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HTTPie - cURL for humans.

Project description


HTTPie is a command line HTTP client whose goal is to make CLI interaction with HTTP-based services as human-friendly as possible. It provides a simple http command that allows for sending arbitrary HTTP requests with a simple and natural syntax, and displays colorized responses. HTTPie can be used for testing, debugging, and generally interacting with HTTP servers.

HTTPie compared to cURL

HTTPie is written in Python, and under the hood it uses the excellent Requests and Pygments libraries.

Table of Contents

Main Features

  • Expressive and intuitive syntax
  • Formatted and colorized terminal output
  • Built-in JSON support
  • Forms and file uploads
  • HTTPS and authorization
  • Arbitrary request data
  • Custom headers
  • Python 2.6 and Python 3 support
  • Linux, Mac OS X and Windows support
  • Documentation
  • Test coverage


The latest stable version of HTTPie can always be installed or updated to via pip (prefered) or easy_install:

$ pip install -U httpie
$ easy_install httpie

Or, you can install the development version directly from GitHub:

Build Status of the master branch
$ pip install -U

There are also packages available for Ubuntu, Debian, and possibly other Linux distributions as well.


Hello World:

$ http


$ http [flags] [METHOD] URL [ITEM [ITEM]]

See also http --help.


Send a HEAD request:

$ http HEAD

Submit a form:

$ http --form POST hello=World

Send a PUT request with a custom header and some JSON data:

$ http PUT X-API-Token:123 name='David Bowie'

See the request that is being sent:

$ http --verbose

Use Github API to post a comment on an issue:

$ http -a USERNAME POST body='HTTPie is awesome!'

Upload a file:

$ http < file.json

Download a file:

$ http > file

HTTP Method

The name of the HTTP method comes right before the URL argument:

$ http DELETE

It makes the command look similar to the actual Request-Line that is sent:

DELETE /todos/7 HTTP/1.1

When the METHOD argument is omitted from the command, HTTPie defaults to either GET (with no request data) or POST (with request data).

Request URL

The only information HTTPie needs to perform a request is a URL. The default scheme is, somewhat unsurprisingly, http://, and can be omitted from the argument – http works just fine.

If find yourself manually constructing URLs with querystring parameters on the terminal, you may appreciate the param==value syntax for appending URL parameters so that you don’t have to worry about escaping the & separators. To search for HTTPie on Google Images you could use this command:

$ http GET search==HTTPie tbm==isch
GET /?search=HTTPie&tbm=isch HTTP/1.1

Request Items

There are five different request item types that provide a convenient mechanism for specifying HTTP headers, simple JSON and form data, files, and URL parameters.

They are key/value pairs specified after the URL. All have in common that they become part of the actual request that is sent and that their type is distinguished only by the separator used: :, =, :=, @, and ==.

Item Type Description
HTTP Headers Name:Value Arbitrary HTTP header, e.g. X-API-Token:123.
URL parameters name==value Appends the given name/value pair as a query string parameter to the URL. The == separator is used
Data Fields field=value Request data fields to be serialized as a JSON object (default), or to be form encoded (--form / -f).
Raw JSON fields field:=json Useful when sending JSON and one or more fields need to be a Boolean, Number, nested Object, or an Array, e.g., meals:='["ham","spam"]' or pies:=[1,2,3] (note the quotes).
Files field@/dir/file Only available with -f / --form. For example screenshot@~/Pictures/img.png. The presence of a file field results in a multipart/form-data request.

You can use \ to escape characters that shouldn’t be used as separators (or parts thereof). e.g., foo\==bar will become a data key/value pair (foo= and bar) instead of a URL parameter.

No that data fields aren’t the only way to specify request data, redirected input allows passing arbitrary data to be sent with the request.


JSON is the lingua franca of modern web services and it is also the default content type HTTPie uses:

If your command includes some data items, they are serialized as a JSON object by default. HTTPie also automatically sets the following headers, both of which can be overwritten:

Content-Type application/json; charset=utf-8
Accept application/json

You can use --json / -j to set Accept to application/json regardless of whether you are sending data (it’s a shortcut for using setting the header via the usual header notation – http url Accept:application/json).

