Linux – How to compress an entire directory

From time to time there is a need to package up a folder for any number of reasons which may include things like:

  • Migration
  • Movement to a new location
  • Movement to a new server
  • To keep a backup
  • Or simply to save space

Compressing a folder is folder can be very useful, but for those of us who don’t do it all the time, it is nice to have a pattern to follow.  Also, even an experienced user can get brain cramp, if they have not had a reason to compress a folder in a while. So, here is a simple pattern to follow to compress a folder and its contents.

Basic Command Format

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

Example Compress Command

tar -zcvf  blog_files_backup.tar.gz   sqlfiles

Linux tar command line options used here

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

For help with the tar command in Linux

To get additional detail on the tar command in Linux, just need to type:

 tar -?