How To Decompress ZIP Archives Using SSH

Written by: Hosting Coupons on August 8, 2014

If for some reason you need to upload a large file or folder of large files, you can save a lot of time uploading by compressing the files into a ZIP folder, which will take up much less space and so will upload faster.

Once uploaded, you’ll need to extract/decompress the files to be able to access them.



Before we can get started, you’ll need an SSH client and FTP client. The FTP client will allow us to upload the ZIP folder, whilst the SSH client will give us access to the server to allow us to decompress the ZIP archive.

FTP Client

If you’re using Windows, PuTTY is a great option. If you’re on a Mac, zoc6 is just as good.

FTP Client

FileZilla is available on Windows and Mac, and is one of the most well-known FTP clients.


Upload and decompression

Now that you’ve got both clients installed and running, we can begin the process of uploading and decompressing the ZIP folder.

To decompress a ZIP archive via SSH, follow these instructions:

  1. FTP the ZIP file to the right directory on your host. It’s easier if you FTP the file to the folder where you want the unzipped files to appear.
  2. Open your SSH client or connect using your preferred application.
  3. Log in using your FTP password.
  4. At the [server]$ prompt, type ‘ls‘ to display a list of your directories.
  5. Type ‘cd‘ to change directory to the location of the zip file upload.
  6. Type ‘ls‘ again. You should see the name of the ZIP file you uploaded.
  7. Type ‘unzip‘.

Depending on the size of the ZIP folder, this may take a while.

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