I recently needed to download an artifact from a Jenkins build to my remote dev machine. The remote machine has access to the Jenkins controller, so I just ran wget with the link.

$ wget https://jenkins.local/job/.../artifact/my_artifact.tar.gz

I got this back:

HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 403 Forbidden
2023-04-02 17:43:27 ERROR 403: Forbidden.

Jenkins required authentication…


API token

To authenticate ourselves we need to supply username and an API token. The token can be generated in the Web-UI:

  1. Click on your username in the top right corner
  2. Click “Configure” in the side menu
  3. Under the API Token section, click “Add new Token”, give it a name and click “Generate”

It should look something like this: 11a6b656cac594240285968eaa9347f491


Now we can provide this information to wget and download our file.

$ wget --auth-no-challenge --user=david --password=11a6b656cac594240285968eaa9347f491 https://...

It works! But, it’s not really recommended to pass API tokens on the command line since the secret can be easily exposed that way, so let’s put it in a file.

Security and usability improvements

By having the username and API token as environment variables we can refer to them in the CLI instead of writing them out in plain text.

# ~/.jenkins_token

Change the file permissions so only your user can view the file contents:

$ chmod 600 ~/jenkins_token

To access these environment variables, we need to source the file. Put this in your ~/.zshenv or ~/.bashrc depending on what shell you use.

# ~/.zshenv or ~/.bashrc
source $HOME/.jenkins_token

If we now open up a fresh terminal we can access the variables this:

$ wget --auth-no-challenge --user=$JENKINS_USERNAME --password=$JENKINS_TOKEN

Utility functions

To make it easier to use, we can create a utility function. Here we also add support for authenticated curl.

# ~/.zshrc or ~/.bashrc
wget_jenkins() {
    wget --auth-no-challenge --user=$JENKINS_USERNAME --password=$JENKINS_TOKEN $@

curl_jenkins() {
    curl --user ${JENKINS_USERNAME}:${JENKINS_TOKEN} $@

Now it’s much easier to download files!

$ wget_jenkins https://...
# or
$ curl_jenkins -o artifact.tar.gz https://...

Bonus: trigger jobs

In addition to downloading artifacts, you can also use the curl_jenkins function to trigger Jenkins jobs remotely:

$ curl_jenkins -X POST -L https://jenkins.local/job/your_job/build


In conclusion, this article provides a practical solution for downloading artifacts and triggering Jenkins jobs remotely using the wget and curl tools.

Official documentation

Jenkins - Authenticating scripted clients

Hacker News Discuss on Hacker News