Download files via command line

I recently purchased a Western Digital EX2 NAS box for my home storage. This device is a low powered file server which is on all the time - perfect for taking care of those hefty downloads and long running tasks so I don't need to keep my laptop on.

If you want to get your WD NAS to download a file, you can log into the admin interface and find the HTTP downloads section - however, this didn't seem to work for me as the file I wanted to download was dynamically generated and didn't have a standard file extension.

Knowing the download would take a few hours (and not needing it immediately) I set my low powered NAS to do the lifting for me.

First step is to ensure SSH is enabled (and make sure you have a little command line experience for this next bit...)

SSH into your box and cd to

/mnt/HD/HD_a2/[Share]/[folder]

My "Share" is called Media and the folder was called Downloads - so this is where I navigated to.

The command line application we're going to use is wget. This is an application found on most Linux based computers - so if you get used to this, you can learn a lot. If it's not installed, you can install it via Homebrew or apt-get.

$ wget --no-check-certificate -b -i "[url]"

Where the [url] part is the path to your file. Make sure the url is wrapped in quotes ". A break down of what is going on here:

  • wget - this is the application actually doing the "getting"
  • --no-check-certificate - this skips the certificate check (helpful if downloading from another WD My Cloud)
  • -b - this sets the process in the background - meaning you can exit out of the shell session or do other things without having to interrupt
  • -i - this is the flag for specifying the input file

If you need any more details type wget -h.

Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.