curl: command not found – quick fixes

Are you seeing “curl: command not found” in the terminal and looking for information on this error message?

curl is a command-line tool used to transfer data to or from a server. It supports a wide range of protocols, including HTTP, FTP, IMAP, POP3, SCP, SFTP, SMTP, TFTP, TELNET, LDAP, and FILE. Curl is powered by Libcurl and is preferred for automation due to its design to work without user interaction. Curl is often used in conjunction with other programs, responsible for sending a JSON file to a server, submitting a web form, user authentication, proxy support, saving the server response to disk, and more.

In this short article, we will show you a few possible solutions to fix “curl: command not found” error message in Linux.

Install curl

Most of the time, “curl: command not found” error message means curl program is not currently installed on your system. Unlike wget, curl is not part of the default packages that comes with most Linux distributions.

Install curl on Debian and Ubuntu

In order to have curl installed on your Debian-based system, run the following command:

sudo apt install curl -y

After the installation has completed, you can verify its status by running curl –-version

Install curl on Alpine Linux

On Alpine Linux, simply enter a terminal and run apk add curl

In order to install curl to an Alpine Docker image, you would have to use one of the following command:

For Alpine Linux version 3.3+:

RUN apk --no-cache add curl

For older Alpine Linux versions:

RUN apk add --update curl && \ rm -rf /var/cache/apk/*
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Check your PATH environment variable

If you encounter “curl: command not found” error message when trying to run a bash script or an external program, it is very likely that you’ve messed up your PATH environment variable.

Most operating systems look for executables and binaries in a specific set of places. The list of all those places is stored in an environment variable, often named PATH.

Usually, curl executable file would be placed in /usr/bin, and PATH contains /usr/bin. But if the latter condition is not satisfied, then “curl: command not found” pops up.

First, you have to find where curl is located. Since curl cannot be found by the operating system, we cannot use which curl to locate it. Instead, try running it using explicit path :


Seeing curl: try 'curl --help' or 'curl --manual' for more information means that curl was put into the right place.

For a temporary fix, you can try setting an alias to the actual path to curl every time the bash shell starts:

echo "alias curl='/usr/bin/curl'" >> ~/.bashrc; . ~/.bashrc
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For a permanent fix, add /usr/bin back to the PATH environment variable by running the command below.

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/bin
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We hope that the information above is useful and helped you successfully fix the “curl: command not found” error.

If you’re also seeing a “command not found” error message, you may want to check out our other guides to fix zsh: command not foundapt-get: command not found and time: command not found

If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask in the comments below.

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