How to get the content of the page using CURL?


I would like to scrape the content of this Google search result page using curl. I've been trying setting different user agents, and setting other options but I just can't seem to get the content of that page, as I often get redirected or I get a "page moved" error.

I believe it has something to do with the fact that the query string gets encoded somewhere but I'm really not sure how to get around that.

    //$url is the same as the link above
    $ch = curl_init();
    $user_agent='Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:8.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/8.0'
    curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $url);
    curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_USERAGENT, $user_agent);
    curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
    curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, 1);
    curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
    curl_setopt ($ch,CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT,120);
    curl_setopt ($ch,CURLOPT_TIMEOUT,120);
    curl_setopt ($ch,CURLOPT_MAXREDIRS,10);
    curl_setopt ($ch,CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE,"cookie.txt");
    curl_setopt ($ch,CURLOPT_COOKIEJAR,"cookie.txt");
    echo curl_exec ($ch);

What do I need to do to get my php code to show the exact content of the page as I would see it on my browser? What am I missing? Can anyone point me to the right direction?

I've seen similar questions on SO, but none with an answer that could help me.


I tried to just open the link using the Selenium WebDriver, that gives the same results as cURL. I am still thinking that this has to do with the fact that there are special characters in the query string which are getting messed up somewhere in the process.

this is how:

     * Get a web file (HTML, XHTML, XML, image, etc.) from a URL.  Return an
     * array containing the HTTP server response header fields and content.
    function get_web_page( $url )
        $user_agent='Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:8.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/8.0';

        $options = array(

            CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST  =>"GET",        //set request type post or get
            CURLOPT_POST           =>false,        //set to GET
            CURLOPT_USERAGENT      => $user_agent, //set user agent
            CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE     =>"cookie.txt", //set cookie file
            CURLOPT_COOKIEJAR      =>"cookie.txt", //set cookie jar
            CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER => true,     // return web page
            CURLOPT_HEADER         => false,    // don't return headers
            CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION => true,     // follow redirects
            CURLOPT_ENCODING       => "",       // handle all encodings
            CURLOPT_AUTOREFERER    => true,     // set referer on redirect
            CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT => 120,      // timeout on connect
            CURLOPT_TIMEOUT        => 120,      // timeout on response
            CURLOPT_MAXREDIRS      => 10,       // stop after 10 redirects

        $ch      = curl_init( $url );
        curl_setopt_array( $ch, $options );
        $content = curl_exec( $ch );
        $err     = curl_errno( $ch );
        $errmsg  = curl_error( $ch );
        $header  = curl_getinfo( $ch );
        curl_close( $ch );

        $header['errno']   = $err;
        $header['errmsg']  = $errmsg;
        $header['content'] = $content;
        return $header;


//Read a web page and check for errors:

$result = get_web_page( $url );

if ( $result['errno'] != 0 )
    ... error: bad url, timeout, redirect loop ...

if ( $result['http_code'] != 200 )
    ... error: no page, no permissions, no service ...

$page = $result['content'];