Curl is a command-line tool that allows you to make HTTP requests. It is widely used in web development to interact with APIs and retrieve data. In this tutorial, we will explore how Curl can be used to make API calls and demonstrate its capabilities through practical examples.


Before we dive into using Curl for API calls, make sure you have the following:

  • Curl installed on your machine. If you don’t have it, you can download it from the official Curl website:
  • Basic knowledge of the command line and HTTP requests.

Understanding API Calls

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It allows different software applications to communicate with each other. API calls are requests made to an API to perform specific actions or retrieve data. These calls are usually made using HTTP protocols, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.

Making GET Requests with Curl

GET requests are used to retrieve data from an API. With Curl, you can easily make GET requests by specifying the URL of the API endpoint. Here’s an example:

$ curl

This command will send a GET request to the specified URL and display the response from the API.

Adding Query Parameters

Sometimes, you need to pass additional parameters to the API to filter or sort the data. You can do this by adding query parameters to the URL. Here’s an example:

$ curl

In this example, we are adding the “status” query parameter with the value “active” to filter the users based on their status.

Making POST Requests

POST requests are used to send data to an API. With Curl, you can make POST requests by specifying the URL and the data to be sent. Here’s an example:

$ curl -X POST -d '{"name":"John","email":""}'

In this example, we are sending a JSON object with the user’s name and email to the API endpoint.

Handling Authentication

Many APIs require authentication to access protected resources. Curl supports various authentication methods, such as Basic Authentication and OAuth. Here’s an example of using Basic Authentication:

$ curl -u username:password

Replace “username” and “password” with your actual credentials. This command will include the authentication header in the request.

Handling Response Headers

Curl allows you to retrieve and display the response headers from an API. You can use the “-i” option to include the headers in the output. Here’s an example:

$ curl -i

This command will display both the response headers and the response body.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Curl be used to make API calls with different HTTP methods?

Yes, Curl supports various HTTP methods, including GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE. You can specify the desired method using the “-X” option followed by the method name. For example, to make a PUT request:

$ curl -X PUT

2. How can I handle API responses in Curl?

Curl provides options to handle API responses in different ways. By default, Curl displays the response body. You can use the “-o” option followed by a file name to save the response to a file. For example:

$ curl -o response.json

This command will save the response to a file named “response.json”.

3. Can Curl handle APIs that require custom headers?

Yes, Curl allows you to include custom headers in your API requests. You can use the “-H” option followed by the header name and value. For example, to include an “Authorization” header:

$ curl -H "Authorization: Bearer token"

Replace “token” with your actual authorization token.


Curl is a powerful tool for making API calls. In this tutorial, we covered the basics of using Curl to interact with APIs, including making GET and POST requests, adding query parameters, handling authentication, and retrieving response headers. With this knowledge, you can now start using Curl to integrate with various APIs and retrieve data for your web applications.