HTTPie (pronounced aych-tee-tee-pie) is a command line HTTP client. Its goal is to make CLI interaction with web services as human-friendly as possible. It provides a simple http command that allows for sending arbitrary HTTP requests using a simple and natural syntax, and displays colorized output. 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.

1 Usage

Hello World:

$ http


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

See also http --help.

1.1 Examples

Custom HTTP method_, HTTP headers_ and JSON_ data:

$ http PUT X-API-Token:123 name=John

Submitting forms_:

$ http -f POST hello=World

See the request that is being sent using one of the output options_:

$ http -v

Use Github API_ to post a comment on an issue with authentication_:

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

Upload a file using redirected input_:

$ http < file.json

Download a file and save it via redirected output_:

$ http > file

Download a file wget style:

$ http --download

Use named sessions_ to make certain aspects or the communication persistent between requests to the same host:

$ http --session=logged-in -a username:password API-Key:123

$ http --session=logged-in

Set a custom Host header to work around missing DNS records:

$ http localhost:8000

What follows is a detailed documentation. It covers the command syntax, advanced usage, and also features additional examples.

2 HTTP Method

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

$ http DELETE

Which looks 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).

3 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.

Additionally, curl-like shorthand for localhost is supported. This means that, for example :3000 would expand to http://localhost:3000 If the port is omitted, then port 80 is assumed.

$ http :/foo
GET /foo HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost
$ http :3000/bar
GET /bar HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost:3000
$ http :
GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost

If you 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

4 Request Items

There are a few 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 :=@. The ones with an @ expect a file path as value.

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, field=@file.txt Request data fields to be serialized as a JSON object (default), or to be form-encoded (--form, -f).
Raw JSON fields field:=json, field:=@file.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).
Form File Fields field@/dir/file Only available with --form, -f. 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). For instance, foo\==bar will become a data key/value pair (foo= and bar) instead of a URL parameter.

You can also quote values, e.g. foo="bar baz".

Note that data fields aren't the only way to specify request data: Redirected input_ allows for passing arbitrary data to be sent with the request.


JSON is the lingua franca of modern web services and it is also the implicit content type HTTPie by default 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
Accept application/json

You can use --json, -j to explicitly set Accept to application/json regardless of whether you are sending data (it's a shortcut for 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: gzip, deflate
Content-Type: application/json

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

Non-string fields use the := separator, which allows you to embed raw JSON into the resulting object. Text and raw JSON files can also be embedded into fields using =@ and :=@:

$ http PUT \
    name=John \
    age:=29 married:=false hobbies:='["http", "pies"]' \  # Raw JSON
    description=@about-john.txt \   # Embed text file
    bookmarks:=@bookmarks.json      # Embed JSON file
PUT /person/1 HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Content-Type: application/json

    "age": 29,
    "hobbies": [
    "description": "John is a nice guy who likes pies.",
    "married": false,
    "name": "John",
    "bookmarks": {
        "HTTPie": "",

Send JSON data stored in a file (see redirected input_ for more examples):

$ http POST < person.json

6 Forms

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 as, and Content-Type is set to, application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8.

It is possible to make form data the implicit content type instead of JSON via the config_ file.

6.1 Regular Forms

$ http --form POST name='John Smith' \ cv=@~/Documents/cv.txt
POST /person/1 HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8


6.2 File Upload Forms

If one or more file fields is present, the serialization and 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" />

Note that @ is used to simulate a file upload form field, whereas =@ just embeds the file content as a regular text field value.

7 HTTP Headers

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

$ http  User-Agent:Bacon/1.0  'Cookie:valued-visitor=yes;foo=bar'  \
    X-Foo:Bar  Referer:
GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Cookie: valued-visitor=yes;foo=bar
User-Agent: Bacon/1.0
X-Foo: Bar

There are a couple of default headers that HTTPie sets:

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

Any of the default headers can be overwritten.

