curl 8.3.0

Welcome to this new curl release!

Release video


the 251st release
9 changes
49 days (total: 9,308)

174 bug-fixes (total: 9,415)
296 commits (total: 30,942)
1 new public libcurl function (total: 92)
0 new curl_easy_setopt() option (total: 303)

2 new curl command line option (total: 257)
80 contributors, 50 new (total: 2,977)
40 authors, 20 new (total: 1,193)
1 security fix (total: 146)

Numbers notes:

  1. the release counter now also includes project releases done before the name was changed to curl.
  2. The number of security fixes is adjusted due to the recently rejected CVE-2023-32001


We publish a security advisory in association with today’s release.

HTTP headers eat all memory

[CVE-2023-38039] When curl retrieves an HTTP response, it stores the incoming headers so that they can be accessed later via the libcurl headers API.

However, curl did not have a limit in how many or how large headers it would accept in a response, allowing a malicious server to stream an endless series of headers and eventually cause curl to run out of heap memory.


curl: make %output{} in -w specify a file to write to

The super handy option –write-out become even more convenient now as it can redirect its output into a specific file and not just stdout and stderr.

curl: add “variable” support

The new variable concept now only lets users use environment variables on config files but also opens up for new ways to use curl command lines effectively.

remove gskit support

The gskit TLS library is no longer a provided option when building curl.

remove NSS support

The NSS TLS library is no longer a provided option when building curl. curl still supports building with twelve different TLS libraries even after the removal of these two.

configure –disable-bindlocal builds curl without local binding support

As a next step in the gradual movement to allow more and more features to get enabled/disabled at build time, the time came to the bindlocal function, which is the feature that binds the local end of a connection. Primarily intended for tiny-curl purposes when you aim for a minimal footprint build.

make tracing available in non-debug builds

Starting now, libcurl offers curl_global_trace and curl offers –trace-config to ask for what specific details to include in the verbose logging output. This is a way for a non-debug build to provide more protocol level details from transfers in ways that were previously not possible. Allows for users to report bugs better and provide more insights from real-world problematic scenarios.

CURLOPT_MAXREDIRS defaults to 30

As a precaution, we change the default from unlimited to 30.

CURLU_PUNY2IDN – convert punycode to IDN

The URL API gets the ability to convert to an International Domain Name when given a punycode version. Previously it could only do the conversion in the other direction.

wolfssl: support loading system CA certificates

curl built with wolfSSL now can use the “native CA” option which then makes it possible to use the native CA store on several platforms instead of using a separately provided external file.


More than 160 bugfixes are logged for this release, but here are a few selected highlights.

accept and parse IPv6 addresses in alt-svc response headers

Previously curl would not parse and accept such hosts.

c-ares: reduce timeout to 2000ms

The default c-ares DNS timeout is set to the same time that c-ares itself has changed to in their next pending release.

make CURLOPT_HAPROXY_CLIENT_IP set the source IP

It was wrongly set as destination instead of source.

cmake: ten separate improvements

Numerous smaller and larger fixes that made the cmake build of curl several notches better.

stop halving the remaining connect timeout when less than 600 ms left

When curl connects to a host that resolves to multiple IP addresses, it allows half the timeout time for the current IP before it moves on to attempt the next IP in the list. That “halving” is now stopped when there is less than 600 milliseconds left to reduce problems with too short times.

docs: rewrite to present tense

Most of the curl documentation now says “this option does this” instead of “this option will do this”

escape all dashes (ASCII minus) to avoid Unicode hyphens in curl.1 man page

It turns out the curl man page as generated previously, would make the man command use a Unicode hyphen instead of ASCII minus when displayed. This broke copy and paste and it made it impossible to properly search for minus/dash when viewing the man page.

accept leading whitespace on first HTTP response header

curl is now less strict if the first HTTP/1 response header starts with space or tab, thus looking like it is a “fold” when it not. Other commonly used tools/browsers accept this kind of bad syntax and so does curl now.

avoid too early HTTP/2 connection re-use/multiplexing

When doing lots of parallel transfers curl might need to create a second connection when the first reaches its maximum number of streams. In that situation, curl would try to multiplex on that new connection too early, already before it was properly setup and be ready for use, leading to transfer errors.

