Compressing and decompressing files is a day-to-day activity of the system administrator and normal Linux users. Compression not only saves disk space but reduces data transmission and bandwidth.
Most of the time, it is really hard to find a compression tool that really meets your requirements. You can find all the best compression tools in almost all Linux distributions. Performance of compression tools is measured based on compression ratio, compression speed, and decompression speed.
In this guide, we will cover the best compression tools in Linux.
LZ4 is a lossless compression algorithm that provides a good trade-off between speed and compression ratio. It has an extremely fast decoder with speed in multiple Gigabit per second per core. LZ4_HC and LZ77 algorithms are applied for data compression in LZ4.
The key features of LZ4:
- LZ4 is easy to install on various Linux distributions without any complexity.
- The data compression rate of LZ4 is quite higher, which is above 0.5 GB of data/second.
- Compression handled through LZ4 is completely lossless.
- Big data compression can be managed easily using LZ4.
- Setting a password is assisted using CryptoStream.
Lzop is an open-source file compression tool which is very similar to gzip. Lempel–Ziv–Oberhumer (lzo) algorithm is used for data compression in lzop.
Following are the key features of Lzop:
- The data compression rate is extremely high.
- It is convenient to use without any hassle as it is portable.
- The Lzop compression tool can be compressed and decompressed several files at the same time.
- It supports two file extensions that are .tzo and .tar.
- It allows data compression tool deployment on the Hadoop file system.
3. zstd (Zstandard)
Zstandard (zstd) is a lossless data compression algorithm which provides fast real-time compression and better compression ratios. It is developed by Yann Collet at Facebook and provided as open-source software using a BSD license.
Following are the notable features of Zstandard:
- Lzop enables data compression and decompression of several files at the same time.
- The dictionary compression method is applied to minimize the compression time.
- Complete databases can be easily compressed.
- Compression and decompression ratio can be adjusted.
- Breaks tasks into subtasks to automate related kinds of compressions.
The gzip is the most popular single-stream lossless data compression tool that offers a superior compression ratio. The compressed gzip files have the suffix .gz. The gzip utility was developed under the GNU project.
Following are the significant list of features of gzip tool:
- Using the gzip utility, you can compress and decompress files several files.
- gzip commands can be executed on Linux terminal.
- LZW (Lempel–Ziv–Welch) algorithms is used in deflate mode for file compression.
- gzip shrinks the file size, increase the page load time and decreases the bandwidth consumption during the file compression.
Winrar is a powerful file compression tool that also offers lossless data compression. This tool is integrated with other functions such as compression, encryption, file extraction, package, and data backup. It is most commonly used for Windows Operating Systems, but most Linux users also use the WinRAR on Linux distribution.
Following are its features:
- Winrar provides both feature file compression and extraction for all file formats.
- It offers 256 bit password encryption while sending the data through web.
- Winrar supports all popular file compression formats in which tar, rar, zip, gzip, iso, z, bzip2, and 7zip are included.
7-Zip is a popular file archive for Linux distributions that offers a high compression ratio. It offers a compression ratio of 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by the zip compatible utilities. This tool provides a powerful Self-extracting capability for all 7z file formats.
- It supports various file formats for compression and descompression such as 7z, BZIP2, GZIP, XZ, ZIP, TAR and WIM.
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES - 256) technology is applied for encrypting archive files.
- It offers users to set file passwords while compression.
- 7-Zip can easily recover corrupted compressed files.
- It provides the powerful file manager and command line support.
- It allows compression and decompression of almost all file types.
7. XZ Utils
XZ Utils is a general-purpose compression tool that is used for various Linux distributions. It offers a high compression ratio. The .xz is the native file format for XZ Utils. This tool is specifically written for POSIX-like systems but can also be used for non-POSIX systems. The compressed files created by the XZ Utils are 15 % smaller in output than bzip2 and 30 % smaller than gzip.
The significant features
xz utils possess:
- XZ Utils operates using CLI mode.
- It makes use of some APIs that can be installed for improving performance.
- It offers lossless data compression.
- It is efficient enough as it verifies data errors while compression.
- The LZMA algorithm is used for file compression for XZ Utils.
