Linux: Compress an Entire Directory or a Single File

Use the following command to compress an entire directory or a single file on Linux. It’ll also compress every other directory inside a directory you specify–in other words, it works recursively.

tar -czvf name-of-archive.tar.gz /path/to/directory-or-file

Here’s what those switches actually mean:

  • -c: Create an archive.
  • -z: Compress the archive with gzip.
  • -v: Display progress in the terminal while creating the archive, also known as “verbose” mode. The v is always optional in these commands, but it’s helpful.
  • -f: Allows you to specify the filename of the archive.

To extract use below

tar -xzvf archive.tar.gz

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