How To: Make ‘wget’ Ignore Certificate Errors

In today’s article, we’ll learn how to make ‘wget’ ignore certificate errors. It’s an easy thing to do and can be pretty useful if you want to download stuff from a server with a broken or missing security certificate. It’s a simple process, one which even a new Linux user can follow – but it’s not one that comes up all that often and so it’s worth including here.

I’d like to save some time and not duplicate work, so I’d appreciate it greatly if you at least read the intro section from when I wrote how to make ‘curl’ ignore certificate errors.

That’s right, I’ve already written this article – except it was for ‘curl‘ and not for ‘wget’.  Well, this article is pretty much the same thing, except we’re talking about doing it with ‘wget’. So, read the intro to the curl article and you’ll be up to speed with regards to what a certificate is, why they’re important, and why you might want to ignore certificate errors.

That’ll save some time! Those of you who do not read the ‘curl’ article are on your own. Also, many of my readers will already know about security certificates and won’t need a tutorial or refresher course. 

By the way, we use SSL here on Linux Tips. In fact, we use HSTS Preload, which means it’s hard coded in Chromium browsers (or at least Chrome) and the site will simply refuse to load without a proper certificate. So, there’s that… I take security pretty seriously, something important when you’re using WordPress.

Make ‘wget’ Ignore Certificate Errors:

This article requires ‘wget’ which requires an open terminal. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. If ‘wget’ isn’t installed, install it. I am pretty darned confident that it’s in your default repositories.

If you don’t know, ‘wget’ is used to download stuff from servers – while  you’re using your terminal. It’s a basic concept, but the command can be pretty complicated. After all, there are some pretty complicated site structures out there, and of course your downloading needs will vary.

So, with that said, it’s really easy to do this. You’ll just use the “--no-check-certificate” flag, like so:

But wait, there’s more! You can actually make the ‘wget’ command ignore certificate errors all the time. If this is something you find yourself needing to add this to your ‘wget’ commands often, you can make it permanent. To do that, you just need to edit your ~/.wgetrc file (create it, if it doesn’t exist) with the following:

You won’t have to reload anything, that command should take effect the very next time you use the ‘wget’ command and you should now permanently be ignoring security certificate errors. 

Doing this might actually be a horrible idea. After all, you’re ignoring security warnings. That’s a bit like ignoring a ‘Bridge Closed’ sign and hoping for the best as you gun it to the tune of “Highway To The Danger Zone”. Or, it could be just fine ’cause not everything even needs a security certificate! It’s Linux. You get to decide.

Closure:

Whelp… You have a new article. In this one, I give you what could be horrible advice. You might not want to make ‘wget’ ignore certificate errors. I mean, they are security related. On the other hand, it’s likely just fine – assuming you do some basic verification. Ah well… I ain’t scared and it’s not my computer. I’ll happily teach you how to completely break your system. I ain’t scared.

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Author: KGIII

Retired mathematician, residing in the mountains of Maine. I may be old and wise, but I am not infallible. Please point out any errors. And, as always, thanks again for reading.

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