I want to download a file from a server, but before doing so I would like to know the actual file size. I know that wget will display the filesize when the download is started, but this actually starts the download process also.

How can I just know the filesize of a remote file on an http server?

  • 1
    would this suffice: size_remote=$(curl -sI "http://www.example.com/testfile.bin" | awk '/Content-Length/ { print $2 }') ?
    – Rinzwind
    Dec 12, 2013 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


You can try typing:

wget --spider

It gives for example 134K:

$ wget --spider "https://askubuntu.com/questions/389910/get-the-size-of-a-remote-file-from-terminal/389920#389920"
Spider mode enabled. Check if remote file exists.
--2019-09-27 20:34:46--  https://askubuntu.com/questions/389910/get-the-size-of-a-remote-file-from-terminal/389920
Resolving askubuntu.com (askubuntu.com)...,,, ...
Connecting to askubuntu.com (askubuntu.com)||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 136873 (134K) [text/html]
Remote file exists and could contain further links,
but recursion is disabled -- not retrieving.
  • Solves my problem :)
    – Hashken
    Dec 12, 2013 at 20:00
  • Similar to curl --head URI, it fetches only the http req header (HEAD method) Sep 27, 2019 at 23:40

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