How to Compress Files with zstd Utility in Linux

Compress Files Ztsd Linux Featured

Although there are many graphical and command-line data compression tools, zstd is the one that stands out. Short for Zstandard, zstd is a data compression tool developed by Facebook data engineers in 2015. It is so effective and easy to use, that zstd has become the go-to compression tool for many Linux users. This tutorial will show you how to install zstd and use it from the terminal.

How to Install zstd on Various Linux distros

Before you can use zstd, you need to install it – if you don’t have it already installed on your Linux distro.

Fortunately, installing zstd is as simple as executing a couple of commands.

Note: based on which Linux distro you’re running, you may have to install dependencies and various tools before compiling and installing zstd. That’s why the first thing you should do is update your system. For Debian and Ubuntu-based distro, you can use the update and upgrade commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

To ensure that you have all the dependencies that zstd needs, install build-essentials, wget, and tar using the command:

sudo apt install build-essential wget tar
Apt Install Zstd

Now that you have the all the required dependencies and tools installed, you can move on and install zstd.

On Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint

To install zstd on a Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint system, execute the command:

sudo apt install zstd
Install Zstd

On Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS/AlmaLinux

To install Zstandard on Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS/AlmaLinux systems, execute the command;

sudo dnf install zstd

On Arch Linux/Manjaro

To install zstd on Arch Linux/Manjaro systems, execute the command:

sudo pacman -S zstd

Now that we have zstd installed and ready to go, we can start using it to compress files.

Compressing Files with zstd

Using zstd to compress a file is easy. All you have to do is execute the command zstd [filename]. Using the above command creates a new, compressed file with the .zst extension.

For example, to compress a “samplecompression.text” in the “/var/log” directory, we would execute the command:

cd /var/log
sudo zstd samplecompression.text

the following is an example output:

Zstd Var Log

The above output shows the compression factor, i.e 44.08% from 1141 bytes for 503 bytes.

Compressing Multiple Files

To use zstd to compress multiple files simultaneously, all you have to do is specify the files you want to compress, separated by a space between them.

For example, to compress “compress.txt,” “compress2.txt,” “compress3.txt,” and “compress4.txt”:

sudo zstd compress.txt compress2.txt compress3.txt compress4.txt

You can also use the wildcard “*” to compress all the files and folders within your current/specified directory. For example:

sudo zstd *.txt

Decompressing Files with zstd

When you need to decompress a file with zstd, use the -d option or unztd.

For example, to decompress the file used throughout this guide, you would use any of the following commands:

sudo zstd -d samplecompression.text.zst
sudo unzstd

Ensure the source of the file from the archive does not exist, or zstd will prompt you to overwrite the existing file.


This tutorial has illustrated how to compress and decompress files using the zstd utility. Meanwhile, you can learn how to extract zip files in Linux.

John Wachira

John is a technical writer at MTE, when is not busy writing tech tutorials, he is staring at the screen trying to debug code.

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