gzip – Used to Compress Files

Gzip is a Linux command used to compress files. It is a widely used compression utility in Linux systems. Gzip compresses files by replacing repeated occurrences of data with references to a single copy of that data existing earlier in the file. This results in a smaller file size, making it easier to store and transfer files.


The syntax of the gzip command is as follows:

gzip [OPTIONS] [FILE(S)]

Here, OPTIONS are the command line options and FILE(S) are the files that need to be compressed.

For example, to compress a file named example.txt, the command would be:

gzip example.txt

This will create a new file named example.txt.gz in the same directory as the original file.

To decompress a compressed file, use the gunzip command or the -d option with the gzip command. For example:

gunzip example.txt.gz


gzip -d example.txt.gz

Use Cases

Gzip is commonly used for compressing large files, such as log files, backups, and archives, to save disk space and reduce transfer times. It is also used to prepare files for distribution over the internet, where smaller file sizes are preferred.


  • To compress a file named example.txt and keep the original file:

gzip example.txt

  • To compress a file named example.txt and delete the original file:

gzip -c example.txt > example.txt.gz && rm example.txt

  • To decompress a file named example.txt.gz:

gunzip example.txt.gz

  • To decompress a file named example.txt.gz and keep the original file:

gunzip -c example.txt.gz > example.txt


The following table lists the available options for the gzip command:

Option Description
-c Write output to standard output and keep original files unchanged.
-d Decompress the compressed file.
-f Force compression or decompression, even if the file already exists.
-h Display a help message and exit.
-k Keep the original file after compression or decompression.
-l List details for each compressed file, including compression ratio, original size, compressed size, and uncompressed size.
-n Do not overwrite existing files.
-q Suppress non-essential output.
-r Recursively compress or decompress files in directories and subdirectories.
-t Test the integrity of the compressed file.
-v Verbose output.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you receive an error message indicating that the file does not exist, double-check the spelling and file path.
  • If the compressed file is not smaller than the original file, try using a different compression utility or adjusting the compression level with the -N option.
  • If the compressed file is corrupted or cannot be decompressed, try using the -t option to test the integrity of the compressed file.


  • Gzip is not the only compression utility available in Linux. Other popular compression utilities include bzip2 and xz.
  • Gzip is not suitable for compressing already compressed files, such as JPEG or MP3 files, as it may result in a larger file size.