Simple example:

$ http PUT name=John
PUT / HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Accept-Encoding: identity, deflate, compress, gzip
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
User-Agent: HTTPie/0.2.7dev

    "name": "John",
    "email": ""

Non-string fields use the := separator, which allows you to embed raw JSON into the resulting object:

$ http PUT name=John age:=29 married:=false hobbies:='["http", "pies"]'
PUT /person/1 HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
User-Agent: HTTPie/0.2.7dev

    "age": 29,
    "hobbies": [
    "married": false,
    "name": "John"


Submitting forms is very similar to sending JSON requests. Often the only difference is in adding the --form / -f option, which ensures that data fields are serialized and Content-Type is set to application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8.

Regular Forms

$ http --form POST name='John Smith'
POST /person/1 HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: HTTPie/0.2.7dev
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8


File Upload Forms

When one or more file fields are present, the content type is multipart/form-data:

$ http -f POST name='John Smith' cv@~/Documents/cv.pdf

The request above is the same as if the following HTML form were submitted:

<form enctype="multipart/form-data" method="post" action="">
    <input type="text" name="name" />
    <input type="file" name="cv" />

HTTP Headers

To set custom headers you can use the Header:Value notation:

$ http  User-Agent:Bacon/1.0  Cookie:valued-visitor=yes  X-Foo:Bar  Referer:
GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: identity, deflate, compress, gzip
Cookie: valued-visitor=yes
User-Agent: Bacon/1.0
X-Foo: Bar

There are a couple of default headers that HTTPie sets, but they can easily be overwritten:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: identity, deflate, compress, gzip
User-Agent: HTTPie/<version>
Host: <taken-from-URL>


The currently supported authorization schemes are Basic and Digest (more to come). There are two flags that control authorization:

--auth, -a Pass a username:password pair as the argument. Or, if you only specify a username (-a username), you’ll be prompted for the password before the request is sent. To send a an empty password, pass username:.
--auth-type Specify the auth mechanism. Possible values are basic and digest. The default value is basic so it can often be omitted.

Basic auth:

$ http -a username:password

Digest auth:

$ http --auth-type=digest -a username:password

With password prompt:

$ http -a username

Output Options

By default, HTTPie outputs the whole response message (headers as well as the body).

You can control what should be printed via several options:

--headers, -h Only the response headers are printed.
--body, -b Only the response body is printed.
--verbose, -v Print the whole HTTP exchange (request and response).
--print, -p Selects parts of the HTTP exchange.

--verbose can often be useful for debugging the request and generating documentation examples:

$ http --verbose PUT hello=world
PUT /put HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Accept-Encoding: identity, deflate, compress, gzip
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
User-Agent: HTTPie/0.2.7dev

    "hello": "world"

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 477
Content-Type: application/json
Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2012 00:25:23 GMT
Server: gunicorn/0.13.4


All the other options are just a shortcut for --print / -p. It accepts a string of characters each of which represents a specific part of the HTTP exchange:

Character Stands for
H Request headers.
B Request body.
h Response headers.
b Response body.

Print both the request and response headers:

$ http --print=Hh PUT hello=world

Conditional Body Download

As an optimization, the response body is downloaded from the server only if it’s part of the output. This is similar to performing a HEAD request, except that it applies to any HTTP method you use.

Let’s say that there is an API that returns the whole resource when it is updated, but you are only interested in the response headers to see the status code after the update:

$ http --headers PATCH name='New Name'

Since we are only printing the HTTP headers here, the connection to server is closed as soon as all the response headers have been received. Therefore, bandwidth and time isn’t wasted downloading the body which you don’t care about.

