Some times in small shell scripts, I use an http request on a raw text file with no header, only a uuid string for identification. For example, in the apache document root, I might have a file uuid.html that contains only the uuid string 2c465f47-a734-43a0-98ab-13a2b574ccaa, no header, nothing else. When I do an hhtp request on this file, say via content=$(wget somedomain/uuid.html -o /dev/null -q -O -), where somedomain resolve to my server, as expected $content is set to the uuid string. I do this to make sure that somedomain is really resolving to my server. There might be a better way to accomplish the same goal, but that is not my question. The question is whether this is the expected behavior in accordance to HTTP specification? I mean, perhaps, this behavior is not a part of the HTTP specification and, in some other server, $content will not be the uuid string, some extra header might be automatically added. I know, I could go and read the specification myself, but I feel it is such a simple question that one should not have to go back to the original, lengthy and verbose specification to figure out the answer.

  • Why would you expect that request and response not to have any headers? Wget is a fairly advanced tool and it handles all the headers for you. Unless you use the --save-headers command line flag, it wouldn't show them to you at all, even though it uses them. Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


You may not be explicitly setting HTTP headers but wget certainly will be.

If you run the same command with the -d (debug) flag you'll see more verbose output including the request and response headers:

$ wget -d https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/robots.txt
---request begin---
GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Wget/1.20.1 (linux-gnu)
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: identity
Host: webmasters.stackexchange.com
Connection: Keep-Alive
  • If you add that wget also manages the response header, which is what the question was about, then I will accept it. BTW, I realized soon after having asked my question that it showed that I did not know the HTTP protocol. Of course, there is always an header in the HTTP response. It's wget that strips the header. I knew these things, but they were just not lively in my mind. I feel ashamed.
    – Dominic108
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 19:48

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