http/http2/http3: fix sending large requests

Logic for all supported HTTP versions had (different) issues in handling sending very large requests.

aws-sigv4: canonicalize the query

Using aws-sigv4 authentication would fail if the query part was not manually crafted to be correct: sorted, uppercase %-encoding and all the name/value pairs alpha-sorted. Now curl does this itself.

make aws-sigv4 not require TLS to be used

The –aws-sigv4 option no longer requires an HTTPS:// URL to be used.

lib: move mimepost data from ->req.p.http to ->state

The moving of internal data from one struct to another made data survive between two requests and thus fixed a bug involving redirects with MIMEPOST that needed to rewind.

use PF_INET6 family lookups when CURL_IPRESOLVE_V6 is set

Turns out curl would still resolve both IPv4 and IPv6 names even if ipv6-only connections were being requested, thus getting some extra names in vein.

system.h: add CURL_OFF_T definitions on HP-UX with HP aCC

Starting now, curl builds properly on more HP-UX machines.

tests: update cookie expiry dates to far in the future

curl’s test suite now runs fine even when executed in a year after 2038.

tool_filetime: make -z work with file dates before 1970

The -z option can get the file date off a local file and use that in a HTTP time condition request, but if the file was older than January 1 1970 it would act wrongly.

transfer: also stop the sending on closed connection

When curl sent off a HTTP/1 request and the connection was closed before the sending was complete, curl could end up not detecting that and ending the transfer correctly.

don’t set TIMER_STARTTRANSFER on first send

Adjustments were made to make this timestamp work as actually documented.

make zoneid duplicated in curl_url_dup

This dup function did not correctly duplicate the zone id from the source handle, making it an incomplete duplicate.

quic: don’t set SNI if hostname is an IP address

curl would wrongly populate the SNI field with the IP address when doing QUIC connections to such.


This is a dot-zero release. If there are any important enough regressions shipped in this version, we will do a follow-up release within shortly. Report all and any problems you spot.

Bogus CVE follow-ups

On August 26 I posted details here on my blog about the bogus curl issue CVE-2020-19909. Luckily, it got a lot of attention and triggered discussions widely. Maybe I helped shed light on the brittleness of this system. This was not a unique instance and it was not the first time it happened. This has been going on for years.

For example, the PostgreSQL peeps got a similarly bogus CVE almost at the same time. Not a real problem either.


Some people did in discussions following my blog post insist that a signed long overflow is undefined behavior in C and since it truly is undefined all bets are off so this could be a security issue.

I am not a fan of philosophical thought exercises around vulnerabilities. They are distractions from the real matters and I find them rather pointless. It is easy to test how this flaw plays out on numerous platforms using numerous compilers. It’s not a security problem on any of them. Even if the retry time would go down to 0, it is not a DOS to do multiple internet transfers next to each other. If it would be, then a browser makes a DOS every time you visit a website – and curl does it when you give it two URLs on the same command line. Unexpected behavior and a silly bug, yes. Security flaw: no.

Not to even mention that no person or script actually would use such numbers on the command line that trigger the bug. This is the bug that never triggered for anyone who did not deliberately try to make it happen.

Who gets to report a CVE

A CVE Id is basically just a bug tracker identifier. You can ask for a number for a problem you found, and by the nature of this you don’t even have to present many details when you ask for it. You are however supposed to provide them when the issue goes public. CVE-2020-19909 certainly failed this latter step. You could perhaps ask why MITRE even allows for CVEs to get published at all if there isn’t more information available.

When you request a CVE Id, there are a few hundred distributed CVE number authorities (CNAs) you can get the number from.


A CNA can (apparently) require to be consulted if the ask is in regards to their scope. To their products.

I have initiated work on having curl become a CNA; to take responsibility for all CVEs that concern curl or libcurl. I personally think it is rather problematic that this basically is the only available means to prevent this level of crap, but I still intend to attempt this route.

Lots of other Open Source projects (Apache, OpenSSL, Python, etc) already are CNAs, many of them presumably because they realized these things much faster than me. I suspect curl is a smaller shop than most of the existing CNAs, but I don’t think size matters here.

