The GZIP File Format

Also known as: .gz, GNU Zip, .tgz


Type lossless compressed file
Originator Adapted from PkWare's deflate
Platform Widely available.
Supporting Applications gzip, gunzip, tar, WinZip, 7zip
See Also tar, zip

Sample Files


GZip is meant to be a replacement for the Unix compress command. It is used to compress a single file. For compressing multiple files in a single archive, see tar, which can use GZip after combining the files.


The compression algorithm is the adapted from the deflate algorithm of PkWare's ZIP format, but with a simpler structure than a standard ZIP file. The simpler structure means that it can only hold a single file, but makes it more appropriate for piping and streaming applications.


See RFC 1951 and 1952.

C-language source code is available on the gzip website.