'http://www.iqandreas.com/sample-images/100-100-color/'{90..110}'.jpg'
    wget "$url" || break

That will run wget for each URL in your expansion until it fails, and then break out of the loop.

If you want two failures in a row it gets a bit more complicated:

for url in 'http://www.iqandreas.com/sample-images/100-100-color/'{90..110}'.jpg'
    if wget "$url"
    elif [ "$failed" ]

You can shrink that a little with && and || instead of if, but it gets pretty ugly.

I don't believe wget has anything built in to do that.

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May I suggest using elif to make the second example clearer? Something like this perhaps? gist.github.com/IQAndreas/84cae3f0193b67691ff2 (it only adds one extra line, not including putting the thens on the same line as the ifs) –  IQAndreas Jul 22 '14 at 6:33
Fair enough. The one-line translation isn't as straightforward now, but it isn't much good anyway. –  Michael Homer Jul 22 '14 at 6:37

You could use the $? variable to get the return code of wget. If it's non-zero then it means an error occured and you tally it up until it reached a threshold, then it could break out of the loop.

Something like this off the top of my head


for x in {90..110}; do
    wget 'http://www.iqandreas.com/sample-images/100-100-color/'$x'.jpg'
    if [[ $wgetreturn -ne 0 ]]; then
        if [[ $threshold -eq 16 ]]; then

The for loop can be cleaned up a bit, but you can understand the general idea.

Changing the $threshold -eq 16 to -eq 24 would mean it would fail 3 times before it would stop, however it wouldn't be twice in a row, it would be if it failed twice in the loop.

The reason why 16 and 24 are used is that is the total of the return codes.
wget responds with a return code of 8 when it receives a response code that corresponds to an error from the server, and thus 16 is the total after 2 errors.

Stopping when failures only occur twice in a row can be done by resetting the threshold whenever wget succeeds, i.e. when the return code is 0

A list of wget return codes can be found here - http://www.gnu.org/software/wget/manual/html_node/Exit-Status.html

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Although it can be deduced from the answer, you might want to explicitly point out that a 404 error returns an exit code of 8, hence the magic numbers of 16 and 24. –  IQAndreas Jul 22 '14 at 8:23
I've updated my answer –  Lawrence Jul 22 '14 at 8:26

With GNU Parallel this ought to work:

parallel --halt 1 wget ::: 'http://www.iqandreas.com/sample-images/100-100-color/'{90..110}'.jpg'

From version 20140722 you can almost have your "two in a row"-failure: --halt 2% will allow for 2% of the jobs to fail:

parallel --halt 2% wget ::: 'http://www.iqandreas.com/sample-images/100-100-color/'{90..110}'.jpg'
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