It does of course add administration and work for us which is unfortunate, because that time and energy could be spent on more productive activities, but it still feels like a reasonable thing to try. Hopefully this can also help combat inflated severity levels.

MITRE: Reject 2020-19909 please

The main care-taker of the CVE database is MITRE. They provide a means for anyone to ask for updates to already published CVEs. I submitted my request for rejection using their online form, explaining that this issue is not a security problem and thus should be removed again. With all the info I had, including a link to my blog post.

They denied my request.

Their motivation? The exact quote:

After review there are multiple perspectives on whether the issue information is helpful to consumers of the CVE List, our current preference is in the direction of keeping the CVE ID assignment. There is a valid weakness (integer overflow) that can lead to a valid security impact (denial of service, based on retrying network traffic much more often than is documented/requested).

This is signed CVE Assignment Team, no identifiable human involved.

It is not a Denial of Service. It’s blatant scaremongering and it helps absolutely no one to say that it is.

NVD: Rescore 2020-19909 please

NVD maintains some sort of database and index with all the CVE Ids. They score them and as you may remember, they decided this non-issue is a 9.8 out of 10 severity.

The same evening I learned about this CVE I contacted NVD (, pointed out this silliness and asked them to act on it.

A few days later they responded. From the National Vulnerability Database Team, no identifiable human.

First, they of course think their initial score was a fair assessment:

At the time of analysis, information for this CVE record was particularly sparse. Per NVD policy, if any information is lacking, unclear or conflicts between sources, the NVD policy is to represent the worst-case scenario. The NVD takes this conservative approach to avoid under reporting the possible severity of a given vulnerability.

Meaning: when they don’t know, they make up the worst possible scenario. That is literally what they say and how they act. Panic by default.

However, at this time there are more information sources and clarifications provided that make amendment of the CVSS vector string appropriate. We will break down the various amendments for transparency and to assist in confirmation of the appropriateness of these changes by you or a member of your team.

Meaning: their messed up system requires us to react and provide additional information to them to trigger a reassessment and them updating the score. To lower the panic level.

NVD themselves will not remove any CVE. As long as MITRE says it is a genuine issue, NVD shows it.


As a rejection of the CVE was denied, the secondary goal would be to lower NVD’s severity score as much as possible.

The NVD response helped me understand how their research into and analyses of issues are performed.

Their email highlighted three specific items in the CVSS score and how they could maybe re-evaluate them to a lower setting. How do they base and motivate that? Providing links to specific reddit discussions for details of the CVE-2020-19909 problems. Postings done by the ordinary set of pseudonymous persons. Don’t get me wrong, some of those posts are excellent and clearly written by skilled and knowledgeable persons. It just seems a bit… arbitrary.

I did not participate in those discussions and neither did any curl core contributor to my knowledge. There are simply no domain experts involved there.

No reading or pointing to code. No discussions on data input and what changing retry delays mean and not a single word on UB. No mention on why no or a short delay would imply DOS.

Eventually, their proposed updated CVSS ends up with a new score of…


To be honest, I find CVSS calculations exhausting and I did not care to evaluate their proposal very closely. Again, this is not a security problem.

If you concur with the assessment above based on publicly available information this would change the vector string as follows:

AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H - 9.8
AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:L - 3.3

In my response to NVD I wrote:

I have not personally checked the scoring very closely. I do not agree with the premise that this is a security problem. It is bad, wrong and hostile to insist that non-issues are security problems. It is counter-productive for the entire industry.

As they set it to 3.3 it at least takes the edge off this silliness and I feel a little bit better. They now also link to my blog post from their CVE-2020-19909 info page, which I think is grand of them.

Image by Dan Lorenc

The curl-wget Venn diagram

In my view, wget is not a curl competitor. It is a companion tool that has a feature overlap with curl.

Use the tool that does the job.

Getting the job done is the key. If that means using wget instead of curl, then that is good and I don’t mind. Why would I?

To illustrate the technical differences (and some similarities) between curl and wget, I made the following Venn diagram. Click the image to get the full resolution version.

The curl-wget Venn diagram

I have contributed code to wget. Several wget maintainers have contributed to curl. We are all friends.

If you think there is a problem or omission in the diagram, let me know and I can do updates.

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