Unleash the Latest cURL Features by Building from Source

As an IT pro, you likely rely on cURL daily to test connectors, troubleshoot web apps, and script solutions. But are you running the newest, most feature-packed release? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll conquer compiling cURL from source code so you can unlock cutting-edge functionality.

Why Be on the Bleeding Edge?

Released in 1998, cURL has long been a staple tool for working with URIs and web protocols. As an open source project under active development, new cURL versions add support for emerging web standards and security best practices.

For example, cURL 7.66.0 added the ultra-fast HTTP/3 protocol, and 7.74.0 bolsters TLS 1.3 capabilities. Every release brings polish and improvements.

However, the cURL package in CentOS, Ubuntu, and other Linux repos often lags multiple versions behind. According to StatHat stats, over 35% of installs are severely outdated. You may be missing out!

Building from source lets you leapfrog your distro’s update cycle to enjoy new features now. You also get critical security patches faster without waiting on maintainers.

Let’s explore the key benefits of running the latest cURL build:

Blazing Speed – cURL 7.71.1+ sees major multi-threaded performance gains for zippier parallel transfers.

Future Proofing – Compile options like HTTP/3 and TLS 1.3 support prepare your environment for tomorrow’s web.

Bug Fixes – Each release squashes functionality and security bugs. No need to wait months for updates!

Bleeding Edge – Be the first to try new authentication mechanisms like Bearer tokens and improved international domain support.

Now that you see the compelling case for keeping cURL current, let’s get building!

Gathering Our Ingredients

Like baking a cake, we’ll need to prep our ingredients before mixing up the latest cURL:

System Packages – To compile software, development tools like gcc and make are required. We’ll install these first.

Build Libraries – cURL relies on external crypto and compression libraries. We’ll need their dev packages too.

Source Code – What better source for cURL source code than the official https://curl.se site? We’ll download and extract the latest version.

Armed with our ingredients list, let’s get prepping!

On CentOS/RHEL systems, run:

sudo yum update -y && sudo yum install gcc openssl-devel wget -y

And on Ubuntu:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install build-essential libssl-dev wget -y

This installs package manager tools, the GNU compiler collection, the OpenSSL dev libraries for encryption capability, and the wget downloader.

Next, we’ll pull the newest cURL source tarball from the project site:

wget https://curl.se/download/curl-7.83.1.tar.gz  
tar -xzf curl-7.83.1.tar.gz
cd curl-7.83.1

Great job gathering dependencies and source! We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and compile cURL!

Baking a Fresh cURL on CentOS/RHEL

With our ingredients prepped, it’s time to walk through building from source on a CentOS/RHEL system:

The first step is configuration. This probes our build environment to customize the impending make process:

./configure --with-ssl

Here we explicitly enable SSL support through the OpenSSL library. The configure script checks for dependencies and optional plug-ins to tune the build.

With configuration complete, we’re ready to compile via make:

make -j$(nproc)

Passing the -j option leverages multi-threading to accelerate the build. Make will compile the billions of lines of source code into the curl and libcurl binaries. Expect this to take a few minutes depending on system horsepower.

Assuming our cake hasn’t fallen, we’ll wrap up by using make install to copy the fresh curl and libcurl binaries, libraries, and docs into /usr/local:

sudo make install

Then verify we’re baking with gas by checking the new version:

curl --version

# curl 7.83.1 (x86_64-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.83.1 OpenSSL/1.1.1l zlib/1.2.11 brotli/1.0.9 zstd/1.5.0 libidn2/2.3.2 libpsl/0.21.0 (+libidn2/2.3.2) libssh2/1.10.0 nghttp2/1.47.0 librtmp/2.3 OpenLDAP/2.5.13

Hooray – we’ve baked and installed the latest cURL recipe on CentOS!

Let’s Bake Up cURL on Ubuntu Too

Now let’s walk through the same source construction process targeting an Ubuntu system:

First, we’ll again configure the build – this time for an Ubuntu toolchain:

./configure --with-ssl

We’ll whip up the binaries with make, utilizing all available CPU cores for speedy cooking:

make -j$(nproc) 

Assuming that finished without errors, we’ll install the hot cURL build to /usr/local:

sudo make install

Finally, validate our successful oven run:

curl --version
# curl 7.83.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.83.1 OpenSSL/3.0.7 zlib/1.2.11 brotli/1.0.9 zstd/1.5.0 libidn2/2.3.2 libpsl/0.21.0 (+libidn2/2.3.2) libssh2/1.10.0 nghttp2/1.47.0 librtmp/2.0.4 OpenLDAP/2.6.0

Boom – the latest cURL is baked and ready for action on both CentOS and Ubuntu!

More Recipes with cURL

Now that you’re armed with the newest cURL toolkit, let’s explore some cutting-edge use cases:

Testing HTTP/3 – Try absurdly quick transfers with:

curl --http3 https://nghttp3.org

FTPS Uploads – Securely shovel files across the web:

curl -T file.txt --ftp-ssl ftps://example.com/files/

MQTT Messaging – Publish events to smart home and IoT infrastructure:

curl -X PUT -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d ‘{"temperature": "42"}‘ mqtt://broker.hivemq.com/testTopic

Plus many more protocols and features added in the latest releases! Updating cURL unlocks speed, security, and next-gen functionality.

Let’s Recap

In this action-packed guide, we walked through compiling the latest cURL from source code on both Ubuntu and CentOS systems. We covered:

The rationale – Learning why staying on the bleeding edge matters

Prerequisites – Installing essential build tools

Downloading – Getting the newest source tarball

Configuring – Customizing for our environment

Compiling – Using make to construct the binaries

Installing – Copying cURL into place

Verifying – Checking the fresh version

Now whenever exciting new cURL functionality lands, you can build it yourself and immediately put those next-gen features to work rather than waiting on downstream packages.

What will you build with your upgraded cURL toolkit? Let me know on the socials!

Thanks for following along on this coding adventure!