8 Authentication

The currently supported authentication schemes are Basic and Digest (see auth plugins_ for more). There are two flags that control authentication:

--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 an empty password, pass username:.
The username:password@hostname URL syntax is
supported as well (but credentials passed via -a
have higher priority).
--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

Authorization information from your ~/.netrc file is honored as well:

$ cat ~/.netrc
login httpie
password test

$ http
HTTP/1.1 200 OK

8.1 Auth Plugins

9 Proxies

You can specify proxies to be used through the --proxy argument for each protocol (which is included in the value in case of redirects across protocols):

$ http --proxy=http: --proxy=https:

With Basic authentication:

$ http --proxy=http:http://user:pass@

You can also configure proxies by environment variables HTTP_PROXY and HTTPS_PROXY, and the underlying Requests library will pick them up as well. If you want to disable proxies configured through the environment variables for certain hosts, you can specify them in NO_PROXY.

In your ~/.bash_profile:

export HTTP_PROXY=
export NO_PROXY=localhost,


10.1 Server SSL certificate verification

To skip the host's SSL certificate verification, you can pass --verify=no (default is yes):

$ http --verify=no

You can also use --verify=<CA_BUNDLE_PATH> to set a custom CA bundle path:

$ http --verify=/ssl/custom_ca_bundle

The path can also be configured via the environment variable REQUESTS_CA_BUNDLE (picked up by the underlying python-requests library):

$ REQUESTS_CA_BUNDLE=/ssl/custom_ca_bundle http

10.2 Client side SSL certificate

To use a client side certificate for the SSL communication, you can pass the path of the cert file with --cert:

$ http --cert=client.pem

If the private key is not contained in the cert file you may pass the path of the key file with --cert-key:

$ http --cert=client.crt --cert-key=client.key

10.3 SNI (Server Name Indication)

If you use HTTPie with Python < 2.7.9 (can be verified with python --version) and need to talk to servers that use SNI (Server Name Indication) you need to install some additional dependencies:

$ pip install --upgrade pyopenssl pyasn1 ndg-httpsclient

You can use the following command to test SNI support:

$ http

11 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: gzip, deflate
Content-Type: application/json
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 request and response headers:

$ http --print=Hh PUT hello=world

11.1 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 an update:

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

Since we are only printing the HTTP headers here, the connection to the 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

12 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 '401 Unauthorized' /var/log/httpd/error_log | 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:

$ echo 'data' | http POST more=data   # This is invalid

To prevent HTTPie from reading stdin data you can use the --ignore-stdin option.

12.1 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 is automatically 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

13 Terminal Output

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

13.1 Colors and Formatting

Syntax highlighting is applied to HTTP headers and bodies (where it makes sense). You can choose your preferred color scheme via the --style option if you don't like the default one (see $ http --help for the possible values).

Also, the following formatting is applied:

One of these options can be used to control output processing:

--pretty=all Apply both colors and formatting.
Default for terminal output.
--pretty=colors Apply colors.
--pretty=format Apply formatting.
--pretty=none Disables output processing.
Default for redirected output.

13.2 Binary data

Binary data is suppressed for terminal output, which makes it safe to perform requests to URLs that 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,

$ http

You will nearly instantly 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 |

14 Redirected Output

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

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 the response in less pager:

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

The -R flag tells less to interpret color escape sequences included HTTPie`s output.

You can create a shortcut for invoking HTTPie with colorized and paged output by adding the following to your ~/.bash_profile:

function httpless {
    # `httpless'
    http --pretty=all --print=hb "$@" | less -R;

15 Download Mode

HTTPie features a download mode in which it acts similarly to wget.

When enabled using the --download, -d flag, response headers are printed to the terminal (stderr), and a progress bar is shown while the response body is being saved to a file.

