Difference Between Zip and Gzip

The files in a computer reduce the storage space and can have many effects on the working of the computer. Also, during file transfer, larger files take more time and network bandwidth to be transferred. Compression applications such as zip and gzip help in the reduction of file size, speeding up the transfer and saving network bandwidth.

Zip vs Gzip

The main difference between zip and gzip is that zip compression application is most commonly used in Windows operating system. Whereas, gzip compression application is most commonly used in Unix and Linux operating systems. There are other differences between the two compression applications like operating systems, speed, tools, and disk space.

Zip vs Gzip

Zip refers to a compression application that serves the purpose of not only compressing and decompressing files but also archiving them. In zip applications, the files can be compressed, decompressed, and archived individually or as a whole. But zip application takes time in file compression and comparatively saves lesser disk space.

Gzip refers to a compression application that serves only the purpose of compression and decompression. It requires the assistance of tar files for archiving files. In the gzip application, the files can be compressed and decompressed only as a whole. Gzip application helps in faster compression and saves more disk space.

Comparison Table Between Zip and Gzip

Parameters of ComparisonZipGzip 
Operating SystemsZip compression application has popularity among the Windows operating systems.Gzip compression application has more popularity among the Unix and Linux systems.
SpeedZip is not as quick in compressing and decompressing as Gzip.Gzip is quicker than ZIP in compressing and decompressing.
ToolsZip compression application is a tool for archiving as well as compression.Gzip is a tool for compression which needs Tar commands for archiving files.
Disk SpaceIt saves a lesser amount of space than the Gzip compression application.It saves more amount of space than zip compression applications.
OriginOriginally the format was created in 1989. The first version (0.1) was released on 31 October 1992.

What is Zip?

Zip application refers to the gzip format, an archive file format supporting data compression. A zip file can contain more than one compressed file or directory. Deflate is the most common out of the many permitted compression algorithms. The first implementation of the format took place in PKWARE, Inc.’s PKZIP utility and later on gathered support from not only PKZIP but also other software utilities. 

The built-in zip support, i.e. compressed folders, has been a part of Microsoft since 1998. Built-in zip support is also available in Mac. Also, other free operating systems have similarly built-in zip support systems. 

.zip or. ZIP or /zip are the usual Zip file extensions. Many programs use zip as a base program with a different name. Multiple files can be stored as Zip archives. A file can be compressed using various methods and also just storing it without even compressing. 

The individual files in an archive can be compressed differently as all files are being stored individually. This is also beneficial while extracting or adding files within the archive, as compression or decompression can be done individually and not as a group. Whereas in the compressed tar files format, random individual access is difficult.

What is Gzip?

Gzip refers to a file format and a software application serving the purpose of file compression and decompression. The creators of this program are Jean-loup Gaily and Mark Adler. It was a free software replacement for the earlier Unix systems compressing program. It was intended to be used for GNU. Its first version of 0.1 was released in October 1992. And later, Version 1.0 was released in February 1993. And has been a popular compressing system ever since. 

Implementation of the gzip decompression format as a streaming algorithm is feasible. For Web protocols, data interchange, and ETL (in standard pipes) applications, the streaming algorithm is the main feature. Deflate algorithm, which is a combination of LZ77 and Huffman coding, is the base of Gzip. Which was, in turn, a replacement for LZW and other data compression algorithms. This was because they had limitations on the usage of compression and several other well-known archivers. 

Several different program implementations have been written. Amongst all these implementations, the GNU Project’s implementation using Lempel-Ziv coding (LZ77) is the most common one. Gzip’s actual compress compressing program was OpenBSD’s version. For providing support for the gzip format was added in the OpenBSD 3.4. Here the alphabet ‘g’ represents gratis. 

Main Differences Between Zip and Gzip

  1. Zip compression application is more popular among the Windows operating system, and gzip compression application is more popular among the Unix and Linux systems.
  2. Compression and decompression in gzip compression applications can be done faster than zip compressing applications.
  3. Gzip compression application is compressing and decompressing tool and needs the assistance of tar files for archiving purposes. On the contrary, the zip compression application is a compressing, decompressing, and archiving tool.
  4. Gzip compressing application saves more amount of disk space than the zip compression application.
  5. The original zip format was released in 1989, and the original version of gzip was released in 1992.


Both zip and gzip compression applications are undoubtedly among the most popular applications that should use compression and decompression. The similarity between the two compression applications is that they both use deflate compression algorithms. 

While serving files over webs serve over the internet, they help in saving network bandwidth. Both of them are of great help in terms of saving space. This also helps in speeding the process of file transfer over local, private as well as public networks.

All of the reasons make them ideal compression applications fulfilling all the necessary requirements. Gzip and zip are also the most commonly used methods for compression and decompression in Linux, Windows, and Mac Operating systems. 


  1. https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/handle/10012/2692
  2. https://www.aaai.org/Papers/FLAIRS/2000/FLAIRS00-044.pdf
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