Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Use Wget to Download Files from Any Machine on Your Ubuntu Network

Ubuntu 11

In this tutorial, we will explore how to use the wget command to download files from any machine on your Ubuntu network. This could be particularly useful for system administrators who need to manage multiple servers or machines.

Quick Answer

To use wget to download files from any machine on your Ubuntu network, you can use the following command:

wget http://<IP_address>/<path_to_file>

Replace <IP_address> with the IP address of the machine and <path_to_file> with the path to the file on that machine. Make sure that the machine hosting the file has an HTTP server running.

What is Wget?

Wget is a free utility available for Mac, Windows and Linux (included by default in most UNIX-based systems), that can be used to download files using HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP, the most popular internet protocols. It’s designed to be robust, it supports download pausing and resuming, and it can deal with unstable network connections.


Before we begin, ensure that you have:

  • A network of Ubuntu machines.
  • The wget utility installed. If not, it can be installed with sudo apt install wget.
  • An HTTP server running on the machine that hosts the file you want to download.

Using Wget to Download Files

The basic syntax of wget is as follows:

wget [option]... [URL]...

To download a file from another machine, replace [URL] with the IP address of the machine and the path to the file:

wget http://<IP_address>/<path_to_file>

Here, <IP_address> is the IP address of the machine where the file is located, and <path_to_file> is the path to the file on that machine.

For example, if the IP address of the machine is and the file is located at /var/www/html/file.txt, the command would be:



While wget is a powerful tool, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The machine hosting the file must have an HTTP server running. If not, you won’t be able to download the file using wget.
  • Ensure that you have proper network connectivity and permissions to access the file.
  • For downloading sensitive system administration files, consider using a centralized management system like the Network Information System (NIS) for better security and centralized control.

Alternative Solutions

If wget does not meet your needs, consider the following alternatives:

  • scp or rsync: These tools are better suited for grabbing a single arbitrary file from multiple machines.
  • Puppet: This configuration management tool allows you to define the desired configuration for your machines and automatically configure them. It provides a more efficient and scalable approach compared to using SSH in a for loop.
  • Python’s SimpleHTTPServer: You can start a web server using this module and then use wget to download the file from anywhere on the network.
  • Apache and shell scripting: Install Apache on your Ubuntu installations and copy/move the configuration file to the appropriate folder. Then, use a shell script to loop through the IP addresses and download the file using wget.


In this tutorial, we’ve explored how to use wget to download files from any machine on your Ubuntu network. Remember to choose the solution that best fits your specific requirements and security considerations. Happy downloading!

How do I install `wget` on Ubuntu?

To install wget on Ubuntu, you can use the following command: sudo apt install wget.

Can I use `wget` to download files from Windows machines?

Yes, wget is available for Windows as well. You can download it from the official website or use a package manager like Chocolatey to install it.

Can I use `wget` to download files using FTP?

Yes, wget supports downloading files using FTP. Simply replace http in the URL with ftp when using the wget command.

Can I pause and resume downloads with `wget`?

Yes, wget supports download pausing and resuming. If a download is interrupted, you can use the same wget command with the -c option to resume the download from where it left off.

What should I do if the file I want to download requires authentication?

If the file requires authentication, you can use the --user and --password options with wget to provide the necessary credentials. For example: wget --user=username --password=password

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