How do I Compress a Whole Linux or UNIX Directory?

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

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
Where,

-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/jerry/prog and you would like to compress this directory then you can type tar command as follows:
$ tar -zcvf prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz /home/jerry/prog

Above command will create an archive file called prog-1-jan-2005.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 prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz

Where,

-x: Extract files
If you wish to extract files in particular directory, for example in /tmp then you need to use following command:
$ tar -zxvf prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz -C /tmp
$ cd /tmp
$ ls –

See also:

Howto: Use tar command through network over ssh session