The response headers are downloaded always, even if they are not part of the output

Redirected Input

A universal method for passing request data is through redirected stdin (standard input). Such data is buffered and then with no further processing used as the request body. There are multiple useful ways to use piping:

Redirect from a file:

$ http PUT X-API-Token:123 < person.json

Or the output of another program:

$ grep /var/log/httpd/error_log '401 Unauthorized' | http POST

You can use echo for simple data:

$ echo '{"name": "John"}' | http PATCH X-API-Token:123

You can even pipe web services together using HTTPie:

$ http GET | http POST

You can use cat to enter multiline data on the terminal:

$ cat | http POST⏎
$ cat | http POST Content-Type:text/plain⏎
- buy milk
- call parents

On OS X, you can send the contents of the clipboard with pbpaste:

$ pbpaste | http PUT

Passing data through stdin cannot be combined with data fields specified on the command line.

Body Data From a Filename

An alternative to redirected stdin is specifying a filename (as @/path/to/file) whose content is used as if it came from stdin.

It has the advantage that the Content-Type header will automatically be set to the appropriate value based on the filename extension. For example, the following request sends the verbatim contents of that XML file with Content-Type: application/xml:

$ http PUT @/data/file.xml

Terminal Output

HTTPie does several things by default to make its terminal output easy to read.

Colors and Formatting

Syntax highlighting is applied to HTTP headers and bodies (where it makes sense). Also, the following formatting is used:

  • HTTP headers are sorted by name.
  • JSON data is indented, sorted by keys, and unicode escapes are converted to the characters they represent.

Colorizing and formatting can be disabled with --ugly, -u.

Binary data

Binary data is suppressed for terminal output, which makes it safe to perform requests to URLs send back binary data. Binary data is suppressed also in redirected, but prettified output. The connection is closed as soon as we know that the response body is binary,


You will immediately see something like this:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Encoding: gzip
Content-Type: video/quicktime
Transfer-Encoding: chunked

| NOTE: binary data not shown in terminal |

Redirected Output

HTTPie uses different defaults for redirected output than for terminal output:

  • Formatting and colors aren’t applied (unless --pretty is set).
  • Only the response body is printed (unless one of the output options is set).
  • Also, binary data isn’t suppressed.

The reason is to make piping HTTPie’s output to another programs and downloading files work with no extra flags. Most of the time, only the raw response body is of an interest when the output is redirected.

Download a file:

$ http >

Download an image of Octocat, resize it using ImageMagick, upload it elsewhere:

$ http | convert - -resize 25% -  | http

Force colorizing and formatting, and show both the request and response in less pager:

$ http --pretty --verbose | less -R

Streamed Responses

Responses are downloaded and printed in chunks, which allows for streaming and large file downloads without using too much RAM. However, when colors and formatting are applied, the whole response is buffered and only then processed at once.

You can use the --stream, -S flag to make two things happen:

  1. The output is flushed in much smaller chunks without any buffering, which makes HTTPie behave kind of like tail -f for URLs.
  2. Streaming becomes enabled even when the output is prettified: It will be applied to each line of the response and flushed immediately. This makes it possible to have a nice output of long-lived requests, such as one to the Twitter streaming API.

Prettified streamed response:

$ http --stream -f -a YOUR-TWITTER-NAME track='Justin Bieber'

Streamed output by small chunks:

# Send each new tweet (JSON object) mentioning "Apple" to another
# server as soon as it arrives from the Twitter streaming API:
$ http --stream -f -a YOUR-TWITTER-NAME track=Apple \
| while read tweet; do echo "$tweet" | http POST ; done


When using HTTPie from shell scripts, it can be handy to set the --check-status flag. It instructs HTTPie to exit with an error if the HTTP status is one of 3xx, 4xx, or 5xx. The exit status will be 3 (unless --allow-redirects is set), 4, or 5, respectively:


if http --check-status HEAD &> /dev/null; then
    echo 'OK!'
    case $? in
        3) echo 'Unexpected HTTP 3xx Redirection!' ;;
        4) echo 'HTTP 4xx Client Error!' ;;
        5) echo 'HTTP 5xx Server Error!' ;;
        *) echo 'Other Error!' ;;

Interface Design

The syntax of the command arguments closely corresponds to the actual HTTP requests sent over the wire. It has the advantage that it’s easy to remember and read. It is often possible to translate an HTTP request to an HTTPie argument list just by inlining the request elements. For example, compare this HTTP request:

POST /collection HTTP/1.1
X-API-Key: 123
User-Agent: Bacon/1.0
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded


with the HTTPie command that sends it:

$ http -f POST \
  X-API-Key:123 \
  User-Agent:Bacon/1.0 \
  name=value \

Notice that both the order of elements and the syntax is very similar, and that only a small portion of the command is used to control HTTPie and doesn’t directly correspond to any part of the request (here it’s only -f asking HTTPie to send a form request).

