What do you think are the reasons that causes this error?

The program 'wget' is currently not installed.  
You can install it by typing:sudo apt-get install wget

If I type sudo apt-get install wget the output is this:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
wget is already the newest version.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 5 not upgraded.

I checked if wget is installed by wget --version but nothing comes up. I cannot install wget. I have internet connection. I'm using Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS server. This is newly installed. I'm trying to install asterisk on this one but cannot get started. Any information will be a great help.

  • whats the output of dpkg --get-selections | grep "wget" – heemayl Feb 6 '15 at 1:53

You can find out what files were installed by using

dpkg -L wget

On my system (YMMV) it shows me that /usr/bin/wget is one of the installed files.

I suspect that your $PATH is set incorrectly. Please show us the result of

echo $PATH  
/bin/ls -l /usr/bin/wget

and check your ~/.bashrc for how PATH is set up.


Check that you are root when running apt-get. Then if you are: Try:

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get remove wget then install wget
  • try sudo apt-get upgrade then try all these things again.

sudo apt-get install --reinstall wget will replace any deleted files.

When the bash shell's default command-not-found handler in Ubuntu--which is what displayed the message you saw when you tried to run wget--tells you that a program isn't installed, but the package that it says provides it is installed, this usually means that the file was deleted. In that case, you can reinstall the package, and the file will be replaced.

Just running the command that it tells you to run won't do that, because if reinstallation of already-installed packages were perfomed by default when you use apt install or apt-get install, then users would constantly be reintalling things they didn't mean to reinstall.

To reinstall a package, pass the --reinstall flag as well. In your case, for the wget package:

sudo apt-get --install reinstall wget

The apt command also accepts this syntax, i.e., you can replace apt-get with apt in that command, in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and later, though that command still works fine. (It's fine to use apt-get, even on systems that have the apt command, too.)

The alternative of removing and then reinstalling wget in two separate steps is inadvisable, because if you remove wget with the remove or purge action, then any packages that depend on it will also be removed. Those packages are not automatically reinstalled when you subsequently install wget (though if you explicitly install them, then the wget package gets installed if it wasn't already, assuming the package manager knows it was missing).

For information about how to investigate such problems, and other possible causes, see below. What follows is secondary and not needed in most cases.

If you want to check first...

As described above, a missing file is the most common cause of the problem, but there are other causes that reinstalling the package can also solve--see below--so I suggest simply proceeding to do so. However, if you feel like checking if the file has been deleted, then you can run:

ls -l /usr/bin/wget

In general, if you don't know what file should be providing the command, you can run dpkg -S wget to see a list of files provided directly by any package that have wget in their names, or (as waltinator suggested) dkpg -L wget to list all files that the wget package directly provides. However, I suggest instead using https://packages.ubuntu.com/ to look it up, since the interface is easy to use and it will give you the right answer even if your system's package manager turns out to be broken or misconfigured.

See also How do I find the package that provides a file?

This is not likely to be caused by a PATH problem.

There are other possible causes, but in my experience they are much less common. In particular, if your PATH is set incorrectly, that will usually not cause the command-not-found handler to suggest installing a package:

ek@Kip:~$ nonexistent-command
nonexistent-command: command not found
ek@Kip:~$ curl
The program 'curl' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install curl
ek@Kip:~$ wget
wget: missing URL
Usage: wget [OPTION]... [URL]...

Try `wget --help' for more options.
ek@Kip:~$ PATH=
ek@Kip:~$ nonexistent-command
bash: nonexistent-command: No such file or directory
ek@Kip:~$ curl
bash: curl: No such file or directory
ek@Kip:~$ wget
bash: wget: No such file or directory

Another possible cause is a deleted symlink used by the alternatives system.

A more plausible cause for this kind of problem--besides the file being deleted as described above--would be if the alternatives system maintained the command as a symbolic link to an executable, and the symbolic link itself had been deleted, while the actual executable remained.

In that situation, you wouldn't have to reinstall the package--but reinstalling still typically would fix it, because it would usually set up the newly installed command as the default by remaking the symbolic link and having it point to the executable that was installed.

Furthermore, wget in Ubuntu is not managed by the alternatives system because there is only one implementation of wget in Ubuntu's repositories. So this is not the cause of the situation described specifically in the question here, though it is occasionally the cause of problems that manifest similarly.

  • Is there a method by which I could determine that the file has been deleted, and somehow apt thinks that the package has been installed? – Charles Green Dec 5 '17 at 17:43
  • @CharlesGreen Yes, you can just use ls to check if the file is still there. If you're not sure what file it should be, you can look that up. I've just expanded my answer with more information, including details about that. However, you very well may not want to bother checking this, since there are other problems that reinstalling the package can also fix (I've added information about that, too). – Eliah Kagan Dec 5 '17 at 18:03

This sounds like a problem with your $PATH. Have a look at this page for more info.

Please open a terminal, enter the following commands one at a time, and let us know what the results are:

    $ echo $PATH
    $ cat ~/.pam_environment

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