Gzip vs Zip: difference between the most popular compressing file formats

Gzip and Zip are one of the most popular ways to compress files to save space and speed up file transfer speeds over local, private or public networks. Today we are going to explore what are the main differences between Gzip vs Zip, the most used compression methods of all times for Linux, Windows and Mac operating systems.

gzip vs zip

What’s the difference between .gz and .zip files?

Compression applications like Gzip and ZIP can reduce file size, speed up file transfer and save bandwidth when you serve them over web servers on the internet.

.gz is the file extension for Gzip compressed files,  .zip is the file extension used for ZIP based files.

ZIP is way more popular than .gz files in on Windows, Gzip on the other side is the standard file compression for Unix, Linux and Mac OS operating systems.

ZIP files can package and compress files/directories on by it’s own, unlike gzip, who needs the help of another command like tar to archive/package the files.

This archiving options (native on ZIP and using TAR command on Unix/Linux/Mac) allow any system user to combine multiple files into one single tar.gz or zip file.

Extracting both kind of files is almost the same on any operating system, just double click the file, then extract it and that’s all.

Even on Unix/Linux command line it’s only one command the one you will have to use to extract files, for tar.gz and .gz files:

tar -xvpzf file.tar.gz

gzip -d file.gz

In general benchmarks, we’ve seen a big decrease in the size of a .gzip file over a normal compressed .zip file, so GZIP is way better if you want to save disk space in this case.

From a compression point of view, ZIP is not as efficient as Gzip, which is faster, compressing and decompressing, as seen on another compressing benchmark.


  • ZIP is more popular on Windows operating systems.
  • Gzip is the standard file compression for Unix and Linux systems.
  • Gzip is faster than ZIP while compressing and decompressing.
  • ZIP is an archiving and compression tool, all in one, while Gzip needs the help of Tar command to archive files.
  • Gzip can save more disk space than ZIP compression applications.
  • Both Gzip and ZIP use the DEFLATE compression algorithm.

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About the Author: Martin Keler

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