Lots of product documentation refers to and generate curl commands because it is a convenient way to test API endpoints. For data analysts/scientists with a not-so-tech-savvy background, it can be hard to grasp what cURL is, how to install it, and how to use it. In this blog post: how to install cURL on a Windows machine.
First of all: what is cURL? It is a command-line tool that uses the libcurl library.
cURL is everywhere — literally. It is the default for transferring data across a variety of protocols. The rise of cloud computing & headless architecture gave cURL a prominent position in the development stack, even for data scientists and ML engineers.
Regular cURL does not have a pretty interface: it is a command-line tool. Basically, you need to install curl in a way that you can use it from the command line using the curl command.
Installing cURL (Windows)
- First, download cURL. You could use the wizard. However, if you’re on a 64-bit Windows machine, you can fast-forward to this page to download the 64-bit version: curl windows.
- Unzip the files.
- Copy the folder into a location where you want it to persist (e.g. in your Program Files). Copy/save the folder path.
- Open Control Panel > Advanced System Settings > Advanced (tab) > Environment Variables… (button)
- (a) Do you want to have cURL for your user only? Select Path and click the Edit… button in the top list. (b) Do you want to give curl to all users of your machine? Select Path and click the Edit… button in the bottom list.
- Next, add the directory of your curl folder and add “\bin” to it. This might be different, depending on your Windows version. If you don’t see this list and you can only edit a very long string, put a semicolon (;) at the end and append the directory of your curl folder and add “\bin” to it.
- Close all windows, and open the command prompt (Windows button > Type “cmd” > Press Enter)
- Type curl –help
- If a huge wall of text gets printed, you have successfully installed cURL. If not, contact me in the comments below.