The Plzip is a free and open-source file compression tool. Plzip is the multi-threaded implementation of lzip and is compatible with lzip versions. This tool performs file compression and decompression on multiprocessor computer systems. However, it is much faster than Lzip and reduces the compression ratio.
Key features of Plzip are:
- It is well-suited to perform compression tasks along with various compression applications.
- Plzip breaks tasks into subtasks to automate related kinds of compressions quickly.
- It uses multi-threading to compress and decompress the files.
- It can recover corrupted compressed files.
Pbzip2 is a robust compression tool that is the parallel implementation of bzip2. Pbzip2 algorithm breaks tasks into subtasks, followed by individual files compressions, which afterward merge to generate a single compressed file. This technique speeds up the compression process.
The important features of Pbzip2:
- Lightweight, cross-platform tool.
- It can be installed and operated on a microprocessor computer easily.
- It enables parallel compression of files.
- It offers compression of big data files.
- The rate of Compression can be enhanced using a multicore processor.
The bzip2 is a freely available, high-quality data compression tool. It uses the Burrows–Wheeler algorithm. It compresses files using10% to 15% of the best available techniques. It performs faster file compression and decompression.
The key features of the bzip2 are:
- Recover data from different media files.
- Using the bzip2 tool, users can compress files while transmitting via a server.
- This tool is considered as a suitable tool for compression due to its robust compression and decompression speed.
p7zip is a command-line compression port of the 7zip utility that can handle all 7z formats. It offers the following key features:
- High-performance archiving utility that provides a solid compression ratio.
- It supports various popular formats in which tar, xz, gzip, bzip2, and zip are included.
- This compression tool uses the 7z format by default and provides 30-50% better compression as compared to the standard zip compression tool.
- This tool can be used for dynamically-sized and self-extracting volume archives.
lbzip2 is a free, multi-threaded compression tool that is compatible with bzip2 with support for bzip2 compressed file format. This compression tool uses the POSIX threading model. So, that it allows taking full advantage of symmetric multiprocessing.
This tool can decompress all bz2 files in parallel. All lbzip2 compressed files can be easily decompressed by the bzip2 and other software versions supporting the bz2 file format.
All options that are used for the bzip2 utility are also acceptable by lbzip2. In other words, the lbzip2 utility is a drop-in replacement for bzip2.
Pixz is a quick and the handiest compression tool. It is a parallel implementation of the XZ compression tool. So, the output files extension of the pixz tool is .xz by default. It also uses the POSIX threading model.
Pixz offers some amazing features such as:
- This compression tool automatically detects all compressed files from your local directory.
- Using the pixz compression tool, you can perform file compression and decompression simultaneously.
- Detects CPU cores and hardware configurations of your system to give you maximum performance.
Zip is a popular archive file format that provides lossless data compression. The .zip file contains more than one compressed file or folder. The zip files take less space and can easily transfer from one system to another in a quick way.
The zip-compressed files can be extracted on most of the operating systems using available installed decompressed utilities.
Pigz is basically the parallel implementation of the gzip compression tool. It is a more suitable replacement for gzip. Pigz compression tool uses the pthread and zlib libraries for executing the multi-threading compression process. It uses multiple CPU cores that dramatically increase the compression speed. But, this tool doesn’t offer the parallel decompression feature. However, you do not get a similar speed for compression and decompression. It offers the following features:
- It reduces the compression time.
- Using just a single command, you can compress huge amounts of files.
- It also pops up the warning or error messages if any fault occurs during the file compression.
PeaZip is a cross-platform, user-friendly, and fully-featured file compression tool. This tool provides secure file compression and encryption. This utility is based on other open-source file compression tools such as p7zip, 7-zip, Zstandard, Brotli, etc. PeaZip provides a fast and high compression ratio as compared to other file archivers. It is written in FreePascal. It offers the following remarkable features:
- Provides fast file compression and decompression for all supported archive formats.
- It provides strong AES, Twofish, Serpent encryption features.
We have discussed in this guide a list of the best Linux compression tools that help you in file compression and decompression. Most of the compression tools, amongst all of them, offer lossless compression features with a very high compression ratio. Some tools such as zstd (Zstandard) and plzip provide more advanced compression features. Tools such as pigz take advantage of multiple CPUs/cores.