The two modes, --pretty, -p (default for terminal) and --ugly, -u (default for redirected output), allow for both user-friendly interactive use and usage from scripts, where HTTPie serves as a generic HTTP client.


Bug reports and code and documentation patches are greatly appretiated. You can also help by using the development version of HTTPie and reporting any bugs you might encounter.

Before working on a new feature or a bug, please browse the existing issues to see whether it has been previously discussed. If the change in question is a bigger one, it’s always good to discuss before your starting working on it.

Then fork and clone the repository.

It’s very useful to point the http command to your local branch during development. To do so, install HTTPie with pip in editable mode:

$ pip install --upgrade --force-reinstall --editable .

Please run the existing suite of tests before a pull request is submitted:

python test

Tox can also be used to conveniently run tests in all of the supported Python environments:

# Install tox
pip install tox

# Run tests

Don’t forget to add yourself to AUTHORS.


Jakub Roztocil (@jakubroztocil) created HTTPie and these fine people have contributed.


Please see LICENSE.


  • 0.2.8dev
  • 0.2.7 (2012-08-07)
    • Compatibility with Requests 0.13.6.
    • Streamed terminal output. --stream / -S can be used to enable streaming also with --pretty and to ensure a more frequent output flushing.
    • Support for efficient large file downloads.
    • Sort headers by name (unless --ugly).
    • Response body is fetched only when needed (e.g., not with --headers).
    • Improved content type matching.
    • Updated Solarized color scheme.
    • Windows: Added --output FILE to store output into a file (piping results in corrupted data on Windows).
    • Proper handling of binary requests and responses.
    • Fixed printing of multipart/form-data requests.
    • Renamed --traceback to --debug.
  • 0.2.6 (2012-07-26)
    • The short option for --headers is now -h (-t has been removed, for usage use --help).
    • Form data and URL parameters can have multiple fields with the same name (e.g.,``http -f url a=1 a=2``).
    • Added --check-status to exit with an error on HTTP 3xx, 4xx and 5xx (3, 4, and 5, respectively).
    • If the output is piped to another program or redirected to a file, the default behaviour is to only print the response body. (It can still be overwritten via the --print flag.)
    • Improved highlighting of HTTP headers.
    • Added query string parameters (param==value).
    • Added support for terminal colors under Windows.
  • 0.2.5 (2012-07-17)
    • Unicode characters in prettified JSON now don’t get escaped for improved readability.
    • –auth now prompts for a password if only a username provided.
    • Added support for request payloads from a file path with automatic Content-Type (http URL @/path).
    • Fixed missing query string when displaying the request headers via --verbose.
    • Fixed Content-Type for requests with no data.
  • 0.2.2 (2012-06-24)
    • The METHOD positional argument can now be omitted (defaults to GET, or to POST with data).
    • Fixed –verbose –form.
    • Added support for Tox.
  • 0.2.1 (2012-06-13)
    • Added compatibility with requests-0.12.1.
    • Dropped custom JSON and HTTP lexers in favor of the ones newly included in pygments-1.5.
  • 0.2.0 (2012-04-25)
    • Added Python 3 support.
    • Added the ability to print the HTTP request as well as the response (see --print and --verbose).
    • Added support for Digest authentication.
    • Added file upload support (http -f POST file_field_name@/path/to/file).
    • Improved syntax highlighting for JSON.
    • Added support for field name escaping.
    • Many bug fixes.
  • 0.1.6 (2012-03-04)

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