$ http --download
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=jkbrzt-httpie-0.4.1-33-gfc4f70a.tar.gz
Content-Length: 505530
Content-Type: application/x-gzip
Vary: Accept-Encoding

Downloading 494.89 kB to "jkbrzt-httpie-0.4.1-33-gfc4f70a.tar.gz"
/  21.01% 104.00 kB   47.55 kB/s  0:00:08 ETA

If not provided via --output, -o, the output filename will be determined from Content-Disposition (if available), or from the URL and Content-Type. If the guessed filename already exists, HTTPie adds a unique suffix to it.

You can also redirect the response body to another program while the response headers and progress are still shown in the terminal:

$ http -d |  tar zxf -

If --output, -o is specified, you can resume a partial download using the --continue, -c option. This only works with servers that support Range requests and 206 Partial Content responses. If the server doesn't support that, the whole file will simply be downloaded:

$ http -dco

Other notes:

16 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_ is 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 for 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 alá tail -f:

# 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

17 Sessions

By default, every request is completely independent of any previous ones. HTTPie also supports persistent sessions, where custom headers (except for the ones starting with Content- or If-), authorization, and cookies (manually specified or sent by the server) persist between requests to the same host.

17.1 Named Sessions

Create a new session named user1 for

$ http --session=user1 -a user1:password X-Foo:Bar

Now you can refer to the session by its name, and the previously used authorization and HTTP headers will automatically be set:

$ http --session=user1

To create or reuse a different session, simple specify a different name:

$ http --session=user2 -a user2:password X-Bar:Foo

To use a session without updating it from the request/response exchange once it is created, specify the session name via --session-read-only=SESSION_NAME instead.

Named sessions' data is stored in JSON files in the directory ~/.httpie/sessions/<host>/<name>.json (%APPDATA%\httpie\sessions\<host>\<name>.json on Windows).

17.2 Anonymous Sessions

Instead of a name, you can also directly specify a path to a session file. This allows for sessions to be re-used across multiple hosts:

$ http --session=/tmp/session.json
$ http --session=/tmp/session.json
$ http --session=~/.httpie/sessions/
$ http --session-read-only=/tmp/session.json

Warning: All session data, including credentials, cookie data, and custom headers are stored in plain text.

Note that session files can also be created and edited manually in a text editor; they are plain JSON.

See also Config_.

18 Config

HTTPie uses a simple configuration file that contains a JSON object with the following keys:

__meta__ HTTPie automatically stores some metadata here.
Do not change.
implicit_content_type A String specifying the implicit content type
for request data. The default value for this
option is json and can be changed to
default_options An Array (by default empty) of options
that should be applied to every request.
For instance, you can use this option to change
the default style and output options:
"default_options": ["--style=fruity", "--body"]
Another useful default option is
"--session=default" to make HTTPie always
use sessions_.
Default options from config file can be unset
for a particular invocation via
--no-OPTION arguments passed on the
command line (e.g., --no-style
or --no-session).

The default location of the configuration file is ~/.httpie/config.json (or %APPDATA%\httpie\config.json on Windows).

The config directory location can be changed by setting the HTTPIE_CONFIG_DIR environment variable.

19 Scripting

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 --follow is set), 4, or 5, respectively.

The --ignore-stdin option prevents HTTPie from reading data from stdin, which is usually not desirable during non-interactive invocations.

Also, the --timeout option allows to overwrite the default 30s timeout:


if http --check-status --ignore-stdin --timeout=2.5 HEAD &> /dev/null; then
    echo 'OK!'
    case $? in
        2) echo 'Request timed out!' ;;
        3) echo 'Unexpected HTTP 3xx Redirection!' ;;
        4) echo 'HTTP 4xx Client Error!' ;;
        5) echo 'HTTP 5xx Server Error!' ;;
        *) echo 'Other Error!' ;;

20 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=all (default for terminal) and --pretty=none (default for redirected output), allow for both user-friendly interactive use and usage from scripts, where HTTPie serves as a generic HTTP client.

As HTTPie is still under heavy development, the existing command line syntax and some of the --OPTIONS may change slightly before HTTPie reaches its final version 1.0. All changes are recorded in the change log_.