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Linux File Compression

tar iconQuestion: I downloaded a script that I want to install on my website, but the file extension is tar.gz. What is it, and what do I do with it?

Answer: That file extension, .tar.gz means that the file has been doubly compressed with both TAR and GZIP. These are both common Unix and Linux programs that have better compression ratios than the typical Windows ZIP files. All you need to uncompress the file is the right software.

If you are running a dedicated server, just upload the file and then run the following command:

tar -zxvf filename.tar.gz

This will extract the file’s contents and preserve any directories inside.

If you are using a shared hosting account and do not have SSH access, you will need to extract the files onto your local computer and then upload them. For Windows, you can download a free and open source application called 7-Zip, which handles tar, zip, gzip, rar, and a host of others. For Mac OS X, try GUI Tar, which is also free of charge.

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