Apr 16

Compress Unix/Linux Directory

How do I Compress Complete Linux or UNIX Directory?

Q. How can I compress a whole directory under Linux / UNIX using a shell prompt?

Similar Question,

Q. How can i zip folder/directory in Linux using shell command?

A. It is very easy to compress a Whole Linux/UNIX directory. It is useful to backup files, email all files, or even to send software you have created to friends. Technically, it is called as a compressed archive. GNU tar command is best for this work. It can be use on remote Linux or UNIX server. It does two things for you:
=> Create the archive
=> Compress the archive

You need to use tar command as follows (syntax of tar command):

tar -zcvf archive-name.tar.gz directory-name


  • -z: Compress archive using gzip program
  • -c: Create archive
  • -v: Verbose i.e display progress while creating archive
  • -f: Archive File name

For example, you have directory called /home/drpaudel/tutorial and you would like to compress this directory then you can type tar command as follows:

$ tar -zcvf tutorial.tar.gz /home/drpaudel/tutorial

Above command will create an archive file called tutorial.tar.gz in current directory. If you wish to restore your archive then you need to use following command (it will extract all files in current directory):

$ tar -zxvf tutorial.tar.gz


  • -x: Extract files

If you wish to extract files in particular directory, for example in /home then you need to use following command:

$ tar -zxvf tutorial.tar.gz -C /home

$ cd /home
$ ls –


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