I am writing some shell scripts to automatically download software packages off my server and set them up on customer servers. At some point within the script, the download command is wget http://example.com/file/secure_download.tar.gz - I will rather not have this sensitive file available on a public server since anyone can scan and download the files too. I can however, require authentication to those directories, but how do I pass the access credentials along with the wget command? Or Is there a better way to accomplish?

1 Answer 1


From wget manual:



Specify the username user and password password for both FTP and HTTP file retrieval. These parameters can be overridden using the ‘--ftp-user’ and ‘--ftp-password’ options for FTP connections and the ‘--http-user’ and ‘--http-password’ options for HTTP connections.

So what you are looking for is:

$ wget --user=n3rve --password='mylittlepony' http://example.com/file/secure_download.tar.gz

If possible I would suggest setting up an SFTP server where instead you can create and share SSH-keys between you and your customer servers and they securely connect to your SFTP server and pull the files they require.

This is a far more secure method than using wget on a web server. The entire setup would require you asking for your customers to provide you with their public key, you adding their id_rsa.pub to their .ssh/authorized_keys file and they would connect by:

$ sftp [email protected] 
$ sftp [email protected]

*note, no password is required because you created a trusted network with your ssh-key pair.

  • sftp or scp or rsync -- all use ssh keys Jan 29, 2015 at 4:07
  • Thank you very much for your answer @DevNull. It seems I'd settle with wget seeing as asking every user for their public SSH key will require additional effort on my part. I want this completely automated.
    – Ralph
    Jan 29, 2015 at 10:17
  • the --password method is an insecure way to provide the password to wget. The parameters given to a process are easily visible through utilities like top and ps
    – Alexander
    Oct 5, 2015